Working from home and having the appropriate skills to accomplish that is becoming more essential than ever during this time of crisis. As the virus spreads, lots of businesses throughout the world are shutting down and people are shifting to work at home. But even before this calamity, between the years 2005 to 2017, working at home has increased by 159%. Employers say that a flexible work arrangement increases morale, lowers operating costs, and reduces sick days. Employees say that a flexible work arrangement leaves them more satisfied with their job, more productive, less stressed, and able to keep better care of themselves. While the boom in remote work may be temporary, operating away from the traditional workplace even in the short term is going to dramatically change the tools, support, and management styles needed. Despite these apparent pros, there are still cons that can change the way we think about working from home.
Working at home means a lot of things that can be detrimental to employees and their employers. A large part of working at home is that you are alone at home – this lack of human contact can be very bad for a person. A 2016 study looked at a travel agency which had randomly assigned a small group of its staff to work from home. The employees reported feeling increasingly isolated, disconnected, and uninformed. Another big con of working at home is the lack of management. It’s hard for managers to keep an eye on things if the employee is at home and without a physical office, managers will have to learn new ways to judge productivity. Employees will also have to develop new habits, such as keeping documentation of work interaction and learning virtual only communication. For many companies, moving to an entirely remote work may mean a completely new set of processes, procedures, and systems.
Many of the challenges that face working at home are being solved by new tech and a few tips can also solve many of these problems. One good tip in staying above the rest is to upgrade your WiFi – check your ISP too as in the wake of COVID-19 and all the extra internet use, AT&T announced it was temporarily halting caps on broadband service so it is important to check if you will be affected. Learning remote coworking etiquette, like utilizing online tools to help stay connected and interact with your team is another crucial part of working at home. “Good remote workers understand the importance of communicating clearly with their team in any medium they are using.” says Greg Caplan, CEO and cofounder of Remote Year. Optimizing productivity by staying with and supporting your team is also vital to a functioning team. Teams which are not used to working remotely will need support to retain their efficiency and effectiveness.
Find out how to make the most of remote work during and after COVID-19 and more tech and tips to help you through the COVID-19 crisis here.