The Big Move: From the Office to the Home Office
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As more businesses adopt a remote working arrangement for their employees, the WFH meaning has become more important than ever. It has been a boon for some but a curse for others. It’s not a new concept by any means, but being forced into it is different than choosing it as the way to work. That is what makes it different from WFH before the pandemic and WFH now. Most employees are simply unprepared for the sudden shift into working remotely, not realizing how big a change can be. The move is not simply geographical; employees working from home must rethink the way they work completely. Along with the change in a physical location, employees should have the right mindset if they are to be productive while working outside the office.
When the lockdowns started, many might have expected a few weeks of working from home. However, WFH might be here to stay, and employees should prepare themselves for the transition into long-term remote work. There are often more distractions at home than at work, so companies are understandably concerned that WFH arrangements may ultimately hurt their bottom line. Also, WFH won’t work for all organizations, especially those engaged in the banking, finance, and medical industries. However, a report has shown that, for those who have allowed their employees to work from home, there has been a 47% increase in productivity since March of 2020. This is only predicted to increase in the following years as more organizations adopt WFH arrangements.
The WFH Transition
For employees used to working in an office eight hours each day, the shift to working from home is a big one. It might lead to culture shock for those not used to working outside the workplace. As such, a hybrid setup is a preferred setup for a number of businesses. At any rate, today’s employees should be prepared to transition into a long-term hybrid or WFH setup. Below are a few ways employees can be more productive at home.
Keep communication lines open
Face-to-face interactions are different from video calls and instant messages; if employees are used to in-person conversations, the sudden shift to zoom meetings can be a challenge. With virtual communication, misunderstandings are common due to a tendency to misread tone or nonverbal cues. Ensure you invest in the proper software and tools that will enable effective asynchronous communication. Overcommunication is key when working remotely so assumptions are avoided and every effort is made for clarification. Encourage employees to stay connected and express concerns immediately to avoid burnout and maintain a positive outlook
Create a dedicated workspace at home
It can be tempting to work in bed, on the couch, or on the coffee table, but this is ultimately a self-defeating habit. It blurs the boundaries between work and your personal life and can lead to burnout and other stress-related problems. The best way to put employees in the right mindset each day is to have them set up a dedicated workspace at home. It doesn’t have to be a large home office, but it should be a place dedicated to work. After the day’s work is done, employees can simply walk away from their workspace and focus on themselves and their personal lives.
Avoid unnecessary meetings
“Zoom fatigue” or “video call fatigue” have become common topics of conversation a few months after employees were forced to work from home due to the pandemic. To avoid problems like this and keep employees motivated while “at work,” limit video meetings and only set them when there’s a clear purpose and agenda. This agenda should also be shared with participants before the meeting so they come prepared and know that they’ll get something out of the video meeting.
Create a routine
When working from home office, schedules become a little flexible because commute time and office distractions are eliminated. Some companies offer flexible working schedules for non-client-facing employees, giving them the opportunity to work during their most productive hours. If they don’t manage their time, however, their productivity will be affected. Encourage employees to plan out their day and create a routine. This also makes it easier for them to “get out” of work mode once the day is done.
Work-life balance is more important now more than ever, especially for Work From Home employees. Without clear boundaries between work and home hours, the work routine can be a road to burnout for employees. Avoid sending emails, chat messages, or setting video meetings outside regular working hours to help employees set and stick to firm working hours at home. Encourage them to “walk away” from work after the set hours so they have time to focus on self-care and other personal matters.
The WFH Solution
Depending on how an employee sets up a home office or workplace, WFH can be a very productive work environment int. the long term—maybe even more so than working in an office. If anything, the pandemic has shown businesses that remote or at-home solutions can be effective if planned sufficiently and done right. Employees should ensure they have what they need to be productive at home, but employers are also responsible for keeping them engaged, organized, and comfortable. Providing employees the proper tools, enrichment programs, and support is a great start to keeping them healthy and productive in the years to come.