With the current world-wide situation regarding the Covid-19 virus necessitating many people to either start or exclusively work from home for the first time in their careers, the traditional 9-5 working day is constantly being rewritten and re-evaluated by companies being forced to change the way their staff work.
Due to the current crisis, many companies are now being forced to update their working practices for the first time in generations or risk going out of business and potentially contributing to the spread of the virus to vulnerable parties. With the changing of these traditional working attitudes, companies all over the world are having to find new ways to adapt in order to remain active, relevant and accommodating to workers affected by the current situation
Why have some companies resisted the working from home movement?
Before the Covid-19 outbreak, it was estimated that 70% of people worldwide work remotely at least once per week. Even before the virus forced a fundamental shift in working patterns, statistics have shown that working from home has been gaining in popularity all over the world due to the increase in high speed internet and changing demands and expectations of a younger workforce to have a better work/life balance. However many old school companies have been resistant to change and have clung to the traditional 9-5 model due to lack of trust in staff, poor infrastructure and the inability or desire to evolve. In the UK the TUC estimates that around 4 million UK workers would like to be given the chance to work from home at least some time during the week, but have never been given the opportunity.
It is not just the improved work/life balance that attracts many workers to the idea of working from home. Nearly 10% of commuters spend 90 minutes or more travelling each way to get to work, with “extreme commuters” now hitting 2 million in the UK. The environmental impact of having millions of people travelling such great distances for work (that we are now seeing can largely be done from home) is another major factor in the desire to commute less for many workers.
While it may be an extreme example given the overall quarantine guidelines enacted during the early stages of the outbreak, the Nitrogen dioxide levels from China dropped massively during the lockdown period of February and March, showing what can be done to limit climate change and improve air quality just by eliminating the commute to a job.
What can we learn from WordPress bloggers?
A big share of WordPress users are those who use the platform for blogging. For this army of WordPress users very little will change during this time, but there are valuable lessons about how to successfully remote working we can learn from our blogging colleagues.
There are many guides on the best methods and rules to follow when working from home. As we discussed in our previous blog, there are several basic rules you can follow during your enforced ‘work from home’ period if you hope to achieve the same kind of work ethic as a successful WordPress blogger.
- A designated work space
While you may not be able to dedicate an entire room to your new ‘home office’, there are still things you can do to help create a more work-like environment. Sitting in front of the TV on your laptop isn’t going to result in much work getting done, so if you are working from a dining table or the desk in your bedroom, make sure that it is free from clutter, obvious distractions and you have enough room to work comfortably.
- Plan your work day
If you make a list in the morning of what jobs you want to get done and by when, it can help keep you motivated and give you clear goals and targets for the day ahead. Working to a pre-set plan can help create the traditional ‘deadline’ mindset that can help improve your output and performance.
- Limit your hours
While working from home can save hours everyday as you no longer need to commute, it might be tempting to put those hours towards your work instead, This can result in someone potentially facing burn-out from working too long and not taking enough breaks.
- Remember to exercise
From getting up in the morning, to sitting at your desk: The whole process could take less than 10 steps. Sitting at your computer all day in the comfort of your own home could potentially cause you to neglect the need to get up, move around and step away from the screen for a break. By spending too much time at your computer, you can risk eye strain, repetitive stress injuries and fatigue. By taking regular breaks and exercising, you can re-energise your mind, re-focus your concentration and increase your productivity.
- Limit distractions
With