Work-from-anywhere provides significant benefits for both employees and employers, if done properly. We cannot deny that our staff, especially managers, are not trained to work from anywhere. And our facilities and employee welfare are not designed to support work-from-anywhere workforces. As we encourage companies to challenge status-quo by trying to implement work-from-anywhere, we would like to provide 3 tips that could help companies ensure that employee productivity does not drop as a result.
Work as we know today is less of routine-based work like those of ten years ago but more of creative work that requires different working environments. Therefore, we have witnessed many companies transforming their workplace into a flex office, which is an office with mix areas that fit different types of work. Despite varieties of the workplace, the fundamentals of the working environment must be provided for employees to perform at their best each day.
Air-conditioners or heaters are necessary for employees to feel comfortable when working. The temperature should be 21℃ to 25℃ for maximum productivity. However, not all employees can afford electricity costs to maintain the right temperature when they work-from-home. Therefore, the companies may consider subsidizing electricity bills for employees.
(e.g., chair, desk, laptop stand): A place where employees spend 40 hours or more per week, continuously for months or years, should help employees work comfortably in a good posture. Good work station helps employees focus on work and also benefit employee health in the long run. The companies should help suggest and fully, or partially, subsidize the cost of a work station for employees.
It is difficult for employees to work-from-home without distraction, especially those who have kids. It is easy to find a private corner to work at home compared to a sound-proof area, thus a small gadget like noise cancelling headphones can be incredibly helpful to help employees focus on work.
Routines set mental states. When employees arrive at the office, they are unconsciously trained to get ready for work. When the employees are at home, on the other hand, they are trained to relax. Not surprising that we have witnessed some employees who struggle to get things done at home. Nonetheless, we must acknowledge that fundamentally an office is better for collaborating and socializing while home is better for focusing. With the right habit, employees can work-from-home productively, on the day of their choice.
Breaking down goals into daily bite-size is extremely helpful. It not only helps employees create thoughtful to-do-lists, but also helps them prioritize tasks, estimate time and feel successful at the end of the day.
This is a useful technique for both managers and team members. When employees commit daily or weekly goals to other persons, they are more likely to feel obligated to accomplish the goals. A manager can use this technique by arranging a daily checkpoint where he or she can check progress of all tasks assigned to all team members. Even though the checkpoint may be conducted poorly, just by having a daily checkpoint is already a booster in productivity.
Online meetings will become a new normal for everyone in work-from-anywhere. While online meetings do not look much different from offline meetings on the surface, they are some challenges that should be set as a protocol to overcome. For example, a company may set a rule that all participants in any online meetings are responsible to find a place with a quiet background and strong internet connection.
Work-from-anywhere would not happen without proper technology. There are three technologies that companies should pay attention to in order to create a smooth work-from-anywhere culture and fully realize its value.
To work effectively outside the office, employees need a way to access information. Companies could adopt cloud storage to keep most information with proper security metrics while confidential information may be able to access via intranet only using VPN
To enhance seamless communication among employees, online meeting tools like Zoom, Google Meet, or MS Teams can come in handy. Other asynchronous communication channels like Whatsapp, LINE, Slack or Amity Chat are necessary and should be considered and announced on the selected channel by the companies.
Work-from-anywhere, at its core, is a freedom to choose the best place to work, which varies from person to person and task to task. A technology solution for employees to choose where they work is utmost important. Onework is a workplace management solution designed to help employees to create the best working day, everyday. Onework provides standard workplace management features that helps organizations digitize facilities (e.g., desks, rooms, zones, etc.) and turn them into a facility catalog that employees can choose to work from. In addition, has an option to provide other qualified workplaces, with proper facilities to create the right working environment, to the catalog so employees can truly choose the places they want to work. Besides helping employees to find the best place to work, Onework also embeds features that help employees work together such as Invitation (A feature that allows employees to invite friends to come to work together) and Team day (A feature that allows a manager to create a regular day that all team members must come to work together). And the companies can view insight of their workplace utilization and employee preferences from dashboards.
Reference1. Ideal office temperature