How has working from home affected you?
Working in an office has many positives such as the teamwork, environment, socialising and collaborating with your work colleagues, if you want to discuss a problem you can work it out together, learn from others, impromptu interactions can happen more easily and you have a better understanding of the business. Ideas can be discussed, and innovation can happen. In the workplace, we can have access to technology, and a strong cultural connection all of which make collaboration easier and move the business forward.
Going from that buzz in the office to working in your home environment can have its challenges. If you are a people person, it can be lonely working by yourself. Having the self-motivation to commence your work, keep focused and have the ability to structure your day.
What has been the biggest hurdles that you have had to face? How have you adapted? Did you have the right technology in place, or have you had to invest?
Research has shown that remote workers generally work longer hours than when they are in an office.
Should we ask where are we most productive office or remotely?
Remote work was on the rise prior to COVID-19. Technology has made communication simpler with applications such Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Microsoft Teams and Whatsapp video amongst just a few.
Studies have also shown that whilst remote workers generally are working longer they are on average more productive and more engaged, however this is where employees are still attending the office at least 2-3 times per week and benefiting from all the positives of being in an office environment but the flexibility of working remotely for a minimum of 2 days. Companies who are allowing employees to have this option are experiencing less turnover with happier more productive employees as they are not facing the rush hour traffic 5 days per week. What are your thoughts? What is your preference?
Where are the most distractions? The office or home?
At home, employees say that they can work uninterrupted and feel a greater sense of work-life balance. You skip the commute, rush hour and your mind is free of any stress. However there are the distractions such as the TV and the opportunity to just “pop” to the shops, put the washing on, hang it out, the fridge and start to complete the list of chores that has been left by your partner or house mate. Are you disciplined enough to avoid these?
The counter argument would be that the office is where you can chat easily to colleagues that is non work related, hold regular meetings about meetings, co-workers asking questions about problems and a noisy working environment.
The best of both worlds
The consensus seems to be that a balance of working remotely, two to three days a week allows for a balance of teamwork, collaboration and business relationships in the office together with the benefits of remote working.
I think that we must remember that not everyone is the same and one size does not fit all. The ideal space will vary with each individual and their role.
As a virtual assistant we have adapted to working in the home office. Speaking from experience, I love being surrounded by people and have worked in an office all my life however since becoming a mum, life has changed dramatically and the flexibility that being a virtual assistant has given me has been fantastic. Not having to spend over two hours per day in peak hour traffic has given me the time to work more productively.
Having an Australian virtual assistant based in two states, Queensland and NSW allows us to communicate easily with not only each other but with our Australian based clients. We have the opportunity to zoom on a regular basis and there are so many options in which you can chat, share knowledge and be able collaborate. Having an Australian virtual assistant allows our clients to communicate with us in real time as well.