After all, there are so many things to distract us at home, limited access to the tools and processes we need to drive productivity, and we’re much more effective leading in-person discussions…. right?
We’ve now passed two months of being forced into full-time work at home environment, and over this time, I’ve come to realize a few things about myself and the future of work many employers and employees are facing.
- I can be productive while remote: This is a big one for me. Working at home for me, historically, has been a drag – I find it difficult to focus, hard to stay motivated over the long run, and I miss interacting with colleagues. Because of that, I enjoy being in the office (or a client site) and feel most productive in that environment. I also let my negative experience clouds my perception of how productive others can be working remotely. The fact that I had a hard time doing it meant that everyone was having a hard time too. The last two months have forced me to re-evaluate my feelings toward remote work. I’ve found that making small tweaks to my environment, leveraging new technology solutions for collaboration more effectively, and – honestly – just not having another option, have made a big difference in my effectiveness at home. I don’t think I’ll ever prefer remote work, however, I now have a toolset and mindset to be just as productive at home as I am in an office.
- I don’t have to like working remotely or at home for it to make strategic sense for a company: I’ve come to better realize and appreciate both the hard-dollar benefits and competitive advantage a flexible and dynamic workplace with a robust remote work culture can bring to an organization. The easiest benefit to identify is the potential to save on office space expenses and the opportunity to invest these dollars in a robust remote work platform and developing people and culture around it. However, having a dynamic and flexible workplace can also bring strategic advantages beyond saving on office expenses. These include attracting top talent that values flexibility, better-leveraging employees’ time and schedules, and driving the adoption of automation technology to close the gap on tasks that previously required manual or in-person actions. In fact, there is existing and newly emerging research that shows productivity increases inflexible and work from home environments. These all add up to a more highly-utilized, more productive, and empowered workforce, which adds up to higher output.
- COVID-19 has served to accelerate flexible workplace trends already underway:Much like it has done for movie releases, food delivery, and shopping, COVID-19 did not invent new interaction dynamics but instead accelerated things already happening. Remote and at homework is not a novel concept; many companies have adopted progressive policies before the pandemic, and those companies are likely thriving now with established norms, cultures, and work management processes built for a remote workplace. Most organizations, however, treat remote work as an exception and they are having to react quickly, scramble to set up a sustainable solution and figure out how to maintain effectiveness on the fly.
Personally, I have learned to both better understand and appreciate the value of a flexible workplace throughout this experience. I’ve been forced to adapt my work processes, see the value it can bring me in my daily routine, and, in-turn recognize the benefits it can create for my company in the long run. These are lessons that will last with me, and my company, for a long time after the pandemic.
What do you think? Has this changed your views on work at home or remote work? Happy to discuss in the comments below or in person.
Cheers and stay safe out there (or inside).
Access all of Trans4mative’s resources for adapting your workplace for increased remote working here.
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