3 tips for working from home during COVID-19. These are three best practices for organizations with employees working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

This is just the beginning of the work from home world if employees have any say in the matter.

Seventy percent of full-time employees are working from home during COVID-19 and 75 percent of them say they’re equally or more productive now than they were at the office, according to research by Owl Labs.

Nearly 80 percent of employees agree having the option to work from home after the pandemic is over would make them happier, so much so that 1 in 2 workers wouldn’t return to jobs that don’t offer some form of remote work. After 2020, 80 percent of employees expect to work from home at least 3 times a week. 

But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a learning curve adjusting to a remote work landscape. Employees have struggled with taking time off when working from home, some workers feel inundated with daily meetings and some have had trouble finding work-life balance when they’re both in the same space. 

3 Tips for Working From Home During COVID-19

Here are our top three tips for organizations working from home (WFH) during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond:

WFH Tip #1: Build a Flexible Routine

Working from home inevitably requires employees to adopt a new routine. They no longer wake up, prep to leave the home and commute to work. While they’re glad to be saving 40 minutes of daily commuting they are missing out on that time to get into the working mindset. 

For the 25 percent of employees who told Recognize Services Inc that motivating themselves was one of the top challenges of working from home, building a flexible routine can help. 

It’s tempting to wake up just a few minutes before logging into work, especially for employees who consider themselves night owls, but it’s important they give themselves time to wake up, have coffee, jog, eat breakfast, journal, do yoga, listen to some music or anything else that helps them ease into the day. 

Breaks are also an essential part of the workday and much easier to enforce in a physical workplace. A survey by OnePoll on behalf of Freshly found that 60 percent of workers felt guilty taking any type of break, including lunch, when working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Employers should be clear about how breaks work when employees are working from home and emphatically encourage them to take them. Regular breaks not only help reduce the risk of burnout they help keep employees engaged and productive, benefitting job satisfaction and retention. 

WFH Tip #2: Stay Connected with Coworkers and Establish Remote Meeting Etiquette

Employers have leaned on virtual meetings to keep the team connected and on task when working from home, but employees are tired of having their days loaded with them. 

Eighty percent of employees agree that there should be one day a week with no meetings at all, according to Owl Labs. Another 74 percent agreed that their organization should have ‘core hours’ meaning that there are four hours a day where employees are available to colleagues and then they work on their own schedule for the rest of the time.

Whether it’s restricting meetings on a certain day or during certain hours, it’d be helpful for employees if meetings were less frequent and more meaningful so they can get back to the task at hand.

WFH Tip #3: Prioritize Work-Life Balance When Working From Home

Employees have found themselves working more and taking less time off when working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The average workweek increased by nearly 40 percent during COVID-19, with workers clocking in an additional 15 hours per week, according to research by NordVPN. Another survey by Monster found that despite 69 percent of employees experiencing symptoms of burnout, 59 percent of employees took less time off than they normally would and 42 percent didn’t plan to take any time off to decompress when working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The survey by OnePoll on behalf of Freshly found that 65 percent of employees feel exhausted by the end of the day because they have the demands of work and a family under the same roof. 

Employees who want to continue working remotely need to prioritize work-life balance. It’s exceptionally difficult when kids are home for virtual learning, but there are a few ways employees can strike a balance between their work life and home life, even if they share the same space. Setting a firm time to stop working whenever possible and turning off work notifications if employees aren’t on call is a great way to start creating some boundaries, along with building in those breaks we mentioned earlier in this post. 

Employers can help employees prioritize work-life balance by encouraging them to make use of their time off and asking them if there are any challenges they can help them with. Maybe parents are struggling to make meetings scheduled during a time they need to switch their kids to a new assignment or it’d make a big difference if they could log on and off an hour earlier so they could spend more time making dinner with their family. Those are two relatively simple yet meaningful accommodations employers could take into consideration to help employees make the most of their time at and away from work.

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