It’s been over two years now since the start of the pandemic, and covid has changed life in many ways: We’ve seen various lockdowns, mask mandates and one of the biggest shake-ups was being made to work from home. But, despite the less than favourable conditions that led to everyone working from home, working remotely seems to be here to stay – especially with new technologies becoming increasingly available to support it. So, does remote working work? And what have we learnt along the way? One thing is for sure, no one misses the commute!
The working day used to be restrictive. We were tied into the 9-5 and there wasn’t a lot of give. But the emergence of remote working has changed that. Working from home can give you greater flexibility to book a doctor’s appointment in the day or go for a quick walk at lunch with your neighbour. It can contribute to a better work-life balance and allows people to spend more time with their children. One thing that we’ve learned from remote working is that flexible schedules can work. It’s now more acceptable to juggle priorities. It just needs to be made sure that your team know when you’re available and when you are out-of-(home)-office. Which leads nicely onto the next lesson…
With remote working comes a lack of human interaction, which can be isolating and harmful to company culture. Office chat and informal communication are crucial to building a positive working environment. So, when working from home it’s important to put in the effort to chat to your colleagues. The more you get to know your colleagues, the better your working relationships will be. Communication is crucial in order to build trust, and without trust, remote working wouldn’t work. Use technology; call people, message them – it doesn’t all have to be about work! Some idle chit-chat can help to boost morale and get ideas flowing! It’s important to note that some people may need more training than others on digital messaging platforms in order to be able to communicate effectively from home.
The pandemic brought to light the need for better education around the importance of taking care of both our physical and mental health. Adapting to change can be difficult and we have dealt with a lot of change over the past couple of years. Check in on people and yourself too. Work can be stressful enough without life’s other problems! Taking time to exercise is important in order to help manage stress. Though many people don’t miss the daily commute, it presented an opportunity to stretch the legs and get some fresh air which is great for overall health and wellbeing. So make sure you leave the house every now and then, even just to walk to the shop. Being at home 24/7 can be isolating and it can be difficult to switch off after work each day. Remote ‘burnout’ is a serious issue, so it’s crucial to find a way to rest your brain and de-stress.
In order to work from home effectively, you need a productive ‘office’ space. You need to be able to concentrate and get in the work-zone. Distractions should be kept to a minimum, but this can be difficult when you’re sharing the space with family or housemates. So, setting boundaries and carving out your own space to work is crucial. When working from home, some people find it difficult to separate their living space from their working space. A helpful method to combat this is to go for walks in the morning to imitate the morning commute. This way you can come back to your ‘home-office’ with a fresh mindset. Another effective way to help separate work from pleasure is to use productivity tools like myReach. MyReach allows you to create designated smart folders called WorkSpaces that help to keep your work life and home life separate, even if the environment does overlap.
Remote working can save time, money and energy. However, although some people have adapted well to remote-working it’s important to note that not everyone enjoys remote-working or has adapted as easily. Lots of companies now offer a flexible approach to working – giving employees the opportunity to come into the office if they like, or requiring a minimum number of days in the office per week. The pandemic taught us that remote working can work. But, there are likely to be many more challenges faced, lessons learned and changes made in the future to make working from home as effective and productive as possible.