When considering offering work-from-home opportunities to workers, many companies cite concerns about the likelihood that there are far too many distractions at home and that workers will thus be less productive. However, a recent survey by CartridgePeople.com suggests that employees who work from home have approximately three distractions per day, versus a whopping 10 per day for the average office dweller.
HR Grapevine suggests that “office workspaces can often be a labyrinth of distractions,” with workers routinely drawn off task by engaging in small-talk with coworkers as they shuffle between meetings, grab a quick coffee or simply set off to retrieve something from the printer.
For work-from-home folks, distractions include partners – or, as the recent viral video of Professor Robert Kelly would suggest, children! – as well as cold-calling throughout the day. Still, there are still steps that companies can take to help address these challenges and ensure that your remote workers are as happy and productive as possible.
One of the biggest challenges for remote workers is that of not being able to pop out of their cubicle, ask a quick question and get a quick answer. Instead, these workers often have their questions answered through long chain e-mails or riveting games of phone tag. However, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which uses computer technology to simulate a real life environment, is making it increasingly easier for workers even in different states to have those valuable face-to-face interactions.
Keeping up with the plans:
Staying organized and creating a process that works in order to meet deadlines are both integral components of the work-from-home environment. However, a third aspect that cannot be overlooked is that of being able to communicate your work flow. Since remote employees often operate with little oversight – or input – from line managers, it is imperative that these employees also have the skills necessary to be able to update coworkers and clients about progress on work pipelines and their associated deadlines.
Keep the travel bug at bay:
Without being office-based, many remote workers take on far more travel than their desk-bound peers. However, companies should be aware that too much travel can leave employees – regardless of their home base – feeling unsettled, as well as impact their personal life and even their health. With that in mind, companies should be sure to build in non-travel days for these employees, just like they would for office-based employees.
Let’s be friends:
It may seem silly, but having friends at work has been identified in multiple studies as being directly tied to employee happiness, which we known in turn impacts work quality and even an employees’ likelihood to stay in the job. Ilma Nausedaite, CMO at MailerLite, suggests that companies organize team-building days that allow employees to interact, blow off steam and even forge a greater connection with their company.
Let them be human:
Whatever the work environment, distractions of one kind or another are somewhat inevitable. However, companies can help minimize the effects of these distractions by teaching employees about time management, including how to carve out time for work and time for rest and relaxation in order to maintain an optimal work-life balance.