Working from home is proving to be more productive, but it is most certainly not a new concept.
Entrepreneurs have been doing this for a long, long time; however the idea of a boss allowing their trusty minions out-of-sight to work from home without supervision was simply ludicrous.
However, as more and more businesses started to test the waters of working from home and this idea started to sprout roots, the first thing that many people were picturing was lazy mornings, working in your PJ’s and having a very relaxing day – without having your boss micro-manage you over your shoulder. Could it get any better than this?
But as people started to work from home, so many people experienced an unconscious mind-shift.
Everyone Had a Mindset Change
Due to the pandemic that has gripped the world, businesses in most countries did not have a choice and had to instruct their employees to work from home if the company wanted any chance of survival.
Employers had to trust their employees with time management,
And oddly enough, many people who realized that they had this incredible opportunity changed their mindset and wanted to make it work. People went from working in their pajamas to getting up, getting dressed into work attire, doing their make-up and hair and getting ready for the day.
Many employees are enjoying working from home and would prefer not to go back to the office when lock down is lifted. People are realizing that if they can prove to their employers that they are capable of working from home, this could become their new reality.
Working from home is proving to be more productive
Since employees have been forced (during the pandemic) to work from home and had no idea what to expect or how this would all fit into their ‘new normal’. However, after a few weeks, people are realizing the following:
- They are saving money on the commute to and from work. Train, subway, bus, taxi, petrol, toll fees and parking. This can add up to hundreds or even thousands that you no longer have to pay out.
2. As they no longer have to sit in traffic in the morning and in the afternoon, studies show that this time is either spent getting additional work completed, or people will do their exercises in the mornings rather than after 17h00, and this in turn allows them more time with their families.
3. Families are spending more time together. Parents are getting to experience their children more deeply through seeing what they actually do and don’t enjoy regarding school work and subjects. When your child goes off to school, they do the work that is expected of them. When they are at home with you in a ‘safe-space’ they can express quite honestly how they feel about maths, or history or creative work without the fear of being reprimanded. Build on this in a positive way.
4.Families are spending more time together. Parents are getting to experience their children more deeply through seeing what they actually do and don’t enjoy regarding school work and subjects. When your child goes off to school, they do the work that is expected of them. When they are at home with you in a ‘safe-space’ they can express quite honestly how they feel about maths, or history or creative work without the fear of being reprimanded. Build on this in a positive way.
5. People are ‘forced’ to use tech devices and programs that they otherwise might not have tackled, such as Zoom or Google hangouts. Learning new skills is never a negative.
6. Your environment will be more controlled. How many times have you sat in an office and experienced people arguing over the dishes in the sink, the air-con must be off so the windows can be open, who’s going to answer the door and really, anything else. When you are working from home, you get to control your own environment.
7. With no-one stopping by their desk on the way to the water-cooler for an arbitrary chat, people are less distracted and are able to concentrate and get more work done.
A study in China was conducted over a nine month period where 249 travel center workers were divided into home-working groups and control groups. The conclusion showed that home-working led to a 13% performance increase, the company saved on average $2,000 a year per employee on office space and fewer people were quitting.
Best Advice for Working at Home
Get dressed for the job you want
Set your alarm clock, get up, live your routine and get dressed for the day. There is that old saying that goes ‘dress for the job you want, not for the one you have’. This all has to do with your mindset, and it has been proven that this does affect you psychologically. Keep to your routine – if you go for a run, walk the dog, make breakfast, have a shower and then get dressed, continue to do this. You can wear casual clothes and be comfortable, just don’t be sloppy.
Create a designated work area
Allocate a specific area in your house to be your ‘office’ – even if it is only a desk. Some people have a spare room that can be converted into an office. Some people put up a temporary desk in the corner of the lounge or even if you only sit at the end of the dining room table, create a unique space for yourself.
Surround your desk area neatly with things that inspire you – a photo, a motivational picture, a small plant, your stationery. Create an ambiance. Do you work better in silence or do you like to have the radio on, or music playing? Try to have a space dedicated to your working day.
It is incredibly distracting and time-consuming trying to find a new space every day and trying to create that inspirational atmosphere daily.
Keep regular work hours
Figure out when you work at your optimum. For heavy thinking sessions, it is usually better to do these tasks in the morning. More creative tasks are generally better in the afternoon. Can you work extremely hard in the morning and fit in your entire day’s work by 14h00? Or do you work better on a schedule?
One aspect of working from home that a lot of people struggle with is that they work too much. Don’t burn yourself out by pulling all-nighters. It won’t be good for you, your business or your clients. You need to try and limit distractions which is often easier said than done, but if you have a family then there needs to be compromise, especially if you find that you have deadlines to meet and crises to avert.
Know when to switch off. At the end of your work day, put your phone on silent (consider getting a second phone so clients don’t call you on your personal phone after hours), switch off your computer and only go back to it the following day.
It shouldn’t need to be said that a person needs to have a certain level of maturity and self-discipline to work from home. Employees must realize that people who prove they cannot work from home will unfortunately be the ones considered if a company needs to left staff go. Don’t be that person.
How your boss can help
Right now, the pandemic has thrown the world into a bit of a spin and working from home came as a surprise to many people, employees as well as employers. Here are some ways that employers can help employees be more settled working at home:
- Ensure that all tech aspects and IT is set up so that you can connect to the servers and work efficiently.
2. Create interactive experiences with colleagues. Schedule a weekly meeting on Zoom that is compulsory to check in your people, see how they are doing and discuss work-related topics. Then during the day you can have a 10h00 Zoom coffee break for those who want to, and afternoon chat for anyone who wants to, Friday Happy Hour for anyone who wants to bring the drink and meet up for a catch up of life outside of work.
3. Have an agreement with your company regarding what expenses they are going to cover. For example WIFI or internet access, a laptop if necessary even if it’s a loan, telephone expenses and printing. Your employer should provide you with the tools that you need to do your job to the best of your ability.
4. Be considerate of family needs. Most families with school-going children are learning how to work through online learning. Be considerate if parents need to dedicate a couple of hours a day or a week to help their children with their school work.
5. Your manager or employer needs to trust you. It is incredibly difficult for some people to allow their staff to work from home because they are concerned they will be unproductive, or not get back to clients giving the brand a bad name, or not reach deadlines and so on. So don’t give your boss a reason to doubt you. The more they trust you, the more freedom they will give you. And besides, if you aren’t doing your work, it will become evident and you will need to account for it.
There are a couple of cons to working from home as well, such as people tend to eat more junk food or some might binge on Netflix.
But more and more studies are proving that people who work from home are happier, they have less-stress, they have a better work-life balance and are more focused. And these are they people who are proving to be the most productive.