The recent COVID-19 outbreak has incentivized many companies to allow their employees to work from home. Working from home is not a new concept. Many companies and industries have tackled this approach to increase productivity and decrease costs and expenses.
With 205,642 cases of coronavirus around the world, there’s no surprise that the U.S., as well as many European countries, have already declared a State of Emergency. Citizens are being asked to stay at home and companies are being instructed to do everything in their power to allow their employees to work remotely.
Working from home is especially essential now since at least 69,000 schools across the U.S. have been closed or are scheduled to close.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 29% of Americans can work from home, with the bulk of this figure is represented by workers in the technology sector. Tech Giants such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Twitter, Airbnb, have asked a significant number of their employees to work from home, to help mitigate the effects of the virus.
How Do Americans Feel About Working From Home?
One of the biggest issues with working from home is the managers’ fears that employees will lack focus or be less productive. However, this fear is mostly unwarranted.
Numerous studies have shown that employees working from home are more likely to be more productive. Commute time is reduced to none, as well as coworker chatter, office distractions, or nonessential meetings.
The same study shows that remote workers take 22 minutes a day for breaks, compared to 18 minutes for in-office workers, but at the same time, they also worked an average of 1.4 more days each month, or 16.8 more days each year. A 2017 poll reported that 43% of employed Americans had spent at least some time working remotely.
Two years ago, the U.S. Census reported that 5.2% of U.S. workers were based entirely at home. This number is a lot higher now, but data has yet to be collected.
According to HBR, employees embrace the option to work remotely. A 2017 study even found that the average worker was willing to accept 8% less pay for the option to work from home. This means that employees find working from home a real benefit, and they value the flexibility and cost reduction that comes along with it.
Reduced transportation costs, the ability to cook at home, and less money spent on all translate into indirect financial benefits. With that said, 29% of remote workers struggle with work-life balance. Here are some tips to help employees work from home even better.
Tips to a Better Work From Home Life
While working from home, it is important to develop a strong discipline to manage your time and expectations.
- Schedule a start and end for your workday, get in the rhythm, and do everything as you normally would at the office. Treat everything with the same amount of seriousness.
- Establish a morning routine so that you don’t go straight into work mode directly after you woke up.
- Working remotely has a different impact depending on your personality type. Extrovert personalities may be more impacted than introverts with others. If you are more extroverted, keep in touch with your coworkers and managers via calls, messages, or video conferences.
- Play music while working, and even wear the clothes you would normally wear to the office.
- Make sure you differentiate between work and personal life and set the boundaries from the start.
- Remember to take breaks. Taking breaks while working remotely is the most effective way to stay productive.
- Set boundaries and rules with the people you live with. Whether you live with your partner, roommates, or with your family, they need to know that when you work, it’s important for you to focus.
- Use a dedicated workspace is important. Even if that’s just a small desk in your bedroom, it’s important to have a go-to place for work.
- Check out Toptal’s The Suddenly Remote Playbook for even more tips on how to sustain an enterprise-grade remote work environment.
What Should Organizations Do?
First and foremost, companies should get their infrastructure ready to handle work from home. Employees should have the technology and management needed to work from anywhere.
This means having the right tools, such as laptops, phones, access to the Internet, but also complying with data governance guidelines. No matter where employees work from, they should be aware of the importance of their work and the data they work with. Companies should have a designated data officer, who’s constantly monitoring to check if everything is in order.
Managers should check-in with their teams, either via messaging apps or calls, and utilize project managers if possible to help facilitate these meetings. It is also essential that companies continue to be transparent with their employers, keep lines of communication open and be aware of common objectives.
Cognetik’s employees are located all over the world, so remote work is something we are well-versed in. With several locations in the U.S., Europe, and beyond, our team of experts is efficiently prepared to keep the analytics industry moving forward in a time of social distancing and quarantines.
Many businesses need help with their data or even just building a roadmap for what’s to come within the next few months. Contact us today, and we’d be happy to help.