2020 has been a game-changer in many ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a spotlight on practicalities of home working. Many companies found themselves going from a traditional office-based environment to a fully remote workforce almost overnight.
While working from home during a pandemic is not a true reflection of a work from home experience, it has opened up many people’s eyes to a more flexible way of doing things.
Many companies have said that when we eventually return to something approaching a normal life, they will look at embedding remote working into their business permanently. For some companies, this will mean abandoning the office culture altogether and going fully remote, for others, it will be allowing their employees the flexibility to work remotely while also still being expected to use the office too.
This means that workers now have to be set up for both remote and office-based working, or hybrid working. Here are some tips on getting your home set upright.
Get Your Tech Sorted
Working from home, with your laptop on your knee might have been OK for a few weeks and months, but probably isn’t going to suit you for the long term. Now you know that remote working is going to be a permanent part of your life, you can spend the time and resources on getting your tech setup at home right so that you can be as productive and as comfortable as possible.
For most computer-based roles, this will most often involve a webcam for working from home, a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and a headset or mini conferencing unit for your phone. Your company will often contribute to the costs or provide you with the equipment directly.
On those days that you’re due in the office, you can simply pick up you laptop and mobile and go.
Try and Stick to a Routine
Many people who are new to homeworking often get caught up in the novelty of it. Yes, you can sit in your pajamas on the sofa, eating snacks a having Netflix on in the background, but that doesn’t mean that you should.
Set yourself a schedule and a to-do list every day and try and keep yourself on track. You’ll still reap the benefits of remote working, you’re just stopping the temptations from affecting your work.
Work From Home, Don’t Live at Work
Try and draw clear boundaries on when you’re at work and when you aren’t. It can be difficult to disconnect at home when you’re always available at the end of a Slack message or Zoom call.
Create Your Schedule Around Your Productive Times
If you find that you perform certain tasks better when you’re not in the office. Start arranging your schedule to take advantage of this. For example, if you have a lot of reports to write, and you find it difficult to do in the office because of the constant meetings and distractions, then schedule your week so that you are working on these tasks at home. When you are in the office you can arrange all of your face-to-face meetings and video conferencing, but make it clear to colleagues that you are not readily available unless there is an important issue that comes up.
Chances are, your colleagues probably feel the same way, and should be encouraged to do this too.
Try and Avoid Digital Presenteeism
Traditionally, presenteeism at work is when people are working more hours than they need to, showing that they are there and working, or coming into the office sick because they feel they need to be seen to be working. This can happen for a number of reasons, they might be insecure about their job, or the company has created a culture that values hours worked over results or productivity.
Don’t fall into the digital presenteeism trap. Many people want to prove to their bosses that they are there and working by being online and sending messages at all hours of the day and night. It’s not a healthy place for a company to be in. People need to trust that their employees are getting the job done. If someone is doing all of their work and meeting their targets, it shouldn’t matter that they don’t respond to an instant message immediately.
It’s hard to take a lot of positives out of 2020, but it is a good sign that companies are starting to realize the benefits of remote working to both their businesses and the health and wellbeing of their employees. There’s still a steep learning curve for everyone involved but we are taking the right steps towards a work culture that values results over presenteeism and the benefits to the health and wellbeing of workers.