Talent Perspectives
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Twelve Years of Working From Home

Ross Statham, Editor

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/twelve-years-working-from-home-ross-statham/

April 27, 2020

 

When I left the military and entered the business world right after college, I wore a suit and tie to work every day. But fortunately, and after many years, that turned into "casual Fridays," which eventually turned into "casual unless there's a client coming into the office". But today dressing up for work is now pretty much a thing of the past. And good riddance!

I believe one good thing that will come from COVID-19 is a realization that people are generally happiest and most productive when allowed to work in less structured environments, even if only for a few days each week. With the COVID-19 virus necessitating most companies to allow their people to fully work from home, there's been some lessons learned, both good and bad. I'm the Senior Partner at a company that for over 12 years has allowed ALL of its associates to work from home (when not working at a client site). So I thought some of you might find it interesting to hear what we've learned from over 12 years of work at home-- and from COVID-19.

The Advantages are Many- and are Measurable:

  • We have found that allowing our people to work from home boosts their productivity significantly, provided we take steps to stay connected with them. Everyone we've moved to this model reports an immediate boost, and our superstars have seen permanent productivity boosts of 15-25%. (One of our senior staff told me, "I can get more done in four hours of working from home than most people get done in eight hours at the office." And I would tend to agree.)

  • While it take about 2-3 weeks for people (and their families) to get used to their working from home, almost all reports that they and their families really like the newly-found flexibility. In some cases, we may set workday hours we expect them to be available. In others, we allow them to use 'core hours' with agreed to daily totals. These hours obviously depend on the job and in many cases, the person, and the time zone in which they live and the time zone where we need them to work.

  • It's a morale booster. Not having to deal with a daily commute to and from work, not having to dress up for work, and not eating out every day out are not only making them happier, they are also saving them both time and money.
     

The Not So Good:

  • People with maturity and drive obviously do better at motivating themselves, setting goals and doing the work. (Others may require more scheduled phone calls and measurements from their team lead.

  • Keeping the team connected to one another is a challenge. Team video calls can help.

  • Workspace, connectivity and tools can be a challenge. Cybersecurity should be an ongoing concern. For example, security flaws in Zoom meeting software recently came to light. People need educating about working remotely safely, and your tech policies need to reflect this.

  • Some of the meeting tools, conference call services and even internet service providers have been overloaded due to the virus. Our weekly conference bridge always worked flawlessly, but two weeks into COVID-19, it became overloaded and we had to pretty quickly adapt.

  • Associates have other things that crop up and eat into their work time, such as children at home doing distance learning, or the need to care for family members. Help them work around this

  • Members of the team can feel disconnected. Calls from their team lead just to see how they're doing and to offer help are appreciated.
     

What happens after COVID-19?

For our company, it will be business as usual. But I'm sure that many organizations will see the wisdom of allowing more members of the team to be able to work from home more often, even if only a few days each week. I believe, that like dressing up for work, that more businesses will see the wisdom of allowing their people more flexible work options- especially those who prove themselves.

Stay safe and stay healthy!
 

 

Hope you find these suggestions to be of help no matter where you land, and best of luck in your job search!

 

If you found this article to be helpful, please let us know- and share it with others. All the best!

Talent Perspectives: Insights for Busy Professions is a series of brief articles that help build winning teams, provide insight on talent and provide organizational development ideas.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and are (C) Dogwood Services Inc.

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