Not every employee would be satisfied with that model of their workday. As ‘Rzeczpospolita’ noted, more than half of the respondents, asked by CBRE/Grafton, prefer 1-2 days/week of remote working as a maximum. The sudden switch to another modus operandi could be a shock for them, which could become a threat of effectiveness’ decline. Only sporadically had I the opportunity to work remotely in the past, and that’s the reason why taking my office to my home resulted in a reasonable dose of anxiety. The reason is simple—many stories I’ve read recently claimed that people who work remotely find it difficult to separate their professional and personal lives. Also, remote workers often feel isolated and lonely, and that’s even proven by annual Buffer’s research from 2019.
Not so fast with that 100% effectiveness
There isn’t much one can do when there’s no other option than home office. But first of all it seem worth understandind that — as Laurel Farrer, President of Remote Work Association and Distribute Consulting CEO notes on Forbes.com — ‘There is a difference between being at home during work hours, and working remotely in a way that maintains (or enhances) business operations’. Farrer adds that both employers and employees cannot assume that everybody can work remotely as efficiently as in the office. Relatedly, managers should think of redesigning their workflow, and employees—myself included—should become familiar with the new model. ‘Remote working is actually a skill and something you should put some work into’, said Clare Witty, Culture & Engagement Lead from PepsiCo, in the conversation with me.
In AUDE — for example — we added Slack to our usual tools like emails, phone calls, and Trello. Slack is the virtual space divided into communication channels about particular clients, topics and general stuff. This is the place where we can check whether somebody’s online, ask about some details quickly, organize video calls with screen sharing or… exchange some coronavirus memes (cast the first stone with company’s logo on it, whoever never done that!)
Managing day-to-day tasks in the digital environment only demand a good planning skill—that’s for sure. But with home officing I actually verified my perception about my focusing and getting-it-done skills. There’s one useful tip that helps separate important info from the noise. As Clare Witty from PepsiCo said to me, experimenting with notification settings, to reduce visual fireworks and sound beeps from our computer and mobile devices, could be a lifesaver. After all, every ‘beep’ can drag us from current task, expanding the time we need to concentrate again.
How to get… off work?
Online conversations—video calls as well—and meme exchanging could actually make loneliness and sense of isolation go away. But what about the ability to separate life at work and a personal one? This is where I still see some traps and challenges. My office gear is close at hand almost constantly and I often catch myself on peeking onto one of my screens compulsively. Think about it: letting work emails go after leaving the office at the end of the day may sound like a healthy work-life balance. But what if your office equals your apartment—and your day-to-day outfit is some shirt at the top and… pajama pants at the bottom?