Working from home was already the norm for many freelancers and startups across the globe. Still, as we were forced to shelter in place and maintain social distance, it turned from a welcomed work perk to the primary method of how we had to conduct business in 2020 and into 20201. Adjusting to working from home has its pros and cons, and different companies have taken to the change positively and some negatively.
As you can imagine for those who prefer a rigid routine or work better under personal mentorship and management, this was a struggle. Others who like their freedom, creative space and autonomy thrive under these new circumstances. Different companies will face different challenges in adapting to remote work.
However, some considerations apply to all businesses, that should be ironed out immediately to avoid issues, confusion or inhibit productivity.
Having bums in seats at the office is often taken for granted, having your team or colleagues around you allows for easy collaboration and management of time. You know when your leisure time is when tasks need to be delivered, how much time you’re spending, and you’re not distracted by other things. The office puts you in a frame of mind that you’re there to complete tasks.
Working from home has an element of relaxation and distraction, so time and task management are of the utmost importance. Since your colleagues and management team cannot pop over to your desk to see how you’re doing, you’ll need to provide constant updates.
Bridging this gap can be achieved through task management tools to keep track of tasks and pull in feedback from stakeholders and internal chat rooms to migrate the office banter and discussions to a digital channel.
- Moving analogue practices to a virtual world
In an office setting, we’re used to having meetings, stand-ups and catch-ups, this could be recurring meetings or ones conducted on the fly as discussions are needed. Since you cannot merely pull together team members for sessions like you did in your office, you now need to handle this digitally.
Using tools like video conferencing software is ideal for getting certain messaging out to all staff, ensuring everyone is on the same page, addressing issues and ensuring staff remain focused on tasks and are productive.
Legal responsibilities & professionalism
As mentioned earlier working from home tends to provide a lax atmosphere that can transition into the workspace, and employees may not act in the same way they would in a professional setting. It’s up to management to regularly enforce that message during paid work hours regardless of where it is conducted. Staff need to remember to adhere to the same standard as in-office behaviour.
Inappropriate behaviour that would not be accepted in the office should not be tolerated on digital channels, social media, or other electronic correspondence.
As a management team, you also need to factor in how you manage leave days, sick leave, child care responsibilities and other legal responsibilities that come with working hours conducted at home so that staff understand what the limitations are and the formal processes behind it, what has changed and what hasn’t now that work from home is mandated.
Being productive from home
Working from home is a challenge for employees and management, and everyone will adapt to these changes at their pace. There are no perfect processes for transitioning. It’s up to teams to communicate and find the methods that best suit them.
Ensuring productivity does not drop, and proving teams can overcome these challenges will help you develop new skills and responsibilities to lay the ground for individual employees’ future. The better your staff adapt to this new working environment, the greater your chance of success as businesses in these uncertain times.
Having a workforce diving into having work from home experience is going to a vital marketable skill. These staff members will become sought after candidates in the expanding work from home economy.