What is the future of work?
Think back to how you were working in December 2019. How long was your commute? How often did you work from home? Were you with the same company?
Almost two years after the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic, the workplace has continued to evolve. Here’s how to stay ahead of the curve, develop and support your employees, and continue to grow your business.
Do we need an office for being productive at work or we could be as productive in our homes?
Since the pandemic, companies have had to leave their workplaces in favor of working from home. Employees have had to transform their houses into work offices and adapt them to a remote and flexible timetable. The digitalization of workplaces, which seemed like a long-time coming trend, is now a reality.
For developing teleworking’s full potential, it is most important to change the business culture into a digital-friendly one. It is also necessary to adapt the tasks carried out in each occupation to the most suitable digital way to perform them. Companies have discovered the value of maintaining connections on the screen and the importance of well-explained tasks. Communication is always the key. Besides, creating a strong routine allows professionals to have enough time for work and leisure, or else they may end up responding to emails at midnight.
How Long Will Remote Work Last
The Pros to Remote Work
Some reports, such as the CaixaBank Research briefing, showed that productivity has risen between 1.4-6.2% since teleworking was established.
Before COVID-19 lockdown, productivity usually increased by 0.3% per year, so there is a meaningful difference in this field.
The same study demonstrates that working from home increases employees’ concentration and uplifts the company’s savings. It is well known that teleworking contributes to family reconciliation and it is a solution to maintain a good balance between work and personal life.
The Robert Walters report ‘The Future of Work after Covid-19’ has found similar results.
76% of professionals are satisfied with their transition to teleworking. More than 47% acknowledge having achieved better results since working under this modality and at least 34% of businesses plan to expand staff due to technology integration.
The World Economic Forum report predicts that the pace of technology adoption will not decrease, and it will be accelerated in some areas. Following the established trend developed in previous years, cloud computing, big data, and e-commerce are now priorities for business leaders.
The Cons of Remote Work
Other reports depict the adverse effects of working remotely. The Knowledge Engineering Institute (IIC) study shows that 57% of workers believe that they are working more hours than before to maintain the same results and at least 23% of them feel stressed, tired, or weak, and tend to be in low spirits. Apathy is another possible negative effect of teleworking during confinement.
In some cases, teleworking full-time for the first time plus a lockdown situation of isolating from co-workers, friends, and family could cause an emotional storm. When our routines are disrupted by an external force, we can feel anxiety, stress, and strain. Those feelings can lead to depression, mental issues, and a loss of productivity.
The “Great Resignation” of 2021 is a painful reminder for workers and employees that work-life balance and connection to co-workers are important and delicate. Over 4.3 million Americans resigned from their jobs in 2021, citing stress, compensation, and boundaries as their top concerns.
Working remotely can cause people to feel isolated or in a struggle with their emotions. It is important to be aware of significant changes in your mood and how you can manage them. Remember that mental health is important.
How to Improve Remote Worker Wellbeing
Some tips that could make you improve your well-being during these tough times are:
- Have a regular schedule: Encourage employees to retain a routine. Routines are essential to help you and your employees not waste time and helps foster work-life balance. Make sure that you do not forget to include periodic breaks.
- Establish healthy boundaries: Do not try to do it all at once, and don’t expect your employees to do it all at once either. Reorganize your tasks every morning and make sure they are all achievable.
- Stay connected with family and friends: Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Having occasional chats with your loved ones will help you to recharge.
- Exercise and stay active: Get up and move around your room-office. Try to walk, stretch, or jump to control your blood pressure.
- Get fresh air: As far as possible, go outside for a brief walk and enjoy fresh air but avoiding crowded places.
- Limit media consumption: Avoid continuous exposure to news or social media that may trigger or elevate anxiety, stress, or panic. Only follow information from authoritative and reliable sources.
Taking care of your mental health and well-being is in your hands. It is easier than it seems.
How Can We Maintain Worker Engagement?
Teleworking carries a higher investment and use of technologies. When face-to-face meetings become impossible, a new digital solution for work emerges with video collaboration. New collaborative and video conferencing tools remove barriers within and between organizations. Some companies consider the future of working from home as attractive but lack equipment that allows them to motivate employees to work and ensure their commitment.
To be successful in telework, it is necessary to keep employees motivated. Video calls provide an effective communication mechanism when working remotely, but it is not enough to ensure all employee’s commitment nor engagement.
MoodMe has created a new product for the “next normal”. Vimotions™ helps people running happier video meetings. Vimotions is a software that analyzes the emotions and attention of participants of video call and provides reports with attention score, speaking distribution, participants’ engagement, and emotional score. Vimotions is being tested in pilots by education institutions such as Georgia State University and Université de Mons as well as by consulting companies such as Human Organizations, a Spanish executive coaching company, and Luxembourg-based Pétillances. Gathering insights on employee engagement could raise awareness of mental health issues and prevent stress, burn-out, or depression.
While we cannot avoid the circumstances that have led us to these changes, it is clear that many people expect to spend most of their working life away from the office even long after the pandemic has passed: humanity has made a permanent change of habits and we need to develop new tools to ensure this transition is a happy one.
Special thanks to Guest Writer & Journalist, Silvia Bermejo, Social Media Manager @ MoodMe.