Why is a good work-life balance important during working from home?
When we work in an office or any other place than our own home, it is easy to establish the separation of work and personal life. Something as simple as the movement between work and home, and more so if we have to use a mean of transport, makes our brain assume that we are no longer working and “change the chip”.
During working form home, this disconnection is no longer there, since we do not make that change of environment. Therefore, it is essential to have good time management and set up the right workspace at home. We should also be aware of the fact that we must keep the same schedule at home as at the office and do the same activities as we usually do.
If we do not establish an organization and work additional hours taking advantage of the fact that we are at home and we can stay longer, the necessary balance between the two lives can be affected and harmful since free time is very important to take time to enjoy what we like to do and be able to disconnect. But we must remember that it can also be unfavorable the other way around. When we are at home, there are many distractions around us that can prevent us from doing the required work normally.
What is virtual work?
The only difference between virtual work and the common way of working in an office is that the virtual employee performs his or her duties from another location, be it at home or elsewhere.
For this reason, every employee must have a stable internet connection and access to the company’s intern platforms or intranets to be able to work productively outside of the office. Communication is also fundamental for a good work performance.
The most common virtual jobs are those related to language training, translations, call centers, marketing or virtual administration.
How does it affect the company?
There are quite a few benefits to having certain staff members working from home:
First of all, productivity increases considerably because of simple things such as avoiding travelling, which saves time and prevents setbacks such as traffic or adverse weather. Furthermore, employees become even more comfortable with their work than in the office as they are in an environment where they feel at ease.
Secondly, working virtually means a significant reduction of costs for the company by not having to set up large offices to host employees. Also, since no specific location is needed, workers can be recruited from the markets that are most interesting, in the sense of that, if a company wants to develop its market for example in Latin America, it will be able to have Latin American workers without a barrier to enter.
Of course, there are also risks at the same time, such as problems with the internet connection, lack of control over employees and possible distractions, as mentioned above. Fortunately, these problems can be solved easily since technical failures with the internet connection are not the fault of the employee and occur in the office as well. For the other difficulties, it is a matter of establishing adequate work processes from home, which allow you to optimize this alternative. To this end, employees can be provided with the necessary tools to work from home.
What steps should the company follow?
- Empower employees to be virtually responsible.
- Build trust between managers and employees.
- Achieve results through the time management approach.
From the moment the company decides to implement virtual work, leaving behind face-to-face work, it must take into account that most of its employees must get used to this new situation at first and it is a step that can be taken with greater security and confidence with proper training and, of course, with the implementation of certain software and connections. Personal relations are a very important factor, so we must take into account that communication and trust between managers and employees is essential.
The first step corresponds to the training of employees in the new forms of virtual organization, since there is a wide variety of tools to carry out this task, such as: Trello, Google Calendar, Microsoft Office online or Dropbox, and many more. It is necessary to teach and demonstrate that virtual tools have the same operation as traditional ones, for example: Before we marked the weekly objectives on the blackboard in the corridor of the office, now we do the same using Trello cards.
As mentioned earlier, to achieve a good working environment, it is necessary to establish trust between managers and employees, even more in the case of virtual work. These relations are strengthened by the constant exchange of information between both parties and by assertive communication.
Finally, it should be remembered that time management is linked to obtaining results. Therefore, we must manage and teach how to spend the working day from home in the best way to achieve our goals.
Accompany your employees in the process of time planning, for example by introducing management tools (such as Trello or Jira) and using them jointly. A proven way to do this is to create a board for each project and share it with all participants. The respective tasks should be provided with the current status (e.g. “To do”, “Done” or “Problem to solve”), the responsible team members and the planned deadline. This way everyone is always up to date, knows the tasks of the colleagues and duplicate work is avoided, which is often a problem in virtual work.
The company should never lose sight of the welfare of its employees. Encouraging employees to keep regular working hours and to separate their working and private lives will lead to greater satisfaction, both personally and professionally. As a result, not only productivity but also the image of the company is improved.
What steps should the employee follow?
- Choose a separate room for working only.
- Inform your friends and family about your working hours.
- Mute your private phone.
Of course, as in every contract there are two parties and not everything depends on the company. On the employee’s part there must be professionalism. In addition to this, there are certain changes that should be made at home to adapt it to the work needs.
- Choosing a specific location will help you adapt to the job. The ideal is to choose a room or to set up a specific space just for working where you have a desk, enough space, good ventilation and where you feel comfortable and motivated to carry out the task.
- Establish a work schedule and communicate it to friends and family, just as they don’t disturb you at the office, they shouldn’t disturb your work now. Dressing the way you would dress to go to the office is also a very good option, since it will help you to wake up and realize that the day is starting, focusing on the next activity you are going to do: work.
- Take breaks from time to time. One option is to keep the same breaks as in the office: Lunch and coffee break. It is important that breaks do not last longer than necessary and are not repeated in short periods of time, otherwise your performance will decline.
- Avoid distractions. Some options are to mute the private phone, deactivate connections to streaming platforms (Netflix, HBO…) and ban social networks on the computer. All these activities can be done in your free time and breaks. You should also avoid multitasking, as you are working, and forget about other household tasks: you can do them before or afterwards.
- Think of activities to do after the workday is over and remember when to finish the job. Keeping a schedule despite being at home will help concentration and efficiency in work-related tasks.
By finding the right balance between work and leisure, you will be more motivated and at the same time more satisfied.
And don’t worry, you’ll see that working from home is perfectly possible without procrastination! Try to implement these tips step by step in your daily work routine and you will certainly quickly notice an increase in personal well-being and your productivity at the same time.
What support does DL offer?
As mentioned above, it is the company’s responsibility to provide its employees with the necessary tools to carry out their work properly. One of these tools is a training oriented to reinforce the soft skills most needed for this new way of working such as professionalism, responsibility, concentration and virtual organization.
At Digital Latam, an agency specialized in digital learning and training for companies, we have all the tools and skilled professionals to help you train your employees so that they can perform the same activities from home without having to be personally in the office.
Because of the great benefits of an adapted and interactive training, in our agency we defend the learning from a practical point of view where the employees, now learners, feel at all times part of the process and participate actively in its adaptation with utilities such as explanatory videos, real situations in movies and a learning platform showing the progress, adapt the level of difficulty and even give feedback through chat.
Do not hesitate to contact us and we will solve all doubts you have in implementing virtual work, we will support you and work together until you achieve your goals.