Over the last several years, something of a “work from home” revolution has taken place, with endless articles and think pieces advocating an increase in the opportunity to axe the commute and do one’s job from the comfort of the home. While many employers have proven resistant to the idea, the Covid-19 crisis has forced their hand, with the vast majority of businesses accepting that working in this way is infinitely preferable during a period of social distancing.
We have for years been hearing of the potential benefits of working from home, but the forced acceleration of this revolution has caught many by surprise, as people notice that while there are many advantages to this way of operating, there are also downsides. It’s inevitable that there will be a learning curve – but even after this crisis is behind us, there’s a real possibility that more of us will be working from home than before. Therefore, it is essential to know how to handle the trickier aspects of working from home.
When you’re working in an office, it’s easier to focus on your work because – quite simply – there are fewer distractions around. The tools of procrastination are easy to find in any home – and, out of sight of fellow workers and supervisors, they are all the more tempting. It is beneficial to carve out a space in the home where those distractions aren’t so present. If you need to be away from the TV, the kitchen and even those you live with, then working from a laptop in the garden is not a bad idea – and the fresh air is good for your health.
So much of our work these days is reliant on various forms of technology cooperating with us – and anyone who has worked with computers for a while will know that’s a risky strategy. In the office, when your PC starts to play up, you can usually call for backup from the IT department, but at home you are the IT department. If you are using a VPN for work – which you should be, to keep hackers at bay – this can slow down your system, so be aware of that. It’s also wise to know the kill process for any expendable programs that are causing things to lag. If you have a specific laptop you use for work, now is the time to get to know all of its processes.
If you are working from home, one of the trickiest aspects of the process can come at the end of the day when you finish work and return “home”. In the absence of a commute, the lines can become blurred, so it is worth developing a routine that sees the day “end”; whether that’s changing clothes, having a cup of tea, or having a shower to freshen up, creating a line of demarcation between the “work” you and the “home” you will help with retaining normalcy in a situation that is anything but normal.
Whether you return to working in an office when the chance arises, or you choose to pursue the idea of working from home long-term, it’s essential to have a way right now of dealing with the unfamiliar aspects of working while quarantined.
It’s unlikely that things will return to normality any time soon and whilst working from home cannot be adopted by everyone, there will certainly be some adaptations to the working environment.
Office providers will need to reconsider person to space ratios and many business centres will steer away from coworking spaces that have dominated the commercial real estate industry of late. Small individual office rentals will become more prevalent and many companies will stay with remote working. There will be many changes and challenges as the dust settles and the country begins to rebuild.