Working from home is also known as remote work, long-distance work or telework and has been known since the internet was associated with telecommunications. It began in the 2000s when the Internet and other wireless communications were introduced.
As this type of communication took hold, many companies began to consider whether we really need employees in the office and whether they can work from anywhere. Well-known companies that were early adopters of remote working, such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and many of the leading tech companies, have recognized the potential and integrated it into their corporate culture. Today, when reading the job offers in Switzerland, you can see from the advertised jobs that omeoffice has also established itself here.
In general, benefits and challenges have emerged for both employees and employers. In the following they want to summarize from the point of view of the employees.
Pros: Working from home office
flexibility and freedom
Many value their independence when working from home. They can schedule their days to be compatible with both their work and personal lives as long as they complete the required tasks on time. The fact that they don’t have to obtain special permission or blend in with the rest of the team also reduces stress. When an employer gives employees such a level of autonomy, it fosters trust and increases job satisfaction.
In the fast-paced world we live in, time is a precious commodity and there never seems to be enough of it. Workers can use their time more effectively when working remotely, which is another benefit of telecommuting. Working from home not only saves travel time, but also gossip at work, delays and time spent in the café.
When a business is “open” is also a matter of timing. It can be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week if it employs staff around the world.
Another benefit of teleworking is that employees can work from anywhere. One is not forced to live in a city that does not meet one’s needs or preferences, reducing unnecessary travel. Remote work helps spouses keep their jobs, or at least reduce the transition time when a spouse is tied to a specific location. Remote work allows you to work from anywhere, be it on top of a mountain or by the sea. You can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have a good internet connection.
Commuting to work can be expensive. Travel expenses, premises, lunch, coffee, cake, birthday cakes, gifts for colleagues, work clothes… the list goes on and on. Some companies even provide allowances for refreshments or clothing. Working from home saves you money on these costs, which can add up quickly. That means you have more cash to spend on other things, and that’s always a good thing.
Noise and distraction are commonplace in typical offices. The phones are ringing and people are talking loudly. While this is fantastic for socializing, working in this environment can be challenging. Some people need absolute silence to focus. Especially when working from home you can think more creatively and be more productive. There is something wonderful about silence, whether you have a beautiful view out of the window or see a brick wall.
you are not alone
It used to be thought that remote work was only for freelancers and the self-employed. But that is no longer the case. Since the recent Covid-19 outbreak, working from home has increased dramatically and the benefits of teleworking for employers have become apparent. This means that working from home is no longer synonymous with sitting on the couch all day doing nothing productive. Today’s telecommuters are making careers and are being recognized as tomorrow’s workers.
happiness and good health
Commuting every day and working in an office isn’t the best way to spend your time. Remote workers have the benefit of not having to interact with other people (which is especially important given Covid-19) and not getting sick.
A relaxed atmosphere
One of the advantages of working remotely is that you can design your own workspace. If you’re messy, you don’t have to complain about your co-workers’ complaints. You can also focus on your own space if you’re the clutter freak in the office.
Many people are more creative when they are in their own environment. When you work from home as a telecommuter or freelancer, you can put your desk where you want, close the door when you want, and listen to music when it helps you get your ideas across.
Free personalization of your workplace and furniture
If you have your own workspace at home, you can customize it. You set it up and hang as many photos as you like.
Working from home enables a better work-life balance. Working from home gives you more control over your life because you have more time to organize your work and personal commitments. This gives employees a sense of fulfillment and makes them more productive:
- No need to rush to catch a train or get stuck in traffic.
- You can leave your files and laptop at home.
- You can rest whenever you want.
- There is no tense politics in the workplace.
- You have more time with your family.
Challenges of working remotely
Working on a virtual team can present unique challenges that team members who work remotely, whether in a different office or at home, do not have to face. There are no managers or other team members sitting nearby to consult with them or give them immediate answers or support. There is also no one looking over your shoulder and making sure you focus on your tasks and get them done.
Separation of work and private life
One of the challenges of working from home is the compatibility of work and private life. You are usually free to organize your working hours freely, which makes it easier for you to meet other demands on your time. Plus, you don’t have to waste time and money on commuting.
However, if there isn’t a fixed 9am to 5pm schedule, it can be difficult to find the right balance. Often either too few hours are completed and many, on the contrary, do too much overtime. It’s important to set boundaries. The trick is to stay productive, minimize distractions, and reduce the chances of overwork and burnout.
