Home office is no longer synonymous with laziness
Companies and work processes are constantly evolving. One of the areas that are evolving the most in the current situation is working from home. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, only 4% of people in the country worked from home. Already in January 2021, this figure has risen to 14%, which makes roughly 1.5 million people who currently work from the comfort of home on a regular basis.
This new reality is forcing companies to approach the work hierarchy differently than before the pandemic. The mindset of managers is changing from "if they are at home, they won't get anything done" to "how can we help them work better at home?".
Most companies realized during the pandemic that they were practically already operating as if people were on homeoffice. We use Slack or a similar app to communicate. For task management, and home office we use ClickUp, Jira, Trello, YouTrack, and others. So the goal is not to change the already set processes, but to focus on improving them.
Is there anything I need to ask? Okay, but first I'll ask myself if I need an answer right away. If so, I can arrange a future video call with a colleague. If not, I'll email or message Slack and do something else in the meantime. In neither case, however, will I interrupt my colleague by walking up to his desk and interrupting his workflow? How to improve processes to function in the home office is a never-ending learning curve that changes from company to company and will take a long time (if not constantly). These processes are well described, for example, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of Basecamp (formerly 37signals), in their book Working Remotely.
Employees will appreciate working from home
Working from home is an undeniable advantage for the company's employees. They don't have to spend time traveling between home and work, they are not disturbed at home (not always, as we will discuss below), etc. They can use the time they would have spent on the road more efficiently, especially for themselves. For example, in our company, some employees go jogging instead of going to work. They say that they flush out their endorphins and work much better afterward. Another plus is of course the positive impact on their health. As a result, the home office has a positive impact on everyone's health - fewer people on the road > fewer fossil fuels burned > fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Pitfalls and their solutions
Of course, working from home is not just about the positives. Not only managers have to deal with this new situation, but also employees.
A lot of employees find it difficult to work from home. For example, they can't concentrate on their work as well as they can in the office. This problem is always highly individual, but it should always be preceded by great communication with management. The employee should not be afraid to confide in their manager that they simply cannot work at home and together they should find a solution.
Something works differently for everyone, but sometimes you will find that they are in effect complete trivialities that can be easily resolved. For example, some employees can't work on the same computer they use for fun. They need to have strictly separate machines for entertainment and work. It's best if their content is absolutely different. You have Slack, ClickUp, and work email on one, Steam launcher, Netflix, and personal email on the other.
One employee even had to wear special shoes. He had a set-aside pair of slippers that he clearly designated as work slippers and was able to work from home every time he put them on. These rituals are all about the search, which the employee's manager should participate in.
Another common problem is family, typically a wife on maternity leave. This problem has virtually only one solution and that is a separate space. Either the employee has to set up their own office where they will not be disturbed for a clearly defined time (yes, some employees have a meeting time schedule on their door) or it is becoming more and more fashionable to work from public spaces like coffee shops. Just think of how many times you yourself have seen a person with a laptop in a café. Nowadays, especially in bigger cities, coworking is still flourishing. An office where you rent desk space and go to work there. However, the meaning of home office is somewhat suppressed and the advantages are more like a freelancer.