While prioritizing employee safety, not compromising on business productivity is of utmost importance too. Those that effectively manage the disruption, will not only be well-positioned to maintain business operations but will also be prepared for any future crises.
In light of this, work from home has become the mandate rather than an option. Previously work from home was mainly a luxury or an option exercised by only a few. What we thought was a temporary measure in terms of time, we are now learning that the pandemic situation is here to stay for a while and that remote work may well be the new world order.
Work From Home Challenges
No matter what one’s role in the organization, employee, supervisor, business head, the challenge of working from home is to stay just as productive, focused, and energized as in the office.
While the challenge at work with respect to distraction can be co-workers, at home we are our own enemies falling prey to distraction from pets, children, household chores, deliveries, television, and so on. The biggest challenge therefore for the work from home scenario would be to maintain productivity in order to feel valuable and as much in control as in the office.
Organizational Encouragement For Remote Workers To Maintain Productivity
The onus of providing an employee with an experience as close to the office environment rests with the organization and has led to the evolution of HR during this time. Here’s what organizations can do to ensure productivity.
Prioritize And Communicate That Wellness Of Employees Is Crucial
The top priority of every organization should be the well being of its employees, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders. Countless organizations across the world are demonstrating this by promoting remote work. This needs to be communicated in no uncertain terms.
Similarly, employees might have several questions with regard to long term implications of working from home. Establishing protocols and guidelines to communicate information to employees and for employees to communicate with the organization is extremely important.
Build The Right Infrastructure For The Virtual Workplace
Organizations will need to provide access to the right collaboration and communication tools in order for work to happen smoothly in the virtual environment.
These would include internal chat and messenger apps, video conferencing solutions, equipping employees with tools to communicate and training them on how to use them. Having a digital support manager or team to handhold initially and iron out issues later is a good idea.
Virtual Cultural Initiatives
Working from home with little or no interaction even for a few days can feel isolating. This could lead to a reduction in productivity and engagement. Organizations, therefore, need to take proactive steps in order to make employees feel connected.
Having team-based activities similar to the ones in the office set up can go a long way in helping to maintain normalcy with regard to social interaction.
Maintaining Productivity-An Individual Effort Too
While the organization does their bit to keep the employee morale favorably disposed there are several things an employee can do on the personal front to maintain productivity.
Designate A Quiet Place To Work
Establish a quiet but specific workspace with comfortable furniture to work from. It would also mean defining the workspace boundaries and keeping other family members abreast of the same.
Although it may not completely remove all distractions it will minimize them. When there is a defined workspace it also helps to walk away from it when one needs a break or at the end of the workday signifying that work stops there.
Follow A Strict Reminder Based Schedule
When working from home it is common enough to go lax on deadlines. This might lead to a drop in the daily growth metrics giving one the idea of being unfit for the work from home setup.
Setting goals and time limits for tasks on hand can be key to a successful work from home day. Formulating a daily work routine the previous day and adhering to it gets work done on time and maintains productivity too.
Touch Base With Team
Setting up/attending meetings as was done previously in the office should definitely continue. Even the regular brainstorming sessions for future projects/plans should be conducted regularly. This gives the feeling of normalcy to a great extent, thereby maintaining productivity. Video calls/Conference calls come to one’s aid here.
Staying Away From Social Media
Social media is one of the easiest ways to distract anyone, especially while working. Minimize the mindless use of social media in order to keep distractions at bay. Turning off notifications from various sites can be extremely useful to battle this distraction.
The old adage of all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy comes to mind here. When working from home it is extremely easy for personal time and work time to overlap. It will help to boost productivity if one can move about and step out briefly in order to take a break from routine.
A breath of fresh air, sunlight, and flexing stiff muscles will prevent monotony and burnouts. Incorporating an exercise regimen into the schedule of the day along with stopping work at the designated time to make way for family time or for leisure activities are all must-haves as part of the daily routine.
While work from home is the reluctant need of the hour, it need not be an unproductive arrangement. It is understandable that a transition to the effect may not be an overnight one, but surely has its benefits, which will serve well in the long run too.
According to research from Stanford, the remote working arrangement has proved to increase productivity. This was equivalent to a full day’s work at the office, and offered better work-life balance provided a certain amount of discipline could be exercised by employees and with some help from the organization. It looks like this new arrangement is here to stay so adapting to it may be to everyone’s benefit