The Challenges of Working From Home

It’s now 6 months since the Covid 19 pandemic started to have an impact on working life in the UK. While many have continued to work from home throughout this period, more than 9 million workers are still taking advantage of the government’s furlough scheme. However, this support is due to end on 31st October and nearly half of the companies recently surveyed by the BBC said that “they did not have any plans in place to return workers to the office”.

Many employees have found home working to involve longer hours, a plethora of virtual meetings and, ironically, an imbalance in their work : life ratio. 

So, as an employer, if you can’t accommodate all of your staff in your premises, how can you support them to work productively from home?

Encourage your staff to create a dedicated work space. Tech giants Facebook and Google are among the companies who have given their employees an allowance to assist with setting up their home working area. Even if financial assistance isn’t affordable to your business, discourage your staff to work from the couch. Not only does working in an area that you associate with relaxation and unwinding blur the lines between work and leisure, it’s also sure-fire way to cause health problems due to a poor posture.

Maintain a routine. Because your inter-team communication is now almost entirely remote, your traditional working hours are possibly now a bit more flexible. There is a temptation to ‘log on’ earlier than usual and keep the laptop open until well into the evening. This can lead to employee fatigue with ‘work time’ and ‘home time’ merging into one. Of course, sticking to s strict 9-5 routine can’t always be possible, especially if there are childcare responsibilities involved. However, encourage your staff to develop a routine that works for them….and stick to it.

Be sociable. Although your team may be spread across a large geographic area and physical socialising is a challenge, remote socialising can still be done. There was no shortage of Zoom Pub Quizzes at the start of lockdown and a weekly quiz or bingo session on a Friday afternoon is a good way to unwind and allow some interaction between your team members in a more informal way.

Don’t rely on emails. How many times have you written or received an email whereby the intended tone was misinterpreted? The more emails that you send, the more chance there is of this happening. There are plenty of tools available to let you communicate quickly but more personally than email. Can you Skype, Zoom or use another video calling service instead?

There will be many more ways that you can help your employees and as Home Working becomes more of the ‘norm’, new processes and tools will be developed.

Good luck!