With the pandemic, we have seen a surge in health and safety protocols everywhere.
Whether it be enhanced sanitation measures, daily temperature checks, or curbside pick-up options, organizations have been pivoting to try to keep both customers and employees safe. One main facet that has affected many employees and employers has been the shift to working remotely. While this is not a new feat with many workers already working remotely as part of their job, an increasing number of organizations have shifted the majority of their workforce to working from home in hopes of reducing the spread of COVID. Not only is this an adjustment for employees, but employers also saw their share of change with the need to manage a remote workforce. There is no doubt that managing a remote workforce has its own challenges such as the need to maintain communication with employees, as well as the need for technology to keep everyone in touch and on the same page.
Healthy Working from Home Habits
Of course, there are many inherent benefits to working remotely including the saved commute time as well as the comfort of being in your own home. However, with the new working from home lifestyle, many are experiencing burnout and an overall deterioration of health. Especially as employers, it’s important to remember the impacts that remote working may have on your staff. Here we will share a few healthy habits for you and your employees to keep in mind while working from home:
- Take a break!
One thing taken for granted in the office is the little bits of downtime here and there. Whether it be the lunch you went out for with colleagues or the short walk down to the meeting room, it still gives you a little break from your desk. However, at home, it’s easy to spend hours sitting in front of the computer. After all, everything from your daily tasks to your meetings are now done online. Consider scheduling regular breaks throughout the day and step away from the desk during lunch. Taking a small break can help with productivity, especially when you’re feeling burnt out.
- Exercise and Stay Active
In conjunction with the last tip, it’s important to stay active. Stepping away and taking a short break to work in a little exercise into your daily routine can help refresh your mind and body. While it may not seem like much, a bit of movement here and there is better than spending your full workday sitting. One option that many people are turning towards is standing desks, which allow them to have more movement while working. With many people spending hours in front of the computer, it is easy to feel sluggish. A bit of activity or movement can help you feel more rejuvenated and energized to tackle the rest of your day.
- Have a dedicated workspace
With your desk a step away, it is easy for your personal life and job to blur together. Make it a point to segregate your workspace from the other aspects of your life. If possible, try to surround yourself with things that soothe you or make you happy. Whether it be a nice picture by your desk or burning your favorite candle, having a nice workspace can ease your stress and make you happier overall.
- Maintain a routine
Many find themselves running into the habit of working late into the night just because their desk is right there. As such, it’s important to establish a routine for yourself, and make pointed work hours. While at home, it is tempting to roll out of bed and get to work. Many have found that maintaining that habit of getting ready, even if you’re only working from home, has helped them be more productive. Of course, this does not mean you have to be in a full work outfit, but changing into some fresh and clean clothes can help you feel ready to take on the workday. In a similar fashion, making a cup of coffee every morning can be a signal to the start of a workday. This also applies to the end of the day, where it’s important that you make it clear when the workday ends.
- Keep connected
This is an especially critical point if you live on your own. It is easy to feel isolated without any human interaction. As mentioned before, it is easy to take for granted the small interactions you had with colleagues in the office. Make it a habit to maintain communication with your colleagues. Especially access to technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, your colleagues are often just a click away. In online meetings, turning on your video and audio can also help create an atmosphere similar to what exists in an office setting and makes your conversations much more personable.
The 4 Day Work Week
Many of us are used to the standard 5 day work week with 8 hour-long days. However, there may be a new norm on the horizon: a 4 day work week. Of course, this doesn’t mean 40 hours of work compacted into 4 days, but rather a reduction in the overall hours worked. Many organizations are realizing the benefits of implementing a 4 day work week.
Some benefits seen are increased employee satisfaction and lowered stress levels. All the better is that these benefits are not necessarily at the cost of decreased productivity levels. So why does this work? Many are finding that overworked employees reach a point of being unproductive due to the accumulation of stress, and other facets. While this concept may seem out of reach for many, it is a well-implemented norm in various countries. In fact, many of the productive countries already abide by 4 day work weeks.
However, despite the many benefits and positive results shown when implemented at different organizations, it is important to consider the various circumstances in which a 4 day work week may be ineffective. It is salient that your organization is equipped to make the switch, such as ensuring that you have sufficient supportive technology. One pain point of the 4-day workweek is a decrease in customer satisfaction due to decreased accessibility of services. This can be helped if your organization can leverage technology, like AI, to resolve customer inquiries.
Overall, the transition to a 4 day work week is not going to happen overnight. While many businesses are making strides with this change, the reality is that it cannot be easily implemented in every organization or in every industry. Despite this, there is no denying the benefits that businesses have been able to reap from this switch. Some organizations have even taken this approach to help reduce stress brought on by this new wave of working from home during the pandemic, citing improvements in employee morale and productivity. As workplace cultures are rapidly evolving in response to the pandemic, the 4 day work week may be a change that many organizations are considering especially with the impacts of working remotely.
This time, as we’ve seen, is quite unprecedented. With the constant changes, many organizations are uncertain of how to proceed. While some are looking to return back to the office, many businesses are making the pivot to having staff be hybrid or remain fully remote. Above all, it’s important to stay responsive and attentive to your employees. If you’re looking for a business solution to support your remote workforce, contact us today.