Will Home Remain the New Office? A Discussion Based on COVID-19 Remote Working Stats

Whether home will be the new office remains a controversial topic because many would like to believe that we shall resume our previous habits post-pandemic.

And nothing’s wrong with that perspective, but it’s also okay to accept that some habits will stick naturally—more so the ones we find beneficial.

It’s also true that Coronavirus has contributed to the status quo and the notion that the remote office is the future of the workplace.

Nevertheless, if organizations find it feasible and teams embrace working remotely, then why not? But speculation is mere hearsay if not backed by something as tangible as statistics.

In light of that, let’s trace back the history of remote working pre-corona to date to determine whether or not virtual offices will be the new normal.

How Many Employees Worked Remotely Pre-pandemic?

Drawing facts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest National Compensation survey, Pew Research Center found only 7 percent of US employees enjoyed a telework or “flexible workplace” benefit.

The remote working situation pre-COVID was similar in Europe, where most nations had only up to 10 percent of staff working from home. Only a few countries had more employees—say around 20 percent—operating remotely as in Denmark (21 %), Netherlands (21%), and Sweden (18%).

Again, trends reveal that most employees who operated remotely pre-crisis were executives, white-collar experts, and top-paid professionals. In a nutshell, working from home was a luxury left for top-level employees.

Lending more credence to the idea that remote work was preferred even before the global health crisis are these stats by Gallup lifted from a Jan 2020 poll.

The researcher found 54% of office workers were willing to resign their job for another that allows them to work from home.

What does that mean?

In a few words, it means working remotely was sorted for its advantages, even pre-pandemic, but Coronavirus came and fueled its adoption.

 How Many Workers Operate Remotely amid Corona?

Since shelter-in-place restrictions went into effect, millions of workers worldwide have resorted to working remotely. But just how many are operating remotely due to the COVID pandemic?

According to stats from several separate researchers, nearly 2/3 of US citizens are working indoors because of the ongoing world health crisis.

  1. In a Gallup survey, 62 percent of employed US citizens admitted to operating remotely amid Coronavirus restrictions.
  1. Another study dabbed the COVID-19 Business Indexby SHRM shows 64% of US workers are tackling their workplace duties remotely amid a crisis.

What does that mean?

An entire 2/3 of America’s workforce turned to remote working thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. But will this trend stick, or are these steps temporary?

Will we resume our offices post-corona?

 How Many Employees Will Keep Working Remotely Post-COVID?

Speculations differ as to what will happen post-pandemic. But naturally, some will resume their offices while some may want to retain the virtual approach.

As hinted by a Gallup survey, more than half (54 percent) of employees are willing to resign from their job for a post that allows them to serve remotely.

So what would this group of remote-office freaks prefer post-corona?

  1. A Gallup poll shows 3 in 5 (around 59 percent of American employees who’ve been operating remotely amid COVID would like to continue working virtually once pandemic restrictions ease. Forty-one percent would rather go back to their offices.
  1. In Australia, 2 in 5 people are positive working remotely will be the new normal even after Corona, according to a LinkedIn poll.
  1. Another study by ResumeLab found that 99 percent of employees would like to serve some of the time remotely in their entire career.
  1. A poll by getAbstract found that 43% of America’s full-time employees would like to operate from home most of the time, after Corona. The lack of commuting, more productivity, and extra flexibility was cited as the primary benefits.

It now goes without mentioning that many more workers want to operate from home, even post corona.

But to see this come true, organizations and employers must strive to come to terms with their employees’ new norms. And that won’t be as difficult as you may imagine; according to a recent Gartner poll, 74 percent of firms expect some of their staff to keep working from home post-pandemic.

What does that mean?

Undoubtedly, over half of America’s employed workforce wants to maintain remote operations even after Corona has ceased, and it’s okay to resume offices.

The Verdict

Necessity is the mother of invention and innovation. As workers keep demanding a free remote office approach, employees will be pushed to develop workflows that welcome a virtual strategy.

 Working Remotely from Home: Tips to Create the Perfect Work Environment

For many millennials, working from home is a dream but not everybody has the discipline it takes to accomplish office tasks without supervision.

A home environment comes with different challenges because you must strive to maintain focus amid lots of distractions.

An office environment gets you ready for work. You walk in, and everyone is on a ‘get down to business’ mood.

At home, you must create this mood even with loose cannons like your noisy daughter or stubborn dog.

 The Pros and Challenges of Working from Home

First, using a computer means a lot of diverted attention, especially if you’re tempted to log in to your social media pages, and notifications are sounding by the second.

