Remote Work Downsides: A Response

Rani Molla of Vox.com just wrote a great article titled: “Working from home can make people more productive, just not during a pandemic.” In the article, she talks about the pros and cons of working from home. It is a fantastic article, and we suggest you read through it before continuing on.

Staying Connected

Now that you have read the article, here is our response. First off, the article starts with a study conducted by Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University before this breakout happened. With 50% of employees opting to work from home, however, they still came into the office once a week.

” I think coming in at least one day a week — but typically two or three — gets you connectivity to the workplace, helps with creativity. Most creativity is done in face-to-face environments. It encourages you to be ambitious and motivated. Full-time at home can be pretty miserable. Most people don’t enjoy it, you know, week in week out.”

Nicholas Bloom

Most of us are unable to do that as of this writing. How do you combat that now? Phone calls, face time or Zoom calls are crucial during this time. Especially if you are the only one living in your home. We are built for community and need to stay connected. Here are a few simple steps to take:

  • Check-in daily – whether that is with your boss, colleagues or clients. This will keep you motivated and focused. The term “social distancing” is the wrong term, it should be “physical distancing.” Find ways to stay connected.
  • After hours calls or video calls – Friends, family, mentors or favourite co-workers. Keep your social life going but do not just talk about COVID or work.
Project Lemons-to-Lemonade: Work from Home (WFH) Tips & Strategy

Create Habits

I have four kids and they’re at home, and I’m struggling to get anything done. And it’s not just that, it’s also that motivation and creativity come from being around other people. So I find it hard to be creative and, honestly, find it hard to self-motivate myself if I’m stuck in, you know, one room at home day in and day out.

Nicholas Bloom

This is an area where you need to give yourself grace. Your routines, habits and structure have been flipped on its head. It is a new season, which means things have to change. This change was quick, disruptive and out of left field.

Your previous routines may not work, you may not have a home office or your kids are too young to understand that you being at home doesn’t mean it is time to play, you still have to work. Find a secluded place in your home, set up a desk and make it as comfortable as possible.

Like your routines, your office does not have to be perfect. If it isn’t the most comfortable, schedule in more stretch breaks. If you were never happy with your previous routine, it is a chance to start a new one. You could wake up earlier to have some focused time to your self to read, meditate or exercise. Look for the silver linings, there are plenty there.

Our blog post on “Working Virtually: Best Practices and Tips to Help Companies Successfully Operate in a Virtual Environment” will help with some more practical steps.

Physical & Mental Health

I worry about an explosion of mental health issues. Because you’re isolating people at home all the time and removing them from social interactions, and that’s going to lead to depression. Depression itself generates — it’s not just mental health but physical health tends to do very badly.

Nicholas Bloom

This is the most important part that has been touched on already, but let’s go into depth. I have found that making a commitment to myself helps me stick to it. Here are some commitments you can make:

  • Decide you are going to wake up at __am
  • Your first activity in the morning is meditation
  • You are not allowed to watch TV unless you put in at least 20 minutes for a workout
  • Schedule your month with video calls, you will set 2 per week
  • Find an accountability partner to keep you on track of your above commitments
  • Set a commitment and comment below to let us know what it is

The Most Important Piece

There is tremendous opportunity in this season, 2020 is a forced reset year. Here are a few things you can do, depending on your situation:

Not Working

  • Further your education
  • Focus on your physical health, work out every day
  • If you need to eat better, start studying meal planning and implement it
  • If you find yourself lacking self-worth and confidence, or stuck in fear and worry, start meditating and reaching out to people to talk about it
  • Start a side business, there are plenty of opportunities to build something with little capital
    • Check out YouTube to learn digital marketing, website design, SEO and any other skills you need to launch a successful online business
  • Build your relationships, this is for family or friends, maybe even online dating…literally online dating, have a coffee over zoom or a phone call
  • Build strong habits, waking up early, reading a chapter a day, etc.

Working From Home (WFH)

  • Connect with your co-workers to build stronger relationships
  • Further your education online to round out or strengthen your knowledge
  • Ask your boss for x amount of time per week to work on a side project for the company, Google does this to great success
  • Clear your e-mail inbox
  • Follow up with that client, manager, supplier or colleague you have been meaning to reach out to

Business Owner or Boss

  • Connect with your employees, this is a chance to get to know them better and build strong relationships
  • Build your structures and processes, this will streamline your business saving you time and money
  • Check-in with your clients to see how you can help them with your products, services or connections to grow their business
  • Test new suppliers, vendors or products, shipping is still an essential service so if you have been waiting to trial something new this is the time

Interview with Global News on Working From Home

I will say it again, this is a reset season filled with silver linings. Make sure to comment below with what your commitments are and find an accountability partner to keep you on track. This is just a season and we are committed to becoming stronger in it, we hope you are as well.

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing at VEA

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