Due to the outbreak of Covid19 disease in the beginning of 2020, which became a global pandemic, people started to work increasingly from their homes in order to prevent possible close contact, and thus prevent the virus from spreading. People who didn’t work from home before the pandemic were faced with many challenges in the process. Even though the idea of working from home sounds very tempting, it certainly has its downsides. This post is intended to cover tool that we use to stay connected, advantages and disadvantages of working remotely, and how creating a working space at home can help you stay productive. Since we have been practicing remote working for a while now, we decided to share our experience with you. Currently we are still have the option to work from the office, as well as working remotely. Most of our employees prefer working in the office.
Creating a working environment
The most difficult part for the most people when forced to to work from home is to create a working environment, or even find a desk to work on. Everyone isn’t equipped for working remotely, but here are few things you can do in order to be able to complete your daily tasks. Creating an environment which will help you stay concentrated, and motivated for completing your daily tasks, is very important. In case you don’t have a working desk, feel free to use your kitchen table. Sometimes doing simple things such as cleaning your desk, putting on clothes rather than staying in your pajamas, even though you can allow yourself that because you are staying at home, can make a difference.
Tools for working from home
Investing in tools and gadgets for online conferences, can be very useful. Not only will it help you stay connected, but also it can increase the quality of your work. Online conferences can be streamed through Zoom, Google Meet, Skype etc. In case you need help from your colleague on something you are working on, you can use TeamViewer to manage your monitor. Also, if you are having trouble managing your daily tasks, using Evernote can be of great advantage, because the tool helps you keep track of your daily “to do” list.
Advantages of remote work
1. Saving time on commute
Working from home implies that you don’t have to commute to work. Your workspace is created in your own home, and for that reason you don’t need to set aside the time to get to the office. Commute time in larger cities, because traffic jams, and the distance from your home to the office, can be longer. This precious time can be saved and used for something pleasurable like spending it with your friends and family, personal hobbies and activities. In that way the employee can be more satisfied and fulfilled, which in turn will increase his/her motivation for work, because the balance between professional and personal life is better.
2. Longer and better sleep
As the employees in such a situation are not obliged to commute to work, they can use that time to sleep more than usual. Lack of sleep can have a big impact on employees’ health and concentration during working hours. Improving employees’ concentration can improve their working performance.
3. Fresh homemade food
Another advantage of being at home is preparing homemade food, instead of ordering in. This is great for saving money, as well as eating at a more leisurely pace, and consuming more home cooked meals. Taking care of your health, which includes your immunity, is of great importance especially now, during the pandemic. Furthermore, eating fresh food can not only improve your health, but also improve your eating habits.
Disadvantage of remote work
1. Communication and social activities
When working remotely, lack of communication can become a problem. At Hexis, we use Slack to stay connected, even when we are in the office. Group chats, calls, sharing data, are some of the tools Slack offers. However, even though Slack is a great for work communication, it can never replace face to face interaction. Having one or more of your colleagues in the office not only means that you have company, but it can also be useful when bouncing off ideas, resolving problems with a specific task and soliciting help. This is comes in handy for our developers, because they can help each other when coding. Communication with your colleagues in the office can help you bond with each other, which ultimately creates a better working environment. Working in the same space can connect employees, which in turn makes them work better, and also creates friendships.
Working from home can be challenging in case you have distractions at home. Most people faced this problem during the quarantine period; having to work from home with your kids, pets, and other household members being around, meant interruptions and distractions are more frequent than ever. In this case it is very difficult to stay concentrated and focused. To overcome distractions on your desktop you can use a Google extension called Stay focused which limits the amount of time you are wasting on sites like Facebook or Youtube.
3. Loss of productivity
As mentioned above, interruptions can lead to a lack of concentration and focus. A frequent consequence of this is loss of productivity and motivation for work. To improve your productivity, it is important to create a working environment, minimize your distractions, have short breaks for lunch, coffee or just a small break to be able to continue working later on.
For the moment, we are still combining working remotely and working from the office. Having offered our employees to choose the location from which they prefer to work, because we found that our productivity ultimately increased. In the end, there is no right or wrong solution. Each company can analyze for itself how working remotely or working from the office effects their employees and the work process. Based on that, you can make a decision to choose either of the two options or a combination of both.
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