For better or worse, more of us are working from home (or remotely) than ever before. Some are transitioning back to the office or other physical presence. To put it mildly, both transitions have been awkward and clumsy. For some, working from home was a dream perk come through, while it has been a nightmare for others. Many of us were basically […]
Worth Reading: A Simple Trick to Manage Working From Home
A report by Steelcase titled Changing Expectations and the Future of Work pinpointed five patterns of work-from-home experiences (though extreme categorization) based on people’s behaviours and attitudes. It’s important to note that it’s possible for people to associate themselves with more than one of the patterns.
First is the Overworked Caretaker who miss the office for the opportunity it provides to leave home responsibilities behind. Then you have the escapist from hostile work environment, the Relieved Self-Preservationist, who sees the home office as the only safe place. Frustrated Creative Networkers are the individuals who are conflicted about returning to the office. For them, the home office is a suspension from normal life and work.
No matter how others feel, Autonomy Seekers finally got their freedom through the home office. They are thrilled to work at their own rhythm, without someone constantly looking over their shoulder. Enjoying a level of control in designing their own work experience and feeling a greater sense of wellbeing at home. They are sharply contrasted by those to whom, home office is a lonely cage, the Isolated Zoomer. This is a group that values the office because it offers a way to separate work and life.
Technology has been instrumental to maintaining connection with a remote workforce. Without it, shifting to work from home would’ve been impossible. Workers would have been isolated, disconnected and utterly cut off from their colleagues.
Technology can also have a negative effect on work-life balance if we fail to set strict boundaries, and many people struggle doing this. And this can lead to huge impact, not limited to burnout, low performance, stress leave, sick leave, mental health, etc.
With “always online” attitude, maintaining work-life balance has always been difficult, but COVID-19 and the work-from-home shift has made the issue more visible and even more prevalent. The temptation to quickly check email becomes that much stronger when you can’t tell where the office ends and home begins.
The outcome of research by CareerBuilder on motivation for checking email outside of working hours reveals the following.
- For more than half of workers aged 18-24, the motivation is a sense of obligation.
- For workers 55 and over, they stay connected out of choice.
Leaders need to set and lead by example. To communicate the importance of setting boundaries, it’s far more effective if the message comes from the top down. To lead by example, they should switch off from work at the weekends, and avoid communication with staff. This will send a clear message that it is healthy and important to enjoy quality time away from the pressures of the office.
Employees can also be encouraged not to organize meetings beyond 3pm, this is to give everyone enough time to wrap up their day after the meeting.
With encouragement, education and behaviour led from the top, everyone can switch off to stay switched on.