If Work From Home The New Norm – Let’s be honest, for me, it’s a Yay. I prefer working from home/remotely/telecommuting because I find that it has many benefits and I’m used to it since day 1 I graduated from University. I even work on weekends, that’s freelancing and business life, working from home (WFH) is pretty much standard. Since I also write and create content, this is a norm for me, and working from a place I feel at home is the best. If you are a freelancer or you are your own boss and work mostly at home/remotely, you can easily relate to this concept of working and love it because you are used to it.
Based on my personal focus group results which involve Millenials (born between 1982 and 2000), they are the group of people who are the strong advocates who prefer working from home/away from the office/remote. These groups of people are also known as the ‘Digital Nomads’. In the survey conducted it was found that if ever they missed office, the main similarities showed is they missed their lunch buddies/good friends and lunch moments – which is the only time they have time to eat, socialise and really bond with each other. Interestingly, some don’t even miss their office because of less psychical involvement in office politics and drama.
In fact, if we are referring to the newest statistics (Fortunly and PWC), millennials do appreciate flexible working space and working from home is a top priority for millennials. 69% of millennials would give up other work benefits for a more flexible working space. Working from home is also one of the way for companies in this digital era to retain and sustain talents and the millennial generation, which this generation will form 50% of the global workforce by 2020.
Let us go through some key benefits working from home. I believed those who have to travel far can perhaps relate these easier. Working from home saves you hours of traveling time (especially if you live far from the office and you have to face hours of traffic congestion), traveling cost, reduce carbon emission, bye-bye expensive meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner – if you finish work late/arrived home late, long hours and frequent meetings, unproductive distractions, gossips and so much more – which could easily make you feel exhausted and demotivated at the end of the day when you finally reach home. Can you also imagine the deal that you have to face some of those brownnose and bitter colleagues who like to bully or in worst cases, make your life miserable at the office? At least by working from home, lesser face time which results in less drama and bully.
Being able to work from home effectively requires you to have high discipline, perseverance, a positive attitude, motivating, able to communicate effectively digitally, consistent, resilient, agile and competent. If you’re able to carry these qualities in your life when working, you can basically work anywhere. Additionally, you also need the right tools and technology.
Of course, the preference of working from home still varies from one person and another depends on their personal circumstances. Commonly those who dislike work from home are mainly due to distractions at home (children, small kids/newborns, spouse, big family, house chores, lonely, isolated, craving for human interaction, etc), which is understandable and sometimes it’s unavoidable. The likelihood to wear many hats at home can also occur if you have to look after your family while working and it’s definitely not an easy task when you have to juggle all at once.
One of the main solutions to work from home efficiently is to designate a space for work (office/room/area) that will minimise any unwanted distractions when you work and able to aid you to be more productive. For children and spouse – guide them to be respectful of boundaries and be independent when it comes to you working. Chores need to be distributed based on responsibilities so everyone is occupied with productive assignments and have a good understanding of the situation at home. Husband and wife need to come together and help each other, being a supportive and understanding partner is one of the best solutions.
Other than that, schedule your time wisely and define the right balance – which only you know what’s the right balance for yourself. Find your productive hour and give your brain and body a break before your burn out by doing the things you love (exercise, meditate, art, etc) and can keep you focus in the present moment. Boost your resilience by focusing on how you feel and if you’re down, focus on how can you bounce back and be better. Cultivate positive emotions and attitude and it’s okay to take small, imperfect steps towards resolution.
Another bright side of working from home is you will have more valuable time with your loved ones/family/even for yourself. If you live with your family, you have the luxury to be with them which for me is a bonus because I love to be close to the people I love.
Working from home – I share the same workspace with my husband, I can better take care of my family, can cook, clean, do house chores, exercise, pray, meditate, self-care, learn more, not neglecting my hobbies, play games, entertain my cat, and so many more! – are just some examples of the benefits of working from home, if time is managed wisely (I save hours of traveling time to the office that’s for sure!). I feel I can do so many things and at the same time, giving my best at working. One of the happiest would be my cat as I’m always there for him, (pets wanting attention they say) – he gets it a lot!
To ponder, have you ever thought about how many quality hours you really have a day? We all have 24 hours a day. If we subtract all hours a day for prep, traveling to the office and working, on average we could spend 14 hours a day and even more. Subtract the hours to sleep if we try to get enough sleep (8 hours), we have spent 22 hours a day easily. We use another 1 hour to take shower, eat, pray/meditate, we left with only 1 hour or less a day – if we’re lucky enough. This 1 hour is the quality hour that we could spend with our family and loved ones and even care for our well-being and mental health. Imagine, how precious is all this time if we could use it wisely at home while working and spending time with loved ones and have better time for ourselves.
One of the best ways to appreciate the benefits of working from home is important to note that when you work from home, don’t mix work & life and make yourself work 24/7. Find the balance. Set yourself the working hours and focus on your work when you’re at it. If we work at the office from 9am – 6pm, for example, thus it should be the same at home. It’s okay if you want to put the extra hours (deadlines, too workaholic or etc), but ensure that it doesn’t ‘eat’ you at home. That makes you feel work from home even dreadful and exhausting.
