WFH or Working From Home is not a new concept, but it has gained traction again with the recent spotlight on the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Initially created for the convenience of single parents and for emergencies, WFH offers a greater degree of flexibility in terms of working schedule and location that the traditional model could not provide. With the advent of technology and the internet, this working model has become increasingly feasible and relevant – saving utility costs for employers, and boosting productivity in employees by reducing the stress to commute as well as less interruptions from colleagues. A clear win-win for both sides.
But what starts out as a possible silver bullet for employees needing greater working flexibility sometimes ends up looking somewhat flawed. After the novelty of having “too much” flexibility worn off, many remote employees find it hard to stay motivated as loneliness kicks in from the lack of close interactions with colleagues. Some remote employees on the other hand may be distracted by family members at home, while another minority of remoters actually equate this newfound freedom to opportunities to do things other than work. So how can employers track real time progress and productivity of their remote employees?
With careful planning from both employers and employees, the downsides of WFH can become more manageable. And establishing day-to-day clear communications with employees is key. One of the challenges faced by many employees working from home is the lack of clear direction on their work due to the lack of communication between the employees and their managers. What managers can do here is to break down bigger tasks into micro tasks and set specific touchpoints for remote employees to report work progress to them face-to-face via video calls (Skype, FaceTime, etc.). Being able to see and hear from their managers, say five minutes before and after work even if it is only through video calls, helps remoters stay focused and discipline in their work.
Read 5 Steps To Boost Your WFH Productivity to learn more
From the remote employee’s end, treating working from home the same as working at the office helps them dive into work easier. Remoters may not have to dress formally, but they could start cultivating a habit of getting showered and dressed comfortably before starting work. Having a dedicated workspace and creating boundaries at home could also reduce distractions at home – whether it is the need to entertain certain members of the family at home, or the urge to take some time off to do chores. Both scenarios are likely to negatively affect the remoter’s work performance and productivity.
With the current global health crisis worsening, companies who have not adopted the WFH model need to consider wisely. Ultimately it takes two hands to clap – and with the cultivation of healthy remote working habits, as well as the close real time communications between employers and remote employees, the WFH model can be rewarding.
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