In recent months, the pandemic and national lockdowns have caused a radical change to the way we live. One of the biggest changes has been the switch to working from home and many people want to continue to do so even now that the government is lifting the restrictions.
If your company has offered its employees the opportunity to work from home in recent months, you may have seen a happier and more productive workforce. However, you may also have seen first-hand the problems that homeworking can cause.
If you want to overcome these issues, read on for five useful tips for how you can help your employees and adapt your business to the change.
If you want your team to be able to work effectively at home full-time, then it’s important to make sure that they have the right equipment. While the logistical side of things is something that can be easy to overlook, it’s important to sort out so it doesn’t cause you any headaches down the line.
The most obvious piece of equipment that your team will need at home is a laptop, which you’ve probably already provided for them. But it’s also important to make sure they have the amenities that can help them to work comfortably and effectively.
For example, if one of your employees has to work in a part of their home with poor Wi-Fi coverage, it may be worth investing in a powerline adapter for them. While this would only be a small expense for your business, it can make a significant difference for your employees and reduce the difficulties that poor connection can cause them.
One of the biggest issues that working from home poses to a team is that it can make it difficult to communicate successfully.
When your team is scattered in several locations, it’s much more difficult to coordinate tasks. Not only can this slow down work but it can also increase the risk of miscommunication, leading to wasted time as the project has to be redone.
If you want to overcome this issue, then it’s important to ensure your team are able to communicate effectively. While you’ve probably already investing in videoconferencing software such as Zoom, this isn’t always enough.
Scheduling regular weekly or daily meetings with the team, where co-workers can chat and update the others with their progress on tasks, can help to alleviate this problem.
Another issue with working from home is that, while videoconferencing can help with communication, it can’t fully replace our daily face-to-face interactions.
This can be a problem as those little chats over the water cooler can sometimes play an important role in the creative process. Being able to bounce ideas off your colleagues can be invaluable for solving a particularly tricky problem when troubleshooting an issue.
These chats can be especially useful for newer members of the team, who can often benefit from the greater experience of their teammates.
While sending an out-of-the-blue message to a co-worker can seem like a daunting prospect to new people, it’s important to encourage your team to socialise and dispel any nervousness.
It may be worth setting aside half an hour each week over a lunchtime and organising a team call where you can take it in turns to talk about their particular interests. This could be anything from a favourite TV show, a new video game release, or the results of a recent football match.
Encouraging your team to chat socially can help to ensure that they feel comfortable communicating at work and can also be a good way to improve mental health by dispelling some of the isolation from home working.
One of the biggest challenges with remote working is ensuring the wellbeing of a team when you aren’t able to see them as regularly as you used to.
Looking after the health of your employees when they’re working remotely can take a variety of forms and can be something as simple as buying an office chair with proper support for a team member with back problems.
Another much more difficult problem to solve is that of mental wellbeing, as the social isolation of working from home can have detrimental effects on people’s moods and productivity.
While encouraging regular chats and team calls can help somewhat, often the simplest and most effective thing you can do is to ask your team directly what you can do to support them. It can be comforting for them to feel that they’re being listened to and implementing their solutions can be much more useful than just guessing what they want.
If a large portion of your employees prefer to work from home, then this may mean that you want to reassess your employee benefits package, and this can be another great opportunity to let your employees feel listened to and appreciated.
For example, since they are working from home then subsidising the cost of commuting is unlikely to help them. Instead, they may prefer benefits such as flexible hours or more days off per year.
One of the problems of working from home is that it isn’t as easy to just “turn-off” after you have finished your hours for the day. According to reports published in the Guardian, the shift to home working has led to many people putting in significantly longer hours per day than they did pre-pandemic.
Not having enough time to rest and recharge can lead to emotional burnout, which can seriously affect people’s mental health and productivity. That’s why it’s important to ensure that your employees are maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Communicating with your team members is important here too, so that you can understand what might cause them to feel pressured to work longer hours.
You may also want to consider implementing a company-wide policy that nobody replies to a work email after 5pm, which can help to prevent conversations with clients from eating into your employees’ free time.
Looking after your team members’ mental health benefits everyone involved, which is why it’s important that you do what you can to ensure a healthy work-life balance.
If members of your team are considering working from home permanently and you want to ensure that you have the right protections in place, we can help. Email email@example.com or use our contact form to request a call back from our team.