For many, establishing a specific workspace is key to separating work and personal life. Your workspace should have a clear physical boundary, and your work should take place within that space. It should be a work area that cannot be affected by disturbances. If you don’t have a suitable area available in the home office, choose a suitable external location where you can avoid distractions.
Working in a coffee shop might seem tempting, but a library is probably a better choice. In any case, you should keep in mind that working remotely almost always requires an internet connection. Virtual work in a public place often requires a VPN or similarly secure connection.
Lack of personal contact
In the home office, all virtual team members face the challenge of dealing with the lack of everyday face-to-face collaboration and the team spirit that goes with it. Working remotely, even in an otherwise busy office, can be isolating.
lack of movement
When you are in the home office, you spend most of the time in front of your computer. And that’s not always an advantage. Your body can suffer a lot in the long run. If you don’t exercise, you gain weight, your bones and muscles weaken, and your immune system isn’t as good at fighting disease. Unhealthy sleeping habits can also be a problem. As your health deteriorates, your work efficiency also decreases.
To work too much
Although remote working gives you the flexibility to work at different times and on different days, some people spend far more time doing things during the day than is necessary. Lack of sleep, fatigue and a loss of personal time are just some of the negative consequences.
Work overload prevents people from concentrating on the most important areas of their work, which leads to a significant drop in productivity.
Many employees who work in the field like to use the technology and make use of it. You also have to accept the technology in the home office. This not only applies to the hardware, such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone, but also to the various tools that are available for these devices, such as apps, software and so on.
Working from home can mean you’re on your own, which is far from the typical office environment. This can be disconcerting for workers, especially extroverts who enjoy working with others and rely on others to be more productive. Also, the jobs are often done by one person and the workload might be heavier than usual. And finally, the never-ending virtual meetings without human contact can add to the stress.
Solutions to the biggest challenges of working from home
Allocated office space helps with all jobs
In order to avoid interruptions in the home office, having your own place of work is crucial. Setting up a home office is a multi-step process that we can help you with:
Set up a dedicated workspace in a quiet corner of the house, but not your sofa – we know how tempting that is, but it’s a trap.
Organize and declutter your PC. It’s time to clean up your computer if you can describe it as a messy workspace or a browser with more than 15 tabs open. Anyone for digital minimalism?
Bring items from the office to create a work environment similar to where you normally work.
When you’re not working for the company, you shouldn’t be using your home office; it should only be used for work-related tasks.
Healthy work-life balance
Encourage your employees to take vacations as it is one of the best ways to promote work-life balance. Give your workaholics a little nudge as they tend to forget themselves – only 22% of remote workers took three weeks off in 2020, while the majority took even less.
Encourage your employees to enter their working hours on the calendars, but not to be too active outside of these times, even if it is a minor task, to avoid difficulties related to overwork. This allows workers to take care of themselves and rest when needed.
Another suggestion is that your staff take the time to talk to other practitioners. Local networking events and conferences also bring people together in one place.
The good news is that conferences are also accessible online and can be attended virtually. If your away teams are feeling isolated, encourage them to seek out other people in your neighborhood or family members who are dealing with similar issues.
Everyone looks forward to the holidays. And what better way to bring people together and raise spirits than throwing a virtual party? Halloween is the best time to dress creatively and cooking together for internet turkey dinner or a Christmas party would make everyone happy.
Remote team members can find inspiration in a variety of ways. This includes any activity that brings you joy. Get up a few minutes earlier in the morning and do a short yoga session. Before starting work, pour yourself a cup of coffee and prepare breakfast.
Everyone loves when their achievements are recognized, whether at work or off – it acts as a powerful motivator and increases employee satisfaction, especially during difficult times. Set KPIs and think about how to motivate your employees to achieve them. Incentives, gift certificates or professional development advice in the right direction are always welcome.
While launching a social intranet is beneficial for communication and getting to know employees, your team will also need robust collaboration tools. Even when employees are remote, communication must be maintained, which can be difficult if they lack the necessary collaboration tools.
Project Management Tools
Project management tools like Google Workspace make team collaboration safe and effortless. With Google’s cloud-based productivity apps, everyone can collaborate on projects and presentations, or store and share files on Drive. In addition, many companies choose Google’s intranet software, which integrates perfectly with Google Workspace to enable smooth collaboration. No access to the internet? Google productivity tools also allow offline editing – no problem.