Since the beginning of the widespread use of the internet, and the software we use to communicate has developed, the thought and theory behind the home office, and working from home, has been a question for many, but until now it had seemed like too drastic a change to make quickly and as such had been overlooked by the majority. However, the spread of the coronavirus has offered a unique opportunity for a larger, wide scale testing of the waters – but where could the challenges be, and what have we seen work well?
Motivation and Distraction – These are the two big issues that face those who are looking to work from home – in the work office we have some structure, the expectations, and the routine – but once you’re removed from the office a lot of that changes. You’re no longer required to wear your suit and tie, your desk is now wherever you choose to work from, and your downtime may be had completely differently. Whilst motivation can be offset with good work ethic and communication, distraction at home is a little harder to manage – your kids or your pets may be looking to play, your favourite gambling sites not registered with gamstop are easily at hand, or the DIY project you’ve been putting off can now be started – without the constraints of the working office, it may be difficult to stay completely focussed for your eight hour day.
These challenges can be overcome, however – setting up a designated spot in your home that is away from somewhere you’d usually frequent, using the apps and tools to temporarily block and remove access to websites, and following a morning routine of putting on your normal work clothes as if you would could be factors that keep you on the right track.
Flexibility and Work Ethic – Where the benefits really show, however, are with the benefits that can be found in a home working life. There have been plenty of studies suggesting that a happy worker will be more productive, and that those who work fewer hours may in fact be more productive – those who may be distracted at home and work fewer hours will understand that deadlines still have to be met, and may be more productive even though they technically work fewer hours throughout the day. Flexibility also shows as a strength here, you may not be a morning person and starting at 8 in the morning may not have you at your most productive, and as such you lose a few hours of working time during the day – by working from home, we’re granted a level of flexibility to start a little later in the day, so long as the work gets done.
As we find lockdowns throughout many countries see extensions and many continue to work from home – there is the possibility that where it fits, many will continue to work from home following the return to normality. This will of course be on a business to business basis, as for many it simply won’t be a feasible option, but one thing for certain is that many experts will be looking at this time in an effort to make their offices more productive – even if the way to do that is to keep employees at home.