After leaving the classical 9:00-to-17:00 (and extra) multinational work environment, my “living-room-as-a-work-place” played a very important role for the last 12 years of my life. Challenge by challenge, work-from-home has become of intrinsic nature to me, being more and more successfully combined with local or abroad work meetings in the client’s office or other suitable spaces, as well as with the creative and team work at the new partner’s headquarters.
However, although glimpsed, I have never dared to fully vision the scenario in which to carry out my entire work 100% from home. And not by myself, but at the same time with my wife and … with our four children, who have been honouring, accompanying and enriching my last 12 years life experience!
Productivity in Numbers
One of the most important things to mention when talking about the online work-from-home is that it is rather an option for the so-called “white-collars” employee categories.
A PWC Romania barometer tells us that 75% of companies say that employees remained just as productive after moving to work from home. The reason: increased time allocated to work. The Wisemetry Research* study concludes that 37% of the respondents who have experienced both office and work-from-home say that they work more, as allotted time, when working from home, because (1) more activities occur spontaneously, (2) they want to show that they can work efficiently or (3) stop working for household chores. 35% say they have not noticed a pattern or work as much in both situations, and the fewest, 28%, think they work more from the office.
Among the important study’s quantitative conclusions:
- Main reasons for an extended work schedule from home are: spontaneous several activities to be solved – 47%; willingness to prove that they can work efficiently, or even more efficiently, at home – 42%; preference of not being interrupted in their work / concentration pace – 38%; interruptions due to family members or household activities – 30%.
- Among those who are interrupted from work tasks to deal with domestic activities 78% are women (whom are more likely to work more when at home) and only 22% are men.
- 31% of employees consider that they have more frequent anxiety states when working-from-home, compared to 25% who feel more anxious when working from the office.
- Over 50% of respondents communicate better with the team when working from the office, while more than a third believe that they lose control over what others in the team do when home working.
Solutions for Work-form-Home
One of the key processes in our personal and professional development is the “Mindset Change – Key Competencies Development – Specific Behaviours Achievements” triplet. A process applicable to any life challenge, very necessary to develop resilience as a courage key skill in order to cope with change as individual or organisation.
Within the above-mentioned process, the quoted study concludes that: “Compared to work office, online home working encourages creative thinking, but for some employees it can maintain anxiety and make communication between colleagues more difficult. More than a third of respondents believe that they are more creative when working from home, while a quarter appreciate that office work helps them to be more creative. In addition, working from home also seems to encourage the adoption of healthy lifestyles, such as eating lunch and among the online work advantages we can also list flexibility, people can adjust their work schedule to their own needs and personal responsibilities / circumstances, while such personalisation can increase the satisfaction felt at work. The social exchange theory says that an employee more satisfied with his job will work more efficiently and will voluntarily put more effort to demonstrate utility. The fact that 42% strive to demonstrate that they also work efficiently from home is an indicator that people want to continue to benefit from this flexibility – mixed work regime. But supplementing the time allocated to work should be an alarm signal for HR departments, which would must closely monitor the well-being of employees during this period and organise online team building sessions to maintain team cohesion.”
Statistically, people nowadays work harder from home, while most believe that office work facilitates communication between colleagues. As we gain experience, this “harder work” should transform into “more efficient” and “more balanced”, if it is accepted and supported at individual, organizational and social levels.
The development of new ways of online working is both in the accelerated research phase, as well as in a full ascent implementation and development phases, from the online streaming platforms to High Performance Learning Journeys platforms for increasing individual and professional performance.
Like any aspect of our human life, the online work-from-home has its mix and shades of colours: it can increase the level of job satisfaction, but at the same time people may face feelings of alienation in the absence of physical interaction with others and difficulties in separating personal life from the professional one. Each of us whom, at individual and group level, effectively manage the Mindset Change – Key Competencies Development – Specific Behaviours Achievement process, is finally able to overcome this current critical period and come out of it strengthened and encouraged. And those of us who fail, need to persevere while accepting others’ direct support, because we are all together in this game called life!
My personal experience within the above statistic positions me in the slot of people who feels that work-from-home or work-from-office belongs to the same movie. However, I am cheating a bit here, as my work-from-home experience was already trained before the pandemics. The novelty for me came from having all our children 100% of their time at home. But with creativity and a lot of communication, acceptance and mutual support we are reasonably managing most of the time, most of the situations.
* Note: The Wisemetry Research study was conducted online on a sample of 1,000 respondents, on the Romanian market. Of these, 592 are active in the work field and have experienced both office work and online work / work from home. The sample is representative for the internet user population in terms of distribution by sex, age groups and geographical regions, and the maximum sampling error is +/- 3.1%.
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