Since the Coronavirus first reared its ugly head, I have been recommending telecommuting as a way of reducing the risks of spreading Corvid19 through your workforce. I have been pushing for this for years for many reasons, including reduced business costs, staff satisfaction, reduced commuter traffic congestion and more. I’m pleased to see news media and others now also trumpeting this call.
Working from home isn’t easy and straightforward for everyone and I’d like to share 5 tips, based on personal experience, that might help.
- Make sure you have a space that is just for work. Minimise distractions and while it may be home, while you are in that home office, it is not your home.
- Work out a plan if you have a partner and children. If you haven’t worked at home before, agree on some basic rules. For example, a signal, maybe a closed door, that says you are at work. Compensate by making quality time available.
- Find a way to stay focused and stick to task. Forest is a cool mobile app that can help. A virtual tree grows as long as you stay focused for a predefined period of time. It withers if you stop the activity you are doing. What’s even more cool, is that the more you use it, the more real trees sponsors pay to have planted.
- Whether you are the people leader or the staff member, stay in touch with your colleagues. Have virtual meetings, maybe Skype or Zoom as a way of maintaining business relationships. That contact is really important and helps maintain continuity.
- Make sure you take home everything you will need. Laptop, paperwork, meeting notes. There is nothing worse than getting to your home office and finding you have forgotten something essential.
Evidence suggests that productivity and job satisfaction increase, when people are entrusted with telecommuting. There is the potential for the coronavirus to decimate some workplaces, it also means that people can feel safe, working at home.
When people feel a little off colour and start coughing and sneezing, this causes concerns for fellow workers. It also means that people can continue to work, without using up sick leave or annual leave.
If your business has been considering allowing or encouraging staff to telecommute, this is a great opportunity for a trial. It doesn’t commit you to doing it long term, although if you do it well, I suspect it will become part of your business model. Don’t treat it lightly though. It isn’t simple to do well. This is why many consultants have been employed in cities like London where traffic congestion is at its worst.