Don’t forget to structure your work during the day based on priority to avoid you feel overwhelmed at the end of the day. You know better than anyone else your best time to think at your best and working, so if you can be flexible and still produce, be it. Be agile and flexible, as long as you achieve your goals and end-results (delivery based).
For me, I’m happier at home and when I’m happy, I am more productive. Less stress, less problem, better overall health and well-being which is important for me than anything else. They say home sweet home and for me, that’s true in my case. I feel more energised and positive.
Besides the benefits that one can attain from working from home, we must not forget what do we need to equip ourselves to ensure we can work from home efficiently. The ability to handle any situation as a leader and as well as a follower is also important when people don’t visibly see you in front of them (lack of human touch).
The quality of leadership needs to be there, able to reach, support, communicate effectively and guide your teammates as a leader, not as a boss. Micromanage is a big NO-NO for effective work from home. As a leader, it’s our responsibility to guide our teammates to be productive no matter where they work.
Teamwork makes the dream work, no matter how tough the situation gets. Communication is crucial when working from home. Use the right words and methods to deliver messages. Even though the person is not right in front of us, we now live in the digital era, things can work if we try hard enough. No excuses.
Take work from home as working offsite or away from the office. It is still working. It is still a stigma and work in progress in embracing the concept for some people, but once the culture sets in, it would be better. It is beneficial to have virtual face-to-face meetings/communication such as using Skype, Zoom, Teams, Lync, Whatsapp, and other interfaces that can help you connect with colleagues wherever you are. We live in a world of ‘you are just 1 click away’. Use that opportunity wisely.
Trust is also important when working apart from each other. It goes both ways between leader and teammates. Therefore, responsibility and accountability need to be there so there won’t be any sort of abuse or taking advantage scenarios. It takes two to tango.
It should be a culture of understanding that work from home is working as normal except not in the office, but at home/remote. Similarly, we as an employee should abide by our roles and responsibilities no matter where we work as an honour of our duty.
I do see that working outside of the office (work anywhere, not just at home, as long as you work and deliver) is a possibility in the near future. In fact, due to coronovirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is already happening now. The fear of working digitally is slowly diminishing. Those who used to be skeptics have turned believers when they recognised the benefits and have no choice but to adapt.
It takes time for most roles to work digitally I take it, but this tough journey will teach us how to see and experience things differently. How we can change the way we work to fit the future we live in. How we need to change our mindset to be able to adapt rapidly and swiftly.
Looking at the latest Generation Z and Generation Alpha (after Generation Millenials), working at the office and climbing the corporate ladder is no longer a top priority or career aspirations. These are the generation that technology is at their fingertips and they know how to earn through digital space which clearly sets them apart. With social media platforms that have taken over the digital world and trending, it’s a new way of making money for many of the children and teenagers nowadays who can earn more with their persona even before they even begin college or some-school!. That’s the world we live in now and will keep on evolving through time.
These wave of young professionals who will enter the workforce in the near future is a topic that needs to relook at, ‘how do we change the way we work now and attract these generations to work with us’ will perhaps change how we work currently and prepare better for the future.
I’m blessed to have the opportunity to work from home at the moment during this pandemic situation and have the understanding and support from my leader and colleagues. It’s paramount that we all need to have a mindset that is able to adapt and shift according to change because change is inevitable. Transformation is needed from time to time. Embrace what we can. The world is moving so fast, we need to train ourselves to be more versatile, understand the young ones and work hand in hand with them because they are the new generation that will lead the future.
Hence asks yourself, if working from home is the new normal, will you be okay with it and how do you manage this concept of work in your life. On the contrary, if you are not ready, how could you change your perception and situation so you can embrace working from home culture in your life. Sooner or later, this work from ‘anywhere’/remote work environment will be a culture, which is going to overtake traditional office work in the future for many, suitable roles, like it or not.
It’s time to adjust, and working from home is already the ‘new normal’ for some businesses due to the coronovirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some companies are already making arrangements to embrace work from home in a more permanent way post-Movement Control Order (MCO). Google and Facebook company have said they will extend work from home to their employees for the rest of the year. Surprisingly, Twitter even said that many of its employees will be permitted to work from home permanently even after the end of the COVID-19 lockdown and may work remotely forever. These tech giants are allowing more work from home flexibility to their employees.
Yes, working from home has its challenges and not perfect, but in the long run, it can be beneficial for both employees and companies with the right method of implementation and understanding.
Change is always hard at the beginning but once you get used to it, there’s no turning back, it’s a norm and you will like it and move on. We need to constantly adapt to change and ensure our work reflects our skill and we are able to be a viable asset to the company. Keep learning something new especially during this challenging period so we are able to cope with any uncertainties that the future may bring and learning can also help to nourish our brain.
Take care, stay safe and I hope this article will help you to understand more about work from home.