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    The 2020 Pandemic brought about many changes to our world. Masks, social distancing and in turn, a changed workforce culture. Working from home, or WFH, has been the norm this past year with more and more companies converting to a WFH model. A survey by Owl labs found that during COVID-19, around 70% of workers have been working from home. After COVID-19, 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least one day per week and 80% expected to work at least three days from home per week. So WFH has become the “new normal.”

     

    Everyone is Happy

    Statistics are showing that this shift from office to WFH has made workers happy. According to Owl Labs State of Work report, job satisfaction and retention rates have increased due to remote working. People who work remote are more than 13% more likely to stay with their current role for five years compared to workers who are onsite. It also states that 55% of remote workers say they would look elsewhere if the remote work option was taken away. This makes sense given the average workers saves about 40 mins a day commuting (hello lower carbon footprint) and, on average, people are saving $479.20 per month in expenses. Some employers are happy too. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that employers can save over $11,000 dollars per year per employee. These savings are due to lower cost of office space, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and less turnover. Speaking of productivity,  survey by ConnectSolutions states that workers have increased their productivity by 77% since WFH. Could WFH be a win/win for all?

     

    Technology is Key

    Technology is helping businesses work more efficiently and globally. New technologies and co-working spaces are making remote work more accessible. With the development of platforms such as Zoom and Skype, communication has been streamlined. Employers can track productivity with the use of collaboration platforms such as Trello and Slack, so working from home has become easier and more cost effective. People are working from the mountains, the beach, out of state and on the road. It’s never been easier to telecommute than it is now.

    Although technologies make it possible to work and be productive from virtually anywhere, there have been more than 2600 state legislative and employment developments since March of 2020 related to COVID-19, telecommuting, worker compensation, leave policies and procedures, state tax and many more. Employers should be aware of legal risks, fines and penalties if they’re out of compliance if employees are working for an extended time from a location other than their home address. See our related webinar about remote work and employee engagement.

     

    Work-Life Balance

    With this change in work habit, can come challenges as well. Lack of a work-life balance can have a negative impact on your health and wellness. With WFH being the “new normal,” it is important to prioritize your work and set aside enough time and energy to focus on your personal life. With increased productivity and without office distractions, it can be easy to forget to take lunch or other breaks you would have done in the office setting. In fact, a poll by Robert Half found that 68% of employees say they work on weekends and 45% regularly put in more than eight hours a day. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy work-life balance while working from home:

    1. Work space – make sure your workspace isn’t sitting on your bed or kitchen table, but a place that is designated only for work. A desk in a separate room would be ideal, but if you do not have that option, finding a space in your place free from distraction that you can all your “work space” would be ideal.

    2. Leave your work space – make sure to take small breaks here and there. Go outside and walk the dog, or take a stroll to grab some coffee or food. Getting away from the work space periodically can help you to break up the time and increase productivity. Also, once you are done working for the day – leave your work space.

    3. Form a routine – it can be helpful to form a daily routine. Now that you are not commuting and going to the office, still make the time to do your daily morning routine. Whether it’s a workout, coffee on the porch, a hearty breakfast, or watching morning news, take the time to make a routine that you can follow easily before you sit at your desk. You may find this helps you to be more productive and set the tone for your work day.

    4. Unplug after leaving work space – Once you are done for the day, avoid checking email, Slack, Zoom, etc. For some, this is hard! But doing this can greatly help you obtain a great work-life balance.

    It seems WFH is here to stay. With the right routine, technology and balance, it can be a beneficial experience for both employers and workers.

     

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