The global pandemic may have forced you to take your business online and limit colleague and client interactions to virtual meetings.
Alongside all the professional and personal challenges and losses, anticipated and real, does the thought of working from home fill you with dread, do you approach this with panic and trepidation?
And now 8 weeks in, are the challenges what you expected and anticipated?
Working remotely undoubtedly exposes existing cracks and creates fresh challenges and hurdles such as:
- sourcing home office equipment,
- additional pressures on IT,
- acknowledging stark financial realities, making intentional not reactional decisions at crisis board meetings,
- having time and space to focus on work,
- mental health fragilities,
- unintentional bullying or insensitive remarks about personal circumstances.
In the office everyone was equal and now staff are getting an insight into colleagues’ home lives and throwaway comments combined with tensions over Coronavirus risk flaring and impacting productivity.
But, 8 weeks in you are probably amazed at how calm, composed and focused you have remained. You are proud of how adaptable and resilient your organisation and staff are. There is great comfort in the fact that everyone, nationally and internationally, is going through this together.
You may feel emotionally closer to your staff than you did when you were physically in the same office.
Some practical and financial benefits of being adaptable to remote working are clear to see:
- The home office equipment has or is already being sourced and can now be reasonably accurately budgeted in the future.
- Additional pressures on IT have been absorbed and capacity has been appropriately tested and ramped up.
- Staff have no travel time or travel costs either locally, nationally or internationally, reducing the organisation carbon footprint considerably.
- Staff are not stressed by being late for meetings due to factors outside of their control such as traffic or late running trains and the sheer volume of people they encounter whilst commuting.
- Local air pollution is greatly reduced, leading to a proliferation of local wildlife which has a noticeable positive impact on the quality of life.
Financial and Strategy
- Acknowledging stark financial realities, making intentional not reactional decisions at crisis board meetings stands all in good stead to cautiously take the business forward with a flexible shift of focus towards emerging growth areas.
- In addition to lower business
ratesthere are further savings with costs for office heating, water, electricity, shredding, recycling and waste being reduced.
- Adopting a fairer approach to work that better addresses differences between those with and those without children.
- HR put in place new learning: attention management techniques thereby growing our awareness and therefore choice.
- Mental health fragilities are no longer a marginal issue for the few but brought into discussion within the mainstream.
- Reduced number of staff sick days per annum.
- Some aspects of health such as physical and mental well-being are improved as less time is spent travelling and more time is spent eating well, exercising and being with the family.
- Watercooler chats or team socials are being replaced by online team chats so more openness and less negative socialising.
- Staff are already embracing existing online and phone apps to manage projects, teams and workstreams and utilising time management techniques so productivity does not decline.
This new workplace flexibility is not about saving money, nor long-term social distancing. In the end, it’s an investment in employee well-being, productivity, and ultimately, profitability.
It opens up a whole plethora of choice to the employer and to the employee when negotiating basic working conditions.
The focus should not be on where you work but on how you work!
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