How to Make Working from Home Work
56% of managers say it’s likely that their company would allow the workforce to work remotely after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. However, Nicolas Bloom, believes working from home under current conditions is a productivity disaster.
4 productivity disaster-makers:
- Space for a home office.
- Choice. Right now, many are forced to work from home when they would prefer working from the office.
Bloom mentions 1,000 employees who were given the choice to work from home. 500 opted in. Six months later, 250 wanted to come back to the office.
However, BLUESCAPE’S survey indicates 38% of employees are happier working from home.
Top 4 challenges of working from home according to managers:
- Adapting my leadership skills to lead remote teams. 47%
- Putting into place processes that help employees be productive while working remotely. 43%
- Experiencing social isolation. 41%
- Having general anxiety about the impact of Coronavirus on my life. 32%
Top 4 challenges of working from home according to employees:
- Experiencing social isolation. 57%
- Having general anxiety about the impact of Coronavirus on my life. 50%
- Having the right technology to be productive. 40%
- Other. 37%
Skills for working from home:
4 tips that make working from home work:
You can’t chase shiny objects and be effective or efficient when you work from home.
#1. Eliminate as many distractions as possible.
I keep my office on the dark side with the windows covered and the lights dim. My problem is I fall in love with shiny objects.
#2. Know and leverage your attention span.
My attention span changes throughout the day. It’s longer in the morning and late afternoon and short after lunch.
Do hard work when you’re at your best.
#3. Establish small goals:
Deadlines, timers, and alarms create beginnings and endings. Ambiguity hampers focus.
#4. Take frequent short breaks.
What’s your take on the future of working from home?
What tips might you offer for successfully working from home?
What if Working from Home goes on … Forever (NYTimes)
Hybrid Remote Work Offers the Worst of Both Worlds (Wired)
The Productivity Pitfalls of Working from Home in the Age of COVID-19 (Stanford)
The Long Unhappy History of Working from Home (NYTimes)
Productivity isn’t using every waking moment to work. Use your old commute time to do things that rest your mind and keep you balanced. For example, out down the email on your adult pacifier (phone) and walk, run read that novel, etc. for me it would be 1.5 hours of balance focused time in the day.
Thanks John. One thing that I love about your comment is it’s specificity. We have to get a vision of balance if we are going to create it. Cheers!
Thanks for this one Dan! I am one who is definitely better at home and have used your tips to help me make it work. A critical one for me has been to take advantage of doing the hard work when my attention is sharpest.The visual on what skills managers and employees value the most was also very good!
Thanks Kate. The management of attention/focus/concentration is more powerful than I thought. I’m glad you found it useful.
Giving myself permission to focus on hard work when I’m at my best and lower expectations in the early afternoon has improved the quality of my life and the use of my time.
Hi Dan and all, I would add avoid stepping in rabbit holes. There is a lot of turmoil so even visiting very credible news sources (for example) can become a time suck. I rigorously vet my to-do list of what I’m doing through the filter of : if we’re talking about business outcomes or our environment one week from now, one month, one year from now, what do I want to be talking about? If an item doesn’t contribute, it goes way down or even off. then I let it carry me through those low-energy moments. definitely have said to myself ‘what are you doing? either get back to it, or admit it’s time for a break and walk away for 10 minutes’ Stay well
My company has been working from home since mid-March. Fortunately we have system tools and resources allowing us to monitor production closely and we’ve found our employees are actually more productive and the general consensus is they prefer working form home. It’s likely we will incorporate a blend of in-office and work from home once the pandemic ends. I also find I get more done in less time with very few distractions but I do have to fight the lure of shiny things. We also need to incorporate more video meetings to connect and see each other’s faces. But overall, I think the work from home work force will be adopted as a permanent reality for most. Look at the other benefits to our environment, with less cars on the road, far less emissions. Great topic and very timely!
I love working from home, and find that it minimizes the fun, yet distracting things in the workplace. You have to be more intentional about connecting with your team, but so far this hasn’t bothered me. It is much easier for folks to slip through the cracks if they enjoy introversion vs team engagement. I truly think that it’s not just about focusing on or maintaining productivity, but challenging our notions about what that even means as a work from home workforce. It’s easier for salary vs. hourly workers to think like this, but how nice is it to integrate work and life nowadays? I no longer feel like I have to cram family time in around my work schedule, because I’ve cut out a significant commute, and family is always around me these days.