How Working from Home Can Work for You

Companies around the world are asking employees to work from home as a means of prioritising the health and safety of both their workforce and families. It has become the new norm for the foreseeable future and with it, brings about many factors to adapt to. While remote working may once have been a privilege, it has now undoubtedly become a necessity       

Many employers and employees tasked with working from home are suddenly faced with various hurdles to overcome. The unfamiliarity surrounding the shift in structure, routine and communication methods within this new environment will require for the unfamiliar to be suitably adapted to best fit effective working from home. Adopting such changes is pertinent for the success of the company as a whole.

From an employers perspective, time and productivity management as well as maintaining an executive presence should be at the forefront of managing remote teams. Regardless of the motivation, I am a firm believer in that working from home is a mindset. It can and will work, provided you adopt a headspace that allows you to. Remembering to avoid an ‘always on’ mindset- a mindset where it is harder to switch off which results in working longer hours- is an example of an effective working from home method.

This current situation also serves as an important reminder of how working from home can actually be more beneficial than working on-site or across staggered work set-ups.  With everyone in the same boat, so to speak, it can make it easier for a group to carry out group tasks where all participants are mindful of the circumstances under which the work is being conducted. People become conscious of the changes needed to undertake effective communication styles. The absence of face-to-face communication and overall inability to read body language mean that communication methods such as Zoom, emails or instant messaging, can be conducted even more efficiently once respect is factored in.  

I regularly join very effective conference calls where there are 30 plus individuals dialed in across several time zones and multiple countries, many of whom do not have English as a first language.  Participants pace their speech, choose words and take turns speaking.  This can be a challenge under normal circumstances when some people are in the same room and others are on the phone line but can be an advantage when everyone is in the same boat.

Structurally and communication-wise, it is more effective to have everyone dial in than it is to have some dial in and others as a group in a room. Lines get blurred, the remote people are often not given the opportunity to contribute when a larger group are together and ultimately, it can end up being as effective as required. When all participants are remote-working everyone is cognisant, more equal, more likely to select words wisely and be conscious of their communication etiquette.

Working from home and dialing in individually can open the floor for people to contribute in a measured and helpful way, allowing for time to be better -spent and expectations and priorities remaining transparent and easily understood.

Working from home can and will work, provided you apply it to a  headspace, routine and construct that works best for you.

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Dermot Byrne

Dermot Byrne