What keeps a boss up at night about WFH?
Since working from home (WFH) became a daily reality in our lives, different challenges have arisen, but probably there are 3 big ones that are in the mind of any manager and CEO: make the WFH efficient while maintaining creativity, culture and productivity.
Although initially it was difficult to adapt us to working from home, both managers and employees have been able to do so, thanks to the technology we have today. Computer-based conference programs have been successful in simulating face-to-face meetings, and other communication and work management IT tools have helped a lot.
Nonetheless, technology isn’t the only thing to consider when a manager wants to assess whether their team is working like it used to. There are three questions that have arisen from this new way of working and that managers and CEO ponder:
- Will my people be as creative as they were in the office?
If we consider that the change of environment often serves to receive inspiration, working from home will give your people a breath of fresh air in terms of creativity.
Think that, working from home, an employee is much more relaxed, since he does not have to waste time going to the office. Therefore, you will be able to use the time that previously took you to travel to your work to sleep a little more. Even if your body makes you wake up earlier, maybe you can use that time to start to mentalize for work, or even come up with fresh ideas that you can collaborate with on the project you are working on.
Precisely, another aspect of the WFH is related to new ideas. Employers and employees alike agree that the flow of new ideas has increased.
And not only that, but now they come from sectors that previously went unnoticed. The security that employees feel makes it possible, as we can see, that they feel more confident to express their ideas. And this becomes a source of innovation that can be greatly exploited and bring a breath of fresh air to companies.
Being able to create an environment in which employees feel safe and free to express their ideas, in a universe of organizations adapted to the WFH modality, will be the key to adapting to the future that awaits us.
- Will my people be engaged in the company’s culture by being out of the office?
Of course. An employee appreciates that their concerns and priorities are taken into account, and knowing that managers take their health into account and avoid stressful situations will be greatly appreciated.
The truth is that employers are concerned about the possibility that the team diminishes its dedication when it works remotely. Therefore, the important thing is to strike a balance, in which employers are satisfied, and employees do not feel pressured to work beyond their established hours.
The benefits for both employees and companies are undeniable, since the WFH offers the possibility to capitalize on a greater diversity of talent, and to employ professionals anywhere in the world.
Another positive point to highlight is related to personal interactions: there has been more confidence when participating in videoconference meetings. The stress level has also decreased, and the mood has improved, as has productivity.
So don’t worry, if good communication is maintained, your employees will continue to be involved and engaged outside of the office.
- Will my people be productive so that we can maximize profit?
You will be glad to know that the answer to this question is yes. Employees have been shown to be just as productive working from home as they are at the office, and sometimes even more. How can this be explained? Well, it’s not that difficult.
Plus, there are a number of things you can do to boost creativity and innovation, making sure they stay motivated and engaged.
1- Align them with your business objectives: to do so, you must ensure optimized internal communications. You need to frequently communicate your company’s mission, vision, and ultimate business goals so that your workers will strive to achieve them.
2- Guarantee internal communications in real time to improve productivity: use appropriate software and provide them with the necessary devices.
3- Allow the exchange of knowledge: build effective long-term solutions that are scalable, executable and realistic. Otherwise, if your organization is isolated, employee frustrations are inevitable.
4- Strengthen collaboration between departments: 73% of sales teams say that collaboration between departments is essential to their overall sales process, while 7 out of 10 IT professionals see collaboration as a major priority in their organization.
5- Encourage the joint creation of new ideas and solutions: it is very important to allow workers to promote open and transparent communication about their projects and make it visible to everyone.
6- Monitor and deliver the latest industry trends: employers could and should consider implementing solutions that automatically find and deliver information from reliable and relevant sources, making it easily accessible and searchable at all times.
7- Embrace mobile communication: consider implementing a mobile-friendly solution that will boost productivity. Help your employees raise internal awareness about digital transformation and change management initiatives.
Not everything is what it seems.
After reading the answer to the three questions, you probably think that all that glitters is gold. Although the WFH emerged as an alternative that allowed us to continue working in a time of crisis and avoided many problems, it also brought some headaches:
1- By working in their own home, people can feel that they never leave their place of work, that their day never ends. This can be a source of stress, which will negatively affect their performance. Therefore, it is important to establish rest periods.
2- Let’s talk about interruptions. Not everyone who works from home can have an office separate from the rest of the house. Therefore, by having their computer in the living room (for example), they are exposed to constant interruptions: pets, children, doorbells, phone calls, etc. It’s not always easy!
3- There are people who find it difficult to work from home. The fact of having flexible schedules, for example, only makes them start working much later and, as a consequence, finish later too.
4- Connecting with the team can sometimes be difficult. Yes, it is true that video calling applications have solved many things. However, sometimes it is difficult to connect with colleagues, since one can decide to go shopping, or be distracted for a moment, and probably be away from their computer. This can cause frustration and disruption to the workflow.
5- Lack of social interaction. While it is true that you can work in almost the same way from home, you cannot talk in the same way with colleagues. Enjoying a conversation in the coffee break, a few laughs by the vending machine, sharing the way to or from work… The truth is that we are social beings, and there are people who do not have family or friends and need interaction in person with their peers. If they don’t, they might even get depressed and need help from a psychologist.
How can you tell if your employees are experiencing any of these issues? Ask them directly. It is the only way to know the truth, with a calm and gentle approach. Only in this way can you access a response that allows you to know what is best for your company.
WFH brings new challenges, but it also brings new benefits and a new way of working. It is up to us to finally analyze how to adapt this philosophy to our company, taking into account that millions of professionals have already enjoyed the experience of working remotely.
Many of them do not want to return to the office under the previous scheme, so companies that provide the alternative of remote work will have the best, most committed and most productive employees.
Another point that we must mention is that Hybrid Work is also an alternative. Let’s remember that Hybrid Work is a flexible policy that empowers people to choose where they work, typically a balance between home and the office. Employees may have set schedules, where they work at home three days a week and in the office two days, or the other way around.
This is probably the best option to achieve a balance between the office and the WFH. It will allow creativity, engagement and productivity to flourish in our business.