Working from home has been a great experience for most companies set up to do it properly. But even though employees are working from home, the sense of being attached to their work is actually higher than it was when they could leave work at the office each day.
Before the pandemic less than 20% of people worked from home. Now that number is up to a staggering 70%+ staying home at least once a week and about 50% of people are working from home for half of the work week. This means that companies need to change certain aspects about their operation to fight of stagnation and keep productivity moving forwards.
Downside of Working Remotely
You may have heard stories about working from home improving employee satisfaction (see our post on business phones for home work here). When done well a flexible home and work environment can improve your employee’s quality of life and productivity at the same time. But businesses that don’t lay out home work expectations and who do not keep contact high with their employees can lead to employee “burn out” or feeling overworked.
There has been research which shows that working from home can lead to almost 5x more employee “burnout” than those commuting to the office daily. Part of the problem is that with more freedom to work from home employees feel they must do more and put in extra time and effort to justify working from home. With some signing on the moment they wake up and signing off officially only when they go to bed. This means constantly checking emails and doing work related tasks at all hours of the day (and for some the night).
It can be hard to disconnect when you are now always living and sleeping where you do connect for work. Let’s see how companies can help their employees have a superior work-life balance
Check in Regularly
You should be doing more than checking on your employees’ output for the day. Of course, it’s important to see where someone in on a particular task or project, but it’s equally as important to see how your staff is doing outside of working. If you have employees who go to job sites throughout the day, you check in on their progress and to see how things are going like the traffic and weather where they are. It may seem like small talk, but it shows people you’re thinking of them and they have value to your organization. The same applies when employees are working from home. Check in regularly and ask how the family is coping with these times. It will go a long way.
Encourage Real Time Off
People working from home are less likely to seek real days off to take care of things they need to do. This can be things like a vacation, but it can also be personal days for health care and other reasons. Encourage PTO (personal time off) by letting them know that quality is better than quantity and that means doing good work when you are working. Not just working endlessly. Strain comes to employees when they feel they cannot take a day off because they’ve “already been home for so long”. But you should draw that distinction clearly for them. Tell folks to take days off as they need as though it was pre-pandemic times, and even more so. As uncertainty in the economy and work right now has added a lot of stress to people’s daily lives.
Create a Daily Routine & Set Boundaries
With people working from home the guidelines are less clear for simple things like taking a break or going for lunch. It’s a smart idea to set some company wide boundaries and routine standards. Set simple expectations like “sign off” breaks and officially stopping work at 5pm or 6pm. It’s unhealthy for employees to start working when they wake up and keep going until dinner time with little stops. This is what leads to “burn out” and a huge loss of productivity, motivation and even employee mental health.
Team Bonding & Group Time
Yes, this sort of thing is harder when people are working from home but since one of the biggest issues with people working from home is loneliness, it’s important not to forget this aspect of work-life balance. If employees used to meet after work and have a drink or do a trivia night, organize one through Skype or Zoom. Provide the minimal funds to get a real trivia night going or even host it yourself. This is a way for everyone to bond and kick back to enjoy each other’s companies without talking shop.
The home is the place of work for remote workers almost 80% of the time. That can be great, but it can also lead to a wide range of distractions like the kids or pets. If your employees will be working from home advise them to create a “work room” or a “workspace” that is separate from the normal living spaces. This is a great tool to help employees separate work from home while still being at home. Going to the “office” can be as easy as going to your study or an extra bedroom or even the desk by the window. You can even recommend putting up some small wall dividers and making a sort of cubicle if need be. This is more for the mentality of separating work from home while at the same time offering a clear designation from work and home areas.
Utilize Your Business Communication Technology Properly
Keeping people connected and collaboration high can be a challenge when working from home. That’s why it’s critical to ensure you’re using the best business telecommunication systems available for this sort of work. When workers can collaborate, from anywhere, at any time; they have an advantage to get things done.
Many workers spend over an hour every day going between various apps on their smartphones and computer to get tasks done. That is a lot of time that could be useful for accomplishing other goals and would be better used by the organization in a productive way. If there are too many “cooks in the kitchen” nothing gets done and the same applies for working from home. Too many applications and portals are a bad thing.
Having an all-in-one platform like Top Line Communications is critical to streamlining your businesses internal and external communications. A Unified Communications as a Service (UCaas) is a platform that combines all the needed tools for working from home. Merging video conferencing, Voip for business, team messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, international calling, and so much more.
Employees can work on the same document and access things like calendars, messages, files, and programs whether they’re working from home or from the office. Over 15% of workers say their more productive at home than at the office. That means providing them everything they need to work from home well and with a sustainable work-life balance.
For the best in Small Business Communications Westchester NY, look no further than 30 years of local expertise. See why Top Line Communications is a leading Westchester county telecommunication company and how we proudly serve our home communities. Stay safe from the entire team and we can get through this if we work together! 1-888-426-8647