Thanks to the coronavirus, many office workers are working from home to avoid the spread of the virus. For many, this can feel like a nice change of scenery, while others might have a tinge of additional anxiety from it. Regardless of where you stand, working remotely can be both effective and productive, if done right.
What’s So Great About Working From Home?
There are a lot of obvious pros to not having to commute to work in the morning. For many, it’s avoiding the commute. If you live a short 5 minute drive from the office, this might not be a big deal, but many have to deal with a lot more. In rural areas in the United States, 30 percent of residents travel a half hour one-way to get to work. The average commute to work in NYC is about 43 minutes.
Working from home also incentivises workers to eat from home, as opposed to snacking at work and ordering out. This can reduce costs and improve overall health for some. There are fewer office distractions at home, although depending on the circumstance, there may be other distractions. That said, a two-year Stanford study shows a massive productivity boost across the board.
Plus, companies can save a lot of money on utilities and space if they were to decide to offer permanent telecommunications.
The Downsides of Working From Home
Despite overall trends being positive, not every employee is guaranteed to be a paradigm of productivity while working from home. Business owners know this, and stress over it. If you aren’t the business owner, but an employee, you may need to help employers gain confidence and trust when it comes to working remotely. Again, this isn’t the case everywhere, but from an employer’s standpoint, telecommunication can feel like losing a base-guarantee that at least when people are at their desks, they are being somewhat productive.
I would posit that if you are a business owner, while it may be hard to loosen the reins on telecommunication, the benefits are well documented and there are countless cases where it works. An employee who is granted the ability to work remotely and slacks off probably wasn’t all that productive while in the office.
The point is, if you are an employee who has just started to work remotely due to the recent pandemic, or if you really enjoy the benefit of working remotely, you may need to ensure that your employer can be confident that telecommunication works for the company. If you are an employer, give it a chance. Both you and your employees have a lot to gain from it if you have the right tools in place.
How Employees Can Work Better From Home
Be in Seat on Time - Without the commute, your morning should be a little more flexible. It’s still a good idea to wake up at the same time, but enjoy the extra time you have to do things you normally wouldn’t. Take the dog for a longer walk, do some reading, have a better breakfast - just make sure you are logged in and on seat on time.
Focus on Focusing - One of the biggest benefits of not being in an office is the lack of office distractions. Try to focus on your tasks for longer periods of time. You’ll be able to get more done and have more to show for it.
Track Everything - If you weren’t doing this while in the office, you definitely should start, but it is even more important remotely. Track the time it takes to perform certain tasks, track milestones, and communicate often.
Use a Good Headset - For those of us who use the phone and have to attend online meetings, having a good set of headphones with a microphone can make a big difference. Don’t rely on the built in microphone on your laptop or your smartphone’s speakerphone unless you have to. Instead, find a comfortable headset or a sound canceling Bluetooth earpiece that will ensure that you sound clear to those on the other line.
How Employers Can Improve the Productivity of Remote Workers
Provide a VoIP Solution - Most modern VoIP phone systems have the ability to make and receive calls from virtually any device. Usually an application can be installed on most computers and mobile devices so calls can be made from outside the office without additional hardware.
Provide a Cloud Solution - It is critical that your staff has access to the files they need in order to do their jobs. By moving to the cloud, you can allow your staff to easily and securely access the documents they need. Moving to the cloud isn’t a small task, and there are a lot of options depending on your organization’s specific needs, but One Up Solutions Northwest can help you with the entire process.
Standardize Processes, Including Documentation, Communications, and Tracking - We mentioned the importance of tracking everything you do above, for employees. It’s really the employer’s responsibility to standardize the tools to do that. Utilizing project management software, CRMs for salespeople, and other applications can help you track the productivity of your employees, as well as encourage more communication and accountability. These applications need to be accessible from anywhere, so they typically need to be cloud-based as well. Tools that allow users to instant message and run remote meetings need to be picked out. Otherwise, your workers may try to figure out solutions on their own, but these solutions won’t be under your control.
Need Help Establishing Remote Access?
There are a lot of considerations that go into providing productive telecommunication benefits to your staff, and a lot of different solutions for different needs. It’s important to review your needs with IT experts like those at One Up Solutions Northwest to ensure that your data is safe and your team is able to work effectively.
Need help? Give us a call at (503) 278-5011.