With the Government recommending those that can should work from home, it is important to note that for some people it’s not the perfect set up.
There is the obvious advantage of no commuting. Whilst technology means we can have more autonomy over our time, we need to be mindful that working from home doesn’t work for everyone.
For some people, working from home can put their mental health at risk, causing feelings of isolation and disconnection and the feedback and encouragement they receive from their fellow workers in the workplace can be critical to their productivity.
Working remotely may create a pressure “to appear busy” or to be online throughout the working day. This can cause stress.
So, what do the experts recommend?
Working from home is a new phenomenon for many, so issue guidance and be relaxed about the results in the first week or so as people find their way.
Suggested guidance for employers:
Guidance will firstly be about technology and then setting the parameters that it’s OK to work in the morning and take a couple of hours out.
Let people know they should set up a “work zone or space” and not the sofa!
Encourage “self- care time” for meditation or exercise. One business we know has a group video meeting with a personal trainer 3 times a week for basic fitness (let’s be honest we are all different shapes and sizes!).
Hold a team Skype, GoToMeeting, Facebook Messenger call or other group telephone call for 20 minutes each morning at 9.00am. Seeing your co-workers is a boost and just to know “you are all in it together” helps.
Encourage a down time of between 12 and 2 and no work after 5.
Let people come into the office alone if they need a day away from home.
Send your people fruit and deliveries of “goodies” from time to time.
Remember, although there is increasing pressure to organise your business to minimise staff interaction, it has to suit your business. Where it is simply not possible, there are plenty of other measures to consider for the welfare of your staff.