It is the beginning of the day. As usual, I start the day by preparing breakfast and getting ready for work. But this time, I sit down on my desk and start communicating with my coworkers to establish the tasks due today. This is what millions of people are experiencing in this time of pandemic. Some of them were already used to it. And as the Spark podcast, hosted by Nora Young, stated; those people had already a pre-pandemic way of working.
In this podcast, there are key topics about working online and the repercussions to other workers on different sectors. From managers facing new real challenges about communication and team performance, to people working on delivery services or retail. Although there are several challenges, there are also some advantages that home office introduces.
There was an interesting argument in the podcast that described that online work maximizes two things. Productivity, because of having more time to work by not having to commute, and by avoiding distractions from other coworkers. And the second thing was that it maximizes free time. It is peculiar but real, by having more productivity, and less waste of time with transportation, there is more free time. This affects in an excellent way to one’s life because the time is used for extra activities like going for a walk, reading, learning new skills, and the list goes on. At the same time, there are more breaks when working from home because no one is watching you, so you can go and get something to eat or stretch for a little bit. This frequently breaks increase productivity too.
Another topic covered by the podcast talked about fun interactions between coworkers to maintain the mood of the office even though everyone is at their home. This problem can be solved by making automated questions for interactions between everyone. I really was interested in this idea and I will implement it with my team. It helps making a conversation and ambience of the chats and video conferences very similar to being in the office.
In the Spark podcast, they talked about what to do to have a great start with this way of working. First, one needs to realize that a lot of people are not ready for it, so patience is key. There must be over-communication at the beginning to organize everyone, and for each day, the communication will start to normalize and stay in a balanced duration. Another important factor when transferring into this way of working is to be in a comfortable space. This is key to have a great productivity because it has been already concluded that people with low comfort in their home office will reduce his or her productivity.
Another great section from the podcast talked about the people who cannot stay at home to work. From delivery services, to retail, this individuals fighting on the front-lines are the ones who are keeping the others fed. Now that all restaurants are closed, there is a lot of work for this other sector. So, new techniques are being made to ensure the safety of the workers, as well as for the clients. Being cautious and clean is a differentiator from this type of services. There must decency and patience for all of the work, because rents and debts are still there.
As a conclusion, I have to things to share. Remember that when this is over, there will be some resistance from both groups. These groups are the ones who think that virtual work is better than on-site, and the other who think the opposite. There are pros and cons as said before, but try to find the best approach to express your argument when debating about it. And last, I recommend to check this other blog post about the biggest remote work challenges. This will help you to continue improving and be a more productive worker.