YouTube and Netflix are other sites that may cost you lots of hours. And because no one is supervising, an entire day may go unutilized, and slowly, projects begin to run late.

Your TV screens may also be airing some comedy, and everyone else is cracking their ribs, so you keep stealing a glance instead of focusing on your work.

And the challenges can go on and on depending on your unique situation. So how can we succeed in working at home? Well, it all begins in the mind.

Unless you set aside office time and stick to it, then other distractions can always be saved for break times.

On the positive end, virtual teams allow you to hire anyone all over the globe, so long as you can communicate and understand each other.

Having remote workers in various nations increases the probability of meeting an incredibly experienced individual.

It also enables you to improve your CX through extended service or assistance hours. Employees can easily and comfortably work in shifts when using virtual teams than when in a workplace.

If your business is multi-national, virtual teams can come in handy when you want to deliver maximally to all countries.

You can use it to your advantage by employing people who know the native language of that specific region, their culture, vulnerabilities, motivations, and dislikes.

Such information can be very useful when making important decisions about the well-being of the company and what to deliver to your customers.

How to Ensure Your Remote Team Adheres to Deadlines

Staff often find themselves rushing to finish tasks as the time limit draws near. When objectives are not met within the set timeline, then there are bound to be repercussions.  It is inherently clear that missing project deadlines can lead to a loss of confidence by clients and even a loss of funds.

As a project manager, timely completion of projects is essential to ensure that the end objectives are attained. In a perfect world, things should run and end as per the schedule. However, some issues may lead to the occurrence of delays that lead to missing the deadline.

 Why Staff Miss Deadlines

The reasons for untimely project completion may vary depending on the situation. Nonetheless, there are four common reasons as to why many project teams fail to complete activities within the time limit. They include:

  1.  Substandard time management

Time is an essential resource within a project. It is often said that time is money. Whoever said that was very much correct. How time is utilized within a project ultimately defines the outcome, be it positive or negative.

  1.  Insufficiency of responsibility

When time limits are set, there is a need for someone to be accountable for the activities that should be done. In most cases, most of the staff are aware of deadlines but lack the sense of responsibility to act on them. This lack of accountability may affect the time used to complete tasks.

  1.  Lack of proper planning

Failure to plan is planning to fail, it is that simple. Many problems arise when there is no clearly defined plan to show what must be done within a time limit. When there is no proper management in projects, activities run uncontrolled, and deadlines are rarely.

  1.  Lack of appropriate communication

For project deadlines to be met, there must be proper communication between the administration and the staff. There also needs to be adequate collaboration between staff members.

When there is inadequate and inappropriate communication, it will be hard to beat project deadlines. Certain people may be overwhelmed with work, whereas some other people are free, but there is no communication.

 Ways to Ensure Timely Project Completion

Proper management of projects is needed to ensure that all tasks are finished within the set time limits. Here are the best ways of ensuring staff work efficiently and complete assignments before project deadlines.

  1.  Create a time management schedule

Time wastage should never occur within a project. Having a time management tool ensures that all staff is allocated and reallocated activities depending on their workload. This ensures that no one is overworked or underworked, ensuring the maximum efficiency of the work done.

  1.  Assign each task to a group of personnel

In every task, ensure there are people in charge of it. They will ensure that they push the rest of the staff to act on the task. This will make sure that work is completed on time and ensure proper management. The use of project management tools allows administrators to assign tasks and monitor the progress made.

  1.  Do early and proper planning

During the planning stage, there should be time-specific limits set on when activities should be completed. A modern approach is determining the time limits for individual tasks and using it to determine the overall time limit for the project. This is known as a bottom-up technique.

  1.  Prepare a proper communication channel

Communication needs to be done early and efficiently to ensure project deadlines are met. There should be a single management system of communication that ensures all relevant information reached the staff on time. This way, reminders of deadlines reach the personnel on time, and corrective action can be done.

When it comes to meeting the timely completion of projects, the first and essential step is ensuring the staff stays focused and motivated to work on tasks. This ensures all activities are concluded on time and that the project is successful. Missing deadlines is one of the worst things that can happen within the project.

8 Tips to Increase Productivity in Your Remote Office

Global Workplace Analytics’ study indicates that many workers (about 79%) wish to work remotely while others 36%would prefer it as an additional job.

Employees want to work from home for many reasons. It’s not only for the comfort of working from home, some individuals are not good with crowds and the nagging in most working environments.

Most staff complain of unconducive working environments and difficult workmates in their places of work, some of the reasons some people opt for virtual teams.

Even though this approach is unfavorable to some individuals (who select the wrong candidate or fail to follow best practices), its pros are pleasing and may outweigh the disadvantage by far.

