Challenges of working from home during the coronavirus pandemic and what employers can do to help employees feel less stressed and be more productive.
Many employers are pushing back timelines for employees to return to the workplace as the number of new cases of COVID-19 surges in the U.S.
Working from home is the best way to keep employees who have the capability to do so safe. But it doesn’t come without its challenges.
Employees working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic grapple with distractions, the blurred line between work/home and they also have trouble maintaining a routine, according to research by JDP.
Employers can limit each of these drains on productivity and job satisfaction to lower the risk of burnout and keep the team connected while employees continue to work from home.
Challenges of Working From Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Here are the top challenges employees struggle with when working from home and what employers can do to help lessen their impact:
- 54 percent of employees have more distractions at home
- 40 percent of employees find it hard to focus on work at home
- 15 percent of employees find it hard to focus on work with everything going on in the world
Employers can help employees limit distractions while working from home by being upfront about them. Discuss how typical distractions like pets, children and technology can pull from their focus and what they can do about it.
For example, employees with kids might set up a work station in a guest room rather than at a busy kitchen table or at a corner in a loud living room. Workers with pets could start taking a long walk with the dog before work so it isn’t as energetic and distracting later. Employees who are anxious about everything going on in the world could try turning off news notifications during work hours.
Every employee deals with varying distractions but prompting them to identify what pulls from their focus and helping them find ways to work around or work with it can make a big difference.
Lacking a Routine and Work-Life Balance
- 66 percent of employees are more likely to work nights and weekends when working from home
- 49 percent of employees found it hard to keep boundaries between work and home life
- 28 percent of employees are starting and finishing work later when working from home
Establishing a healthy routine and setting strong boundaries between work life and home life is critical to successfully working from home. It’s important for employees to have a set schedule when working from home but it’s also complicated because one of the major perks of remote work is having some flexibility over how and when they get their work done. Employees should aim to work on the same days for the same amount of time each week but remain flexible and communicate with employers if that schedule needs to be adjusted slightly for things like childcare, medical appointments or other responsibilities.
The Future of Working From Home
More than 80 percent of employers plan to permit employees to work from home on a part or full-time basis even after the coronavirus pandemic and over 40 percent of employers plan to provide more flex days and flex hours to improve the employee experience.
“As business leaders plan and execute the reopening of their workplaces, they are evaluating more permanent remote working arrangements as a way to meet employee expectations and to build more resilient business operations,” says Elisabeth Joyce, vice president of advisory in the Gartner HR practice.
The trend towards flexible work arrangements isn’t slowing down. If anything, it’s gaining speed and employers who consider how remote work and increased flexibility fit into their organization and how they can meet the challenges of managing a more complex, hybrid workforce position themselves for success.