For years, many organisation have struggled with policies around working from home. Whether it is an issue of trust or an issue of equipment, there has always been a challenge with reaching a satisfactory approach to working from home that benefits the organisation and the employee.
The truth is there is no one size that fits all. Some people will love it, others will loath it and some simply do not have this option. However, whilst the government advises working from home where possible, we have been thinking about how to make working from home a positive experience.
Homeworking has been a positive experience for many people. More than ever, work is what you do, not where you go. Connective technologies are being utilised, conversations by video or phone have become more meaningful, fewer distractions have meant increased productivity and quality of work, and those with the longest commutes have benefited from a better work-life balance. If you need to make a series of private calls to clients, customers or suppliers or need time to write proposals, blogs, documents, then these activities are better from a quieter environment and home working benefits this.
One of our consultants shared their home working experience, “Today I spoke to a candidate that normally I would not have had time to speak to in a normal market as you don’t get time to stop and in the office, it’s a 100 miles an hour. Working from home, I find you can be more present and have more quality conversations because the home environment for some can be a quieter space.”
We asked some of our team to share their best advice for creating a positive work from home experience:
Caroline Batchelor, Director
“I have really learnt the importance of self-care over the last few months which means taking regular breaks throughout the day where I physically move away from my screen and do something completely different. I have taken to hoovering the house whilst playing one of my favourite songs or watering the plants, taking the dog for a quick 15-minute walk or doing a Joe Wicks work out. It is too easy to sit and stare at your screen all day.
I make sure I see my colleagues on a zoom call a few times a week and have regular chats via the phone with them to share ideas and discuss challenging projects. I found if I don’t speak to anyone during the day I could feel a bit isolated, so remember it’s good to talk.”
Nadia Mullins-Hills, IT and Projects Manager
“Where possible find a separate space in your home to work – this has made my work far more productive but also allowed me to step away when I’ve needed to so I don’t feel like I’m ‘always at work’. Having a work chair and a headset has made a big difference to me and has ensured my posture is not poor throughout the day.
I make sure I can hit the ground running and have a productive day by creating a plan at the end of each day for the following day. I video call my team where possible so that we feel connected and make time to chat about how we are feeling, any struggles and any new ideas!”
Annette Wyld, Head of Finance
“I think it’s more effective to pick up the phone and call people instead of sending an email where possible. I find it helps to maintain and build relationships. There is a risk that you can become isolated when working from home and making an effort with your colleagues will help you to feel part of the team. Staying connected on Jostle, our internal communications tool, with posts, shout-outs and updates also helps.”
Ben Farrow, Director
“What has worked for me is remembering to consciously switch off when I finish work. So, whatever time you feel you have done enough for the day, turn it off, turn the emails off on your phone and leave it for the next day or else there is no downtime. I had weeks where I was obsessing about my phone desperate for the next email and replying immediately and, in all honesty, 99% of the stuff you get after 6 pm at night can wait until the next morning.”
In summary, here are our top hacks for a positive work from home experience:
- Make a daily routine
- Create a separate workspace where possible
- Take regular breaks
- Get the right equipment
- Keep connected. Make time to call or video call
- Take regular exercise
- Make time to unwind
- Take care of your mental health
Check out our full “Guide to working from home”.
The Coronavirus pandemic has removed the stigma of remote working, as we have all been forced to test it and many have found that it can actually work. Ultimately, working from home is a pattern of work that many are going to be experiencing for a little while longer.
However, it would be impossible not to miss the conversation by the water cooler or that idea that was sparked on a chance corridor conversation. A workplace is a social place where informal interactions between individuals can certainly lead to creativity and innovation. Yet video call technology has challenged that thinking and opened up many different routes for sharing ideas and interacting with others.
We are not sure what is around the corner however, what we do know, is that the way we work has changed and may continue to do so. We will be together again in person one day, but for now, creating a positive and effective work from home experience is entirely possible.
Our consultants can help you with you recruiting remotely with video interviews and virtual workshops. Talk to our consultants today about your recruitment needs.
Judith has worked in marketing for 20 + years across a range of industries from health and fitness, horticulture, GIS software, education and now recruitment. Judith joined Pure in 2017 and is responsible for marketing the business, marketing strategy and delivering initiative campaigns.