Before the Covid-19 pandemic, an estimated 1.7 million UK professionals were working from home. When Boris closed offices and advised Remote Working across the nation, it didn’t pose much of a change for those people and you almost heard a chorus of ‘we’ve got this’ from the virtual workforce. But then schools closed, and a new challenge presented itself in the form of balancing home working with home schooling for the working parents among us.
Those without the distraction of children at home began to discover some of the major benefits of working from the comfort of their own homes. Many were even surprised at the level of productivity.
Offices can be distracting
Whilst being in the office fosters relationships and reassurance, elements of office culture can be distracting. The average employee wastes 60 hours a month in UK offices, in non-work-related activities such as chit-chat, mobile phone use and cigarette breaks. Whilst a bit of banter is good for morale, it can easily creep up and detract from what you’re there to do.
Meetings can also be a distraction if there are too many of them, making it harder to get going. Distractions like this ultimately slow down your workflow, often meaning late nights in the office which can lead to a feeling of resentment.
I’m certainly not suggesting that working from home solves all these issues. Remote Working comes with its own set of issues and distractions, none greater than having to simultaneously home school kids. But the Covid lockdown has been an exceptionally unusual time for us all and if we take away those added complications, we are left with some positives and one of those is productivity.
The positives of working from home
Having run my business from home for many years, I am no stranger to the compulsion to pause work to go do a few chores around the house. It happens, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. There is absolutely no harm in balancing work life and home life to keep on top everything, as long as the work gets done. It’s about time management and everyone likes to manage their time differently. Some prefer to work in short bursts, whereas others might like to start early and finish early. Some may prefer working at night when children are in bed.
Having a sense of control over your time is the key to getting the best out of your productivity levels. Of course not all businesses will be flexible in allowing you to choose your hours, requiring you to be available during normal working hours, but it’s always worth asking the question. If both productivity and a happy work/life balance can be achieved, then everyone is a winner.
As we emerge from lockdown and life begins to slowly return to normal, we are going to see more and more businesses continue to operate virtually. Aside productivity, there are many other benefits including those to costs and the environment. The biggest concern is connectivity, but we have more than proved we can embrace to virtualisation. If Covid-19 taught us one thing, it’s that we can adapt well in order to survive.