COVID-19 AND TELECOMMUTING – A BITTERSWEET MIX
One third of companies worldwide had employees well-equipped to work from home prior to the COVID-19 pandemic set in, while the rest had to rush to get all the furniture and other components to create a home-office set-up. If that sounds like you over the last few weeks, you’re not alone! Most companies have either decided or been forced to go fully virtual, requiring most, if not all, of their employees to work from home. But are we really prepared for this switch?
While working from home has a lot of perks for most, like saving a few dollars on transport and not having to deal with the morning rush hour or crowded public transport, distractions at home such as kids, a partner that must also work from home, or even a puppy that craves attention, have the potential to cause our work productivity to decrease.
Whether we are happy about it or not, there are still a few issues that we are all encountering when working from home:
- Getting connected: One of the most commons problems of working from home is dealing with the internet. No matter which provider you’re with, it’s highly unlikely to have the same internet speeds you are adapted to in the office. Not to mention those living in a share house or with family at home and competing with every device in the household! Now you’re trying to get connected to a video-conference or the company’s server but with everyone on at the same time, connections can cut out, you can only hear every second word in your virtual meeting, or you can’t access the files you need, and suddenly the comfort of a “pop-up home office” is not always a dream come true.
- Physical space: Now let’s talk about the workspace set-up and what accessories we need. Did the company give you a quasi-impossible list of things you have to get before working from home? A desk, an ergonomic desk chair, mousepad, extra screen, and the list goes on and on… Most retailers have been selling out of these home office staples and a lot have been forced to make do with what was already around the house.
- Meetings: Grabbing your notebook or laptop and walking to the boardroom to get into the weekly meeting with your peers has now translated to making sure you’re wearing a proper shirt and finding a quiet spot in your house with no embarrassing background to get into that videocall. Not always easy is it? We’ve all seen across different social platforms those embarrassing moments where there is always someone making a fool of themselves in those virtual meetings held in Zoom or Skype for Business. Not only do you risk becoming the next viral video (and not in a good way), but depending who you’re on the call with, the repercussions it could have on your business suddenly escalate.
- Getting in the zone: When we are at work, we manage to have better concentration and we don’t have any distractions that could potential makes us lose track of what we are doing. When you are at home, it’s easier to get distracted by anything. Whether you other people around, pets, the tv on in the background, or even a cake burning in the oven – distractions are unavoidable! Some studies show that a few people can get better results from working from home, but that same study shows that most humans can’t.
- Extra hours: As per all the others perks that we encounter, we manage to take more time to do our daily tasks and to deliver work in the same time we manage to do in the office. The reasons are simple, all the obstacles we have when we work from home, sometimes don’t let us finish on time. Plus, we have don’t have to travel back home – we are already there! So instinctively we try to finish the task and without realising it’s 7 pm and we have passed our work hours!
Is Australia really ready to work from home? The value and impact of establishing boundaries between work and home life and being able to switch off at the end of the day has never been more apparent for both our physical and mental health. With no defined end in sight for COVID-19, many businesses are developing or implementing “work-from-home policies” to ensure business continuity and employee wellbeing. For some, employers and employees alike, the “work from home” concept is just not suitable or effective.
After all we must take care of our mental heath and the stress generated to accomplish some basics tasks that could now seem enormous with all the distractions that we are facing at home. We all feel the stress to execute proper plans for our business from our little home office and sometimes just wish we’ll be all back in the office to have a proper meeting with our colleagues. Thankfully we still have some options at Victory Office, where we can accommodate any business needs and without exposing anyone to any risk – our Business Continuity Program has multiple options that could suit you.