WFH Series — Misconceptions About Home Office Debunked
With a large part of the workforce going remote, the theory that productivity will be boosted will be truly put to the test. As mentioned previously in this series, working from home is not just copying the work environment into your home.
Replicating office behavior can reverse many of the benefits of remote working, so in this post, we want to address a few key misconceptions about the home office to help you get the most out of this new reality.
Let’s start again with the facts. Working from home can be amazing- in fact, a PGI survey revealed 82% of respondents reported lower stress levels as the graphs below highlight. Likewise, another report confirmed the obvious fact that overhead costs are greatly reduced for businesses where a large part of the team works remotely (even if intermittently).
With all this good news attached to remote working, why are there myths to debunk in this post? The answer is that remote work is not one-size-fits-all. Making it work for you doesn’t mean it will work for your colleague or your neighbour. In fact, if handled incorrectly remote working can lead to physical, mental, and social problems.
More calls but don’t overload
The first myth to debunk is the idea that working from home inevitably leads to more headspace and productivity. Whilst this is the ideal case, it doesn’t often pan out like that. As your colleagues try to replace casual workplace chats with formal Zoom invites or dedicated meeting slots, you’ll notice your calendar begin to clog up even more than normal with call after call after call.
Stop right there. It is essential to stay connected to your team regularly throughout the day but this doesn’t always have to be on a call. Make sure to block time on your calendar for focus work, or to limit the number of calls per day. Even better…try to only agree to those meetings you feel will help you move forward, not waste most of your day on calls. Being on video repeatedly can be exhausting so be strict with when and why you call.
Freedom but be responsible
Suddenly your days are free of the gaze of your colleagues, of wearing acceptable clothing and maybe even of commuting. With all this freedom it can be difficult to know how to handle yourself to get the most out of your day.
Be responsible and take steps to be in control of your day. Whether it’s mixing up the clothes you wear, setting alarms, working from a dedicated table or any other hack, it’s important to know yourself and find the path to productivity. Don’t let work from home become an endless cycle of blurry days.
Less stress but be mindful of mental health
Most importantly, look after yourself. Working from home should be liberating, empowering, and everything in between. Finally, you are able to shape your day fully and achieve your goals. Take time to check in with yourself and be sure you are happy with how things are going.
Measuring your own success doesn’t just mean productivity. Are you coping with work? Are you happy? Are you getting tired? All these questions and more are part of the reality of working from home and even a social distancing future. Learn your strengths and weaknesses — you’ll thank yourself over time.
So there you have it, a few common myths about working from home debunked. Remote work is truly a key part of the future of our professional lives, so now is the time to learn to do it well. Take time to find out what tools and practices work best for you, and remember that routines can be optimized over time.
Stay safe, stay productive and stay healthy!