The Coronavirus has changed the workplace, maybe forever. Working From Home (WFH) may no longer be a luxury or option, it may be a requirement. In this series we explore the implications and how to thrive in the new reality.
Not long ago people were not allowed to work at home. When Marissa Mayer was CEO at Yahoo! she forbade the practice. Other organizations followed and told people they can no longer work from home. Best Buy and others declared that people need to get their face in the place and the feet under the seat in the sea of cubes.
The Coronavirus will change all of that. The unintended consequence of the deadly virus could create a tsunami of change in the workplace. People are figuring it out – how to be productive at home and organizations are learning that showing up is not a skill. Attendance need not be taken, it’s the results that matter.
The debate about working at home is over. No matter the gender, demographic, geographic or children status. No matter be you a slacker or a workaholic. Working from home is the new workplace reality. Get over it.
While working from home is the new reality, there are two good reasons why it makes sense for the organizations to ask people to show up from time to time. First, sometimes it’s just good to count noses and answer the question, “How many employees do we have?” It’s like bringing the herd down from winter grazing.
Secondly, having people show up sometimes is an effective way to create the home base. Sometimes you just need a place to go to feel inspired and wanted where like-minded people are being productive. The home base allows leaders to lead and team interaction that can sometimes only be built through contact.
In many ways, working from home can help your career and create the virtual workplace we long for. Here are some tips on how…
Six Ways Working from Home Can Help Your Career
- Virtual Meetings. When everyone calls in to staff meetings instead of either some showing up or some calling in, people are equal and will pay more attention to comments. It is no longer the case where the person on the phone is on mute and not expected to speak. Everyone is on the phone and participation can make you a star. The playing field for conference calls is now level.
- Big Ideas. Working from home should allow time for quiet concentration and creativity. Emphasis on “should”. One just needs to find a place with no TV, radio, photos, kids toys or distractions. If that place doesn’t exist, it is time to find bigger headphones. Take inspiration from Isaac Newton who made big discoveries on the nature of motion and gravity while working from home during the Plague of 1665.
- Creativity. In the office, lots of websites are blocked. At home, the world is opened and some of those forbidden sites can be a source of inspiration and reference. Just stay away from the pornography.
- No commute. Money will be saved on gas, tolls and car wear and tear. Cleaning bills will go down too by not eating in the car and spilling. It’s like giving yourself a raise. Plus, since you are not taking office space or using electricity, the company saves money. But the biggest factor that will change your life is the time saved by not commuting.
- No politics. Since there are no office politics or office gossip at home, you can rise above all the factors that waste time at work and be that much more productive. OK, there will still be politics but they are easier to avoid outside of the office.
- Performance reviews can be made easier. No doubt, everyone will be asked to write their own review since no one is around the office that much. Now is the time to keep track of all those contributions throughout the WFH time and lay it on thick later. Others are probably not keeping track of your WFH performance.
Ok, the saw cuts both ways when it comes to working from home. There are lots of good reasons to show up at work too but sometimes there is no choice. WFH allows for flexibility, allows for less wasted time for commuting, and requires self-motivation. New tech tools allow for collaboration, creativity and being a part of the larger enterprise even while remote.
And don’t be fooled. Although you may be working from home, someone is still taking attendance. Missing calls or on-line meetings will be noted.
Communication and collaboration are important and the key to success. Working side by side can happen today whether you are in the office or not. The virus and the requirements it demands is the new dawn for working from home. I, for one, am watching with excitement.
How is working from home changing your workplace?