Change is hard and forced change with no warning can seem like an infuriating or impossible situation to deal with. Because of COVID-19, employers and employees around the world are being challenged to adapt. While you may have identified all the challenges and problems of transitioning out of centralized workspaces, have you thought about all the positive impact to your employees and your business?
Hi, I’m Kristen. I am the Cloud and Wireless Expense Department Manager for 4TelecomHelp, and half of the voice behind the Cloud Solutions during COVID-19 blog series you have been reading. I wanted to take a step back and talk on a more personal level about the new world we find ourselves in. In the seven years that I have been with 4TelecomHelp, I have been part of the employee base, as well as part of the management team. I have experienced how being able to work from anywhere has been a benefit to me as an employee, me as a manager and to my company.
4TelecomHelp was built around the work from anywhere strategy, long before COVID-19 showed up. 4TelecomHelp’s employees were already setup to work from home, with VoIP phones, VPNs, Web Conferencing, etc., and the necessary routines in place. Because of this, we were prepared when COVID-19 hit and employees across the country, and world, shifted from centralized work to remote.
Speaking as an employee who has worked from home for the better part of the last 10 years, I could spend the next hour telling you all the reasons why I love it and why I’m a better employee for it, but I’ll focus on a few key points.
Commuting. My least favorite part of my day used to be driving to or from work. It was around an hour each way that wasted time for me. I couldn’t really relax because of high volumes of traffic. My mind was still on my work, which I could not do while driving. By the time I got home I needed to take some time to decompress before I could even want to talk with another person. Now that time is spent a variety of ways. Some days I’m at my desk an hour before and after “work hours”, other days I’m getting a head start on dinner. Even if I decide to spend that time working, it never bothers me because it’s a choice.
Work/Life Balance. Over the last few years, I’ve heard more and more companies talk about a need for their employees to find a balance in their lives. When employees work too many hours or take on too many projects, they risk burnout. One of the easiest and least impactful to the work they are doing is letting them work from home.
Work from ANYWHERE. Working from anywhere does not have to mean you are home. Yes, right now while COVID-19 is still growing, home is where I am spending all my time, but eventually we will move past this and have the ability to travel and go out again. When that happens, it opens up the world. If you are a person who works well around people, there are coffee houses or community spaces that you could work from. If your company allows it, you could travel across the country to visit friends or family, work during the day and enjoy their company in the evenings. Just make sure you are upfront with your employer and understand their policies before you set up camp somewhere outside of your home.
Happier Employee. Because I work from home, I eat better. I have more time to cook and can prepare meals instead of bringing a sandwich or picking up fast, easy food. I save money that would have otherwise been spend on gas driving back and forth and as I mentioned, I’m not eating 5 meals a day out. It’s easier for me to exercise. I get sick less often. I can even simply toss a load of wash into the laundry in the morning, throw it into the dryer at lunch and put it away after work. There is a never-ending list of little things that I’m able to do to find balance and ultimately be happier because of this. Imagine not having to dedicate a chunk of your weekend to chores because you were able to balance your time better during the week!
I will just add, in order to really benefit from the freedom of being able to work from anywhere, I’ve had to learn and refine my ability to manage my time and be disciplined. I know what my job is, and what expectations are on me and I know that if I am not living up to those expectations, I will lose my freedom.
It’s not just the employees that benefit. Next week part 2 will dive into the benefits to the company when employees are able to work from anywhere.