These tips can help remote workers develop an office mentality at home.

  1.  Set the Mood

Mindset is everything when working remotely from home, so you should wake up to things that get you in the mood to work.

While some of us would skip the early morning shower to create more time, others need that shower to start their day on an active note.

It is important to get your mind ready for work. Practicing relaxation techniques like reading, yoga, taking a cup of coffee, or meditation can help you ease into your day’s list of tasks.

But nurturing the office mindset should eat up your valuable time. Save enough hours for work because you don’t want to start working late and go past office hours.

  1.  Set aside a Workplace

The idea behind a home office is to distinguish your job from your domestic life. You get ready to work as soon as you enter the room or space you’ve set aside as your remote office.

A home workspace allows you to organize your office duties because you have everything you need on top of your table or inside its drawers. This kind of efficiency minimizes movement and maximizes productivity.

Make it known that you are not to be disturbed anytime you enter your workspace—these passive family rules will help you maintain a quiet and healthy working environment.

Lastly, keep your workplace tidy and clean. A messed-up workplace can slow you down because you are always looking for the things you need. Allow only what you need on top of your table; every other thing should be kept in drawers or shelves.

  1.  Plan everything

Draft a schedule and stick to it. Spare time for everything so you don’t stop in the middle of tasks to attend to other duties. If you’re working remotely from home, your schedule must include time for:

  • Office calls
  • Projects hours
  • Break times
  • Time to go through emails.
  • Time for home activities.

Lastly, on time management, prepare for tomorrow’s tasks overnight. Wake up to a list of pre-planned duties. Don’t spend an entire hour of your office time planning what to do.

  1.  Understand your Weaknesses and Distracters

What distracts you most? What are some things that eat up most of your valuable time? Well, if you can identify these and avoid them, then you can get more productive.

Track time to identify your time-wasters and improve on the areas where you are spending too much time. You can depend on the many time tracking tools, block distracting social media notifications, and disable phone notifications for a start.

Be strict on break times. Do not take too short or too long breaks. An excellent idea is to take many short breaks instead of one long break.

If you can sit for 45 minutes and then relax for ten minutes, you can always get revitalized enough to focus another ¾ of an hour.

Short continuous breaks re-energize the mind and ensure you maintain good speed throughout your workday.

  1. Stock healthy food

It is important to be eating healthy even as you work from home. Depending on junk foods that fill your stomach and get you lazy can take a toll on your overall productivity.

Eat healthful high-energy meals that can sustain you for hours as you accomplish your office tasks.

When shopping for food, think about the entire week because you want to minimize movement and work more without compromising your well-being.

  1.  Shun meetings & Calls

These are two time-eaters that can swallow your entire day if you’re working remotely from home. Stay away from calls when you need to concentrate. Accomplish most of your communication via other interaction points like email.

You can always update your stakeholders through other means and leave calls for situations that need verbal communication.

If possible, turn off your phone when you need total silence. If you must call, plan the agenda upfront so that the session is short and meaningful.

  1.  Use Ergonomic Furniture

If you are going to stay productive and healthy throughout, then you must be very careful. Whether you are a home worker or go to an office, it is important to work in an ergonomic station.

Your back and other body parts must get enough support if you will work all day long and do some overtime. The appropriate furniture improves comfort and boosts productivity.

Here are the qualities of ergonomic furniture.

  • Supports the lumbar.
  • They are adjustable. Go for height- and angle-adjustable seats for extra comfort.
  • Includes an armrest for better comfort
  • Include user-friendly material like cushioning or mesh.

Sit-stand furniture is also an excellent way to go. These sets of furniture allow you to alternate between sitting and standing when working from home.

Studies show that shifting positions reduces the negative health effects linked to long hours of sitting.

  1.  Don’t Kill Your Social Life

Nobody said working remotely from home meant being a couch potato and an introvert.

Do not seclude yourself from others just because you’ve brought your office at home. It all comes down to planning again, spare time to interact with others through social media, going out, and meeting friends.

You also want to make the most use of your break times. Use this time to link up with other remote workers and compare experiences.

Final words

Whether home will be the new office remains a controversial topic because many would like to believe that we shall resume our previous habits post-pandemic.

Still, the coronavirus has led to more virtual offices than ever. In all likelihood, we may see an increase in the number of remote workers moving forward.

Necessity is the mother of invention and innovation. As workers keep demanding a free remote office approach, employees will be pushed to develop workflows that welcome a virtual strategy.

These tips can help you be a productive home worker. Refer to this guide every time you find yourself lagging in your home office duties.