A day before the first ever lockdown, I was scrambling for my team to create Line Groups to facilitate communication during the lockdown. Back then, Work From Home arrangement was not even a thought; but, 2 years of pandemic life has shifted the way we work. Looking back, Does WFH Really Work?
Work From Home
The short answer to that question is YES!!! Not only can Companies survive with work from home arrangements but it also opened the world to a lot of opportunities. For one, outsourced labor can now be done on remote setup. Imagine, countries with high-priced labor can now throw in more process on a work from home arrangement without needing to invest in physical infrastructure to lower-rate but high-skilled labor force like the Philippines. In fact, this have been an opportunity for some business and a threat to some business who can’t adopt to a remote setup.
It’s been a long way since we started blind on how to do the work from home arrangement during the start of the first lockdown. So far, we’ve been able to do several board meetings, annual general meeting, management meetings and a lot more from the comfort of our home. First, disclaimer though is that it’s not for everyone since you have to have your front liners in place to do the risky work. With that said, hats off to the messengers, drivers and other front line personnel who can move around to get approvals and transmit documents. Alternatively, there’s the flourishing logistics services that can bridge the gap.
Well, work from home arrangement does create a lot of flexibility on work setups. Remember, the dilemma on whether to cancel work if a typhoon is fast approaching. You can easily switch to a work from home arrangement and save everybody the trouble and risk of calamities.
There’s the thing of creating a work-tourism hub and that’s how some places like Siargao, Baguio, Tagaytay as your work base. Well, that’s now possible now as long as you have a reliable internet service and of course, commitment to be online when the need arises.
It also saves a lot of travel time and can really decongest the city.
How to Make Work From Home Work?
- Trust – Trust is a two-way street. Employers must trust their employees and vice versa. I don’t usually have problems with this one because I’m an output based person and with the chat groups, I’m practically aware of what people are doing during the day. Either way, you just have to trust each other and hold each other accountable.
- Create work chat group – It also helps to have specific line group of each task like one for Accounting, one for HR, another for collection, payables and a lot more. Group help people organize the work for those with related tasks. It also becomes a good monitoring tool for work load and accomplishment.
- Have a strong internet connection – Telcos have been making a killing during the pandemic cause internet is life for work from home arrangement. I’ve remember talking for a presentation for a few minutes only to know that the other party has been receiving garbled messages. Invest in a good internet provider as those with small data allocations can be more expensive if you factor the add ons.
- Be creative – Learn to do things differently, be creative. After all, not everybody was open to a work from home set up until it was needed. Maximize technology and learn to communicate with your counterparts.
- Have video / audio update meetings – Take advantage of Zoom, Google Meet, MS Teams, Skype and others to have regular updates for existing tasks. With a remote set up, you need to communicate more to make sure everybody is on the same page.
- Have a separate area – To improve productivity you have to create a comfortable work environment. Make sure, it’s just the exact level of comfort. Pretty much sure working in bed may not yield you the same result as working in a table. I’m also lucky enough that I’m place is just the right amount of temperature even without air-con.
- Set your work schedule – Pandemic fatigue is real and probably that’s among the first problems with the work from home arrangement. It blurs the line between work, life and rest. Well, you just have to come up with a work schedule and a cut-off. In other words, have a life. You’ll be more productive and focused that way.
- Monitor – Create a to do list and monitor your progress even if it’s not required. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and also helps you focus on more important tasks.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The world of the working has adopted to the pandemic lifestyle. Even post pandemic, I think work from home arrangements is here to stay.
It also becomes an advantage for Companies who adopts to that setup as you get a broader base of talents while getting more flexible in doing your work. Personally, I prefer a mix of WFH and on-site work because it’s less of a routine. But; in cases when you need to stay safe, it’s always good to have a setup when you can do your work on a remote setup.
With technology in place, the future of the workplace is probably geared towards a remote work environment. That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.