For many employees, the shift to working 100% from home has been a challenging one. Many are working alongside their spouse with limited office space while others have their children’s homeschool schedules to manage in addition to their work responsibilities. Some may be caring for at-risk family members or struggling with isolation if they live alone. Working from home with little notice due to COVID-19 has its hurdles, but employers and employees can take the following steps to maximize their productivity.
- Create a general schedule for everyone. An employee’s work schedule no longer exists in the insulated walls of their work building. They need to outline what the new daily routine will look like to include sleep schedules, work hours, school obligations, meal times, outdoor/recreation time, screen time, and more. Employees may need rigid hours or flexible time slots to make a schedule work for their family. However, having a basic plan for how the day will unfold can help keep everyone on track and keep chaos to a minimum.
- Accept that work will be different than it was before. Trying to force an office building-oriented routine onto a working-from-the-kitchen-table scenario will fail every time. Employees will only be able to complete a certain amount of work if there are several other people living at home with them. Limited office space, a significant increase in the relative volume level, limited access to previous resources and tools, and a host of distractions will drastically overhaul the appearance of a typical workday. Employers and employees will need a significant degree of flexibility to avoid burnout.
- Schedule work hours and stick to them. Having other people around such as a spouse, extended family members, or children can derail a workday without much effort. It’s important for the employee to establish clear work hours and let everyone know they are unavailable to chat or play during that time frame barring emergencies.
- Outline a weekly work plan. With more things competing with employee’s time while working from home, outlining a plan for each day can help. Having a schedule lets employees know exactly what they need to do when they sit down at their computer rather than wasting rare uninterrupted time figuring out where to start. Several online project management tools can help with this.
Finding ways to improve productivity, engagement, and morale can help reduce employees’ stress, the likelihood of burnout, and attendance problems. To learn more about managing attendance with a remote workforce, contact the experts at Actec.
As more states issue stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, many businesses are trying to implement work from home programs. This will allow them to keep operations going while complying with CDC recommendations for social distancing. While there are many benefits to working from home—no commute being one of the biggest ones—there are also several hurdles employees need to deal with in order to remain effective.
The following are some of the leading difficulties that will impede the success of a remote workforce:
- Employees working too much. Work is a job without end. There is no true finish line as more tasks follow on the heels of completed jobs. When working in a typical office building, employees have clear cues on when to begin and stop working. At home, those lines can become blurred and many employees may overwork as a result, which can lead to burnout. To avoid this, employers should set clear business hours and encourage employees to create boundaries between their workspace and the rest of their house such as creating a home office space.
- Prioritizing tasks. There are significantly more distractions at home than there are in the workplace. It’s easy for employees to get sidetracked by a sink full of dishes or watching TV during their lunch break. To mitigate wasted work hours, employees should focus on their most important tasks first. Many employees find certain tasks daunting and they’re less likely to procrastinate if they tackle those jobs first thing during the workday. This can set a momentum for a productive day.
- Household interruptions. In light of the coronavirus, many parents working from home will also likely have small children or spouses home with them as well. Establishing a workspace or office is critical to creating boundaries between family time and work time. Explaining to children and other household members why it’s important to avoid interruptions as well as setting consistent work hours can help limit these kinds of disruptions.
- Isolation. Switching from a typical office setup to a one-person work environment can be jarring for some employees. Loneliness and cabin fever can derail productivity so it’s important that employees incorporate socialization into their day. Downloading video chat apps or making a social phone call during lunch breaks can help ease the feelings of isolation.
Communication will also be a significant challenge as workplaces adjust to using chat programs and making calls to discuss projects rather than stopping by a coworker’s office or cubical. Actec understands the challenges employers face ensuring their workforce is productive. Contact us to learn more about managing employee’s time and attendance while working from home.