I had the opportunity to work from home even before the outbreak of the coronavirus. But I’ve only taken advantage of remote work a few times until now, preferring to go into the office instead. It was my choice. Recently, I’ve started to recognize the benefits of telecommuting.
I’m a people person; I like spending time with colleagues and going out. I also have many rituals that set the tone for my workday: choosing an outfit, chatting with our security guard about his artwork, admiring our rooftop terrace view while sipping black tea, joking with colleagues (especially in stressful situations), or simply sharing chocolate with them.
When suddenly life as we knew it stopped, I was scared of losing all of these little pleasures that made me love my job, and routines that helped me carry on. It was like a part of me had disappeared and I wasn’t sure how I was going to continue.
Remote Work: The Only Safe Continuity
Right now, for a lot of jobs the only way to work is remotely as companies around the world have shut down. We’ve already seen the consequences of those businesses that cannot make the digital transition. It will be difficult to overcome this challenge on so many levels!
Some of us are lucky to be able to continue working while adapting to the new realities. Remote work has become possible for everyone almost instantly, and the benefits of telecommuting for the future of work unveil massive potential. A world with new (digital) possibilities arises, and we have to take advantage of this wisely.
Although I’ve lost the little pleasures of on-site work, I found new ones that only remote work can offer and have instantly overcome every fear related to working from home. It’s been almost two weeks since I started working remotely, and here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- I don’t need to reserve a room before a meeting; now, we just join on Skype, Teams, and other platforms.
- I’m getting to know my colleagues and clients from a new perspective, and this is so rewarding! Somehow, I feel closer to them than ever before. I can actually see them in their intimate space, close to their loved ones—partners, kids, and pets—while sitting in their gardens or kitchens. I can now connect all of the stories I heard previously to real universes, and most importantly, I can be a part of them.
- It’s more difficult to separate personal life from work, but it’s not impossible. We just have to be more disciplined. If you were the type of person who kept your notifications on and checked them after work, you’re probably doing the same now. Try to be stricter with your schedule and regain work-life balance.
- We have more daily calls than before; it’s only natural. Sometimes, I have to see what my colleagues are working on to share my opinion. Calls with video sharing facilitate productivity.
- Research shows that people’s velocity is the same as before, even higher in some cases. Do you know why? Because families are together at home, safe. Our colleagues are motivated to do their job and then spend time with their loved ones. This makes them more focused and productive. Yes, there are distractions. Most of us are sick with worry about the future of our world, the well-being of our extended families, and the economic impact of COVID-19, but overall, we’re responsible adults with a mission.
- We take fewer breaks than we did at the office. Maybe we even work more intensively
If this is the future of work, we may as well adapt faster. What else can we do, anyway? You know the habit theory: it takes time to adjust. Let’s talk after at least 21 days of remote work to see the benefits of working from home for employers, as well.
Let’s Keep Every Communication Channel Open
Tools that enhance communication have been popular for a long time at Pentalog. We use Zoom, Teams, StarLeaf, Skype, Slack, Sococo, and other applications to facilitate work and team communication.
We’re doing even more to help people socialize:
- We created groups where we share funny pictures, jokes, work from home stats, news, and more.
- We play online games with our colleagues after work.
- We organize digital coffee breaks on dedicated channels. The best remedy for loneliness and sadness is to talk to someone.
- We share tips and best practices for working from home efficiently.
- We share activities, tips, and links for replacing activities in large crowds with ones that we can do inside to keep us entertained, healthy, and safe.
Hopefully, the pandemic will be over soon, but I don’t think we’ll ever be the same again. Things have already changed dramatically.
There’s hope, though, in the fact that working from home is entirely possible in some domains. The world goes on, as does business and communication – that’s an encouraging sign for the future.
A digital lifestyle is possible. At the end of this enforced testing period, each one of us will be able to decide which approach suits us best. Most importantly is that a new type of world showed itself faster than we could have ever imagined because a dangerous virus is lurking around. It’s for us to see the benefits of telecommuting for the future of work and beyond.
With every crisis, there’s an opportunity rising, they say.
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.” –John F. Kennedy
Stay safe and remember: there is no place like home… for work!