Over the last year and a half, remote working has been the buzzword for organizations and government agencies worldwide. What was initially an unwanted change for many has become something requested and even negotiated for. As more and more professionals attempt to make their work-from-home status permanent, we need to take a look at the lessons learned from our abrupt shift to a remote workspace.
In June of 2021, CraftJack.com set out to understand the experiences, attitudes and consequences of this shift by surveying 1,520 American who have been working from home during the pandemic. What they found is that many workers are still getting set up, learning how to function from home and are overall not having the greatest experience.
While that may seem crazy, it’s more common than you think. In fact, as I write this article, I am sitting in my brand new home office — the first of my work-from-home career.
Throughout this survey, respondent data contributed to the following statistics:
When the world was thrust into working remotely, only a handful of individuals were prepared for working from home. Apartment rentals or home purchases were made without an office in mind, and up until the pandemic this was never an issue. Without a spare bedroom or quiet nook in the house, many workers were left scrambling to accommodate a houseful of people working on top of each other.
This is the biggest reason many people have made-do by working from their beds (65%), couches (68%), kitchens (51%) and even their closets (19%).
What you can do about it: Make sure you’ve asked your team what additional materials they need to make their work-from-home situation smooth. Maybe they could use a second monitor, or they need a stipend to cover increased Internet usage.
With children in online school and significant others also working from home, it's no wonder that 37% of respondents shared that they work in the same room as another person. In fact, ”69% say they are regularly disrupted by the other person’s noise.”
In addition, over two-thirds of people have had their pets (43%), children (37%) and partners (34%) interrupt their video calls during work hours. As CraftJack.com found out, many respondents tried to combat this issue by finding quieter, more isolating places to take calls — like their bedrooms and closets.
What you can do about it: Make sure you promote a culture of acceptance in work-from-home life. “While some of your team members might have thrived by moving their office space into their homes, others may have had a more difficult time adapting to the change,” wrote Willow Becker. Things happen — and that’s ok.
Through the quick paced change to remote work came the need for a way to collaborate with your colleagues in a safe and easy manner. Enter video calls — Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, etc. But with thousands of workers improvising their workspaces at home while sharing the space with family and pets, finding a quiet and non-distracting location to take calls became difficult.
What you can do about it: Give your team the opportunity to choose which time of the day works best for them for video calls. Many workers have difficulty keeping up once children or spouses come home from work and school.
With the average amount spent on home workspace upgrades during the pandemic coming in at $282, It’s no wonder many workers are negotiating the ability to work from home full or part of the time. Some employers and organizations have tried to combat this by offering home office stipends to workers during the pandemic.
What you can do: If your organization is mandating work-from-home, consider offering a small stipend or providing office supplies to help cover workspace costs. If your organization has decided to stay virtual full-time, maybe dispersing supplies from the office could help.
As more and more employees begin negotiating the ability to work from home or on a hybrid basis, the likelihood that these statistics remain is low. As we move forward, be prepared for a new, hybrid approach to work, where your staff might spend some time at home during the week and some time in the office.
Ashley Neal joined the Sidecar team as Community Coordinator in March of 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down life as we knew it. Having to adapt, overcome and predict the changes needed to survive in the new normal, Ashley now has the skills needed to juggle any obstacle thrown her way. A soon-to-be graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University in the field of Strategic Communications, Ashley spends her days balancing her work and education with her love of dogs. Taking her three dogs — Scooby, Pipsqueak and Moose — to restaurants, hiking trails, vacations and even participating in dog shows and sports is the highlight of her weekends.
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