The coronavirus is continuing to wreak havoc across the globe, with more than 441,210 cases reported and 19,766 fatalities having occurred worldwide.
While the human, social and economic cost of the coronavirus continues to mount on a daily basis, however, this outbreak is also challenging a number of accepted norms and long-term issues in areas such as the NHS, private social care and the workplace.
In terms of the latter, it’s arguable that Covid-19 could ultimately trigger a culture shift in the modern workplace, and one that accelerates the transition to flexible and remote working. But will this culture shift take hold, and how can remote workers optimise their productivity while at home?
Appraising the Current Shift in Workplace Norms
As part of various lockdowns across the globe (almost a quarter of the world’s population is currently subject to social distancing measures), billions of people are now working exclusively from home.
While this may be causing some issues in terms of connectivity and communication for some firms, it has also presented immeasurable opportunity to leverage key flexible working tools such as Skype, Trello and Microsoft Teams.
Similarly, renowned brands like Google and Microsoft have also blazed a trail for others to follow in terms of remote working, by allowing all of their employees to operate remotely across the globe.
Ultimately, this has proved that remote working is a viable possibility for the vast majority of office-based workplaces, aside from the far from insurmountable issues surrounding broadband connectivity and the demand for VPN usage nationwide.
Beyond Covid-19, this has created a long-overdue conversation in the workplace, and one that makes it increasingly clear that the accepted status quo may never be restored in the UK and similarly developed economies.
How Can Remote Workers Operate Effectively from Home?
Of course, there’s bound to be some post-coronavirus pushback from some employees, particularly those that are more traditional in their outlook and typically resistant to change.
There’s no doubt that remote workers can make a strong and unwavering case for operating from home in the current climate, so long as they’re able to optimise the productivity and maintain efficiency of communication. Here are some ideas to achieve these objectives:
- Create an Ergonomic and Comfortable Working Environment
The word ‘ergonomics’ is widely used in the modern workplace, as this relates to designing spaces for efficiency, comfort and ultimately productivity.
Home workers should apply similar logic to their domestic offices, particularly if they’re to optimise their output as remote employees and avoid occupational health risks pertaining to sedentary work.
This will involve relatively simple measures, such as using a balanced swivel chair that has five feet and ensuring that your monitor or laptop screen in roughly an arm’s length away.
When it comes to comfort, research has also determined that the ideal office space should be between 16°C and 24°C (depending on its precise application).
To guarantee a consistent and efficient source of heat in your home office, you may want to invest in underfloor heating from a reputable supplier such as Incognito Heat Co.
While this will require an upfront cash spend and long-term investment in your home office space, this can actively save you money over time and optimise your productivity as a remote worker.
- Create a Viable Routine
This may sound like relatively generic advice, but creating a viable routine is far easier said than done.
While you need to create the ideal working routine and schedule to suit you, for example, this must also enable you to remain contactable by your employer and match the business’s core working hours.
To achieve this, you’ll need to understand precisely how you work best, while also liaising with your employer to factor in their expectations with regards to working hours and their preferred methods of communication.
In more general terms, you’ll also need to adopt a similar mindset to the one that you have when attending the office. This means waking at a reasonable time, showering as usual and dressing in a smart-casual manner, as this will help to focus your efforts and optimise your productivity while at home.
These steps can also refresh and enliven the mind, ensuring that you’re completely switched on and ready to work at your optimal level throughout the day.
- Ensure That You Have the Right Tech
When working from home over an extended period of time, it’s potential communication options that give employers sleepless nights.
Believe it or not, most employers trust their colleagues to work diligently from home, but remain concerned about the reliability of broadband, Skype and Microsoft Teams during increased or peak levels of demand.
With this in mind, you’ll need to run tests and ensure that you can work efficiently from home while also remaining contactable at all times.
It’s also worth ensuring that your mobile data hotspot is working and available to use if your broadband starts to lag (or at least have access to a viable VPN connection where possible), while investing in headphones that allow you to use Skype freely and efficiently.
By being proactive and ensuring that you have the right technology to work remotely, you can alleviate any concerns that your employer may have and create a more compelling argument to operate from home in the long-term.