As the country and globe scramble to fight the spread of COVID-19, a large majority of working Americans have been forced into a new normal. One that Time says has become the world’s largest work-from-home experiment. It’s a new normal that requires every facet of our work lives to be streamlined as we are essentially confined to our homes. We’ve built a guide with some of the best tips and tools available to make the now work, for now.
The Upside of Remote Work
The work-from-home argument before coronavirus: commutes, housing shortages, pollution
Allowing people to work closer to home—whether at a coffee shop, in a co-working space, or on a couch—could be a win for work-life balance, for happiness, and for the biosphere.
The idea is that geographically spread out members of an organization bring a level of diversity to culture that isn't easily achieved otherwise. Each worker brings a different set of perspectives and blind spots when they live and work in different places.
Additionally, eliminating grueling commutes alleviates stress and is better for the overall health of the environment. In one study, Swedish researchers found that couples that have at least one partner commuting longer than 45 minutes per day experience rates of divorce 40% higher than those with shorter commutes.
The Concerns with Remote Work
Loneliness, lack of creativity fueled by human-to-human collaboration
Managers are concerned with the lack of face-to-face supervision, workers are concerned with the lack of access to information. Social isolation and loneliness are a concern with a sudden call for remote work. Both are concerned with distractions that come with working from home.
Managers will have to get better at judging productivity by setting and monitoring specific goals rather than using the proxy of office attendance.
Making Remote Work for Your Organization
While close to a quarter of the U.S. workforce already works from home at least part of the time, the new policies leave many employees—and their managers—working out of the office and separated from each other for the first time. Support employees by tailoring practices to individual needs of each employee–not every worker will fall into the same work-from-home situation and blanket policies may not be effective.
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