We can already see that COVID-19 has caused an explosion of telework globally. Forced or not, it is certain that work-from-home is the way of the future, and The Strategy Group (TSG) has committed to meeting the growing expectations of the modern workforce.
Effective July 1, 2020, TSG completed its transition from an office-based business to a distributed workforce – or, work-from-home – model. While the pandemic provided the catalyst, we believe that companies will be able to achieve a balance, and see increased productivity, in this new world of telecommuting.
Interestingly, work-from-home is not new. A 2018 Payscale study found that more than two-thirds of employees around the world, or, 70 percent, work away from the office at least once a week, while 53 percent work remotely at least half of the time. In the U.S. about 16 percent, or 26 million Americans, work remotely.
While many companies seemed unprepared for a permanent shift when COVID-19 erupted, TSG like many others has found that the benefits seem to outweigh the cons. Offering staff the opportunity for a more effective work/life balance, reduced or eliminated commute time and expense, and a more flexible work schedule, which can all come together to increase productivity.
In fact, recent studies have shown that remote workers, who experience less stress and fewer interruptions in the office, have more energy and overall enthusiasm. Check out this two-year Standford study https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/why-working-home-future-looking-technology.
As we prepared to move forward, we also found that making available resources to our staff, offering allowances on home set-ups and equipment, and making physical space available for meetings, collaboration, or occasional use were helpful.
If your company is also in the process of transitioning to a new model, these tips from our TSG experts are also worth considering:
• Maintain your morning routine – just because you’re not going into an office doesn’t mean you should skip the things that ordinarily set you up for success. Wake at the same time, and continue the routine that works for you.
• Repurpose your commute time for self-care – if reading, meditating, journaling or practicing yoga aren’t currently part of your routine, now is a great time to try them out.
• Dress for success – just because you can get away with wearing your PJs doesn’t mean you should. You may still be interfacing with colleagues, partners, or customers via video. Plus, dressing comfortably yet professionally helps get you in the right mindset to stay productive.
• Designate a dedicated workspace – find an environment that fosters productivity. It should be quiet, comfortable, and free of distractions – and different from where you usually eat or relax.
• Take time to go outside – taking breaks is great for your focus and well-being. Recharge by walking around the block or stepping outside on a patio or balcony
• Conduct as many video meetings as is practical – face-to-face interaction does not have to be a casualty of remote work. Conduct daily stand-ups or virtual team meetings via video conferencing software to maintain that personal connection.
• Set regular work hours – it can be especially easy to let your workday creep into early mornings and evenings while working remote. Avoid this by setting work hours and sticking to them. Don’t watch television. Working near a television inhibits our ability to concentrate. Resist the urge to have it on, even if it’s just for background noise.