It’s no secret that the notion of the remote workplace has been on the rise in recent years. Multiple studies have shown that productivity increases with work from home options. The expectation (and desire) for employers to offer remote options is only increasing, with an astounding 80% of employees saying that they want to work from home, at least some of the time. Is there any downside to offering a virtual work situation?
Before you jump headfirst on the remote work bandwagon, it’s important to realize that there still are some very real adjustments to consider. Though the benefits in general often outweigh any negatives, the work-from-home agreement does have some caveats that take some getting used to.
Perkuto is, of course, a remote workforce, so we’ve got our processes and social interaction tools down to a science. Allow us to debunk some of the common myths and misconceptions about working from home.
Myth #1: Leisurely Breaks and Lots of Free Time
Expectation: Must be nice to sit down and enjoy a long lunch and a nice break.
Reality: I’ve forgotten to move for many hours, eat, or even drink water. – Hilary German
Tip: Create – and Stick to – a Routine
Wake up early, shower, get dressed for the day, eat breakfast…while these all sound like fairly basic adult human functions, it can be a bit easier to let some of the routine slide when the “commute” to your work desk is a couple of steps away. The more casual nature of remote work can be fun at first, but by day five in sweatpants, as you type furiously away on your couch with a cold mug of coffee beside you, it can start to wear on your psyche and well-being.
“I used to think working from home meant that I’d roll out of bed and right into work every day,” said Kelly Martin. “Turns out, a little makeup definitely makes me feel like a human and gets me ready for the day.”
Veronik Durocher also pointed out the importance of an end-of-day process as well. “We stress the importance of some sort of routine or ‘protocol’ if you’d like to really end the day, both physically and mentally,” she said. “For me, closing everything on my computer, shutting down the laptop and closing it physically helps me do the same thing in my head so that when I step out of my office room, I’m not in a work mode anymore.”
Finding a routine and daily rhythm at home is really important to overall productivity and well-being. The major plus of remote work is that you get to adjust the routine to fit your preferences, but it’s sometimes forgotten that physical workplaces oftentimes create a form of structure for you to fall in line with – including taking appropriate breaks. Take time to set up your virtual workplace to give yourself some structure and rhythm to the day, beginning to end. Block off some time for lunch, a stretch break, or a quick walk outside with your dog. Without co-workers to pull you out for lunch, it’s all too easy to get sucked into a continuous work loop unless you incorporate some of these checkpoints for yourself.
Myth #2: Free Childcare and House Cleaning
Expectation: Oh wow, working from home– it must be nice to not have to pay for daycare! Not to mention, the time you save on being able to do housework and laundry throughout the day sounds great.
Reality: Daycare makes things a whole lot easier – working from home is not a daycare substitute. And, time for housework just isn’t there. – Lindsay Khan.
Tip: Get Creative with Scheduling
Working from home is not a replacement for childcare. We repeat: working from home is not a replacement for childcare. Just try taking a video call with a client as your spirited toddler babbles and wanders around, and you’ll understand.
That said, one big perk to many remote working situations is a bit more flexibility in your schedule, which can help you be there for your family a bit more. This includes planning in time to pick up and drop off at school or childcare locations.
“Most of my direct team members have kids. Team collaboration for rotating work coverage can help take the stress off everyone,” said Anna Leary. “I also try to get some work done before my son wakes up and after he goes to sleep. My goal is an hour and a half every morning and/or an hour after he goes to sleep.”
When it comes to chores?
“I’ve never had time for laundry in between calls,” laughed Judi Cousineau.
Lindsay added, “I’m even considering hiring a regular cleaning service because I simply don’t have time for housework.”
Just because you’re working from home now, does not mean that you’ve mastered the art of multitasking – you’ll still have calls to make and deadlines to meet. As tempting as it may be to try to get a load of laundry started, or that dishwasher emptied, let yourself focus during work hours.
Myth #3: It’s More Difficult to Form Meaningful Relationships
Expectation: Now that I work in a virtual environment, I won’t get to connect with my co-workers as much.
Reality: Actually – we’re very connected! Between different Slack channels, video conferencing, buddy system, learning opportunities during weekly calls, virtual happy hours, OfficeVibe polls, and giving kudos, there are lots of opportunities to connect. – John Francis
Tip: Use Technology to Stay Connected – Both Professionally and Socially
Just because you’re physically removed from your co-workers doesn’t mean that you can’t be social. Use tools like Slack or Donut to check-in with colleagues. Put a virtual happy hour on the schedule and invite co-workers to join and chat about life outside of work— using video calls internally can help foster relationships. Though the perks— working from home and controlling more of our own schedules— are enticing, we’re still social beings at our core and crave connection. So, be sure to use the technology at your fingertips to help satiate both your productive and social sides.
“I used to think video calls were silly and would roll my eyes when we’d have to turn on our camera for every call,” said Kelly, “but then you realize how much easier it is to stay engaged and form meaningful relationships with colleagues, partners, and clients.”
Whether you’re a remote-work rookie or a seasoned veteran, it’s important to take the time to check in with your daily practice from time-to-time. Establish workday routines and boundaries, schedule in time for breaks, and even schedule time for socializing.
Perkuto is and always has been a remote workforce. If your organization is temporarily displaced or under a COVID-19 quarantine, we can help. We have the staff and infrastructure in place to continue business as usual. Contact us to discuss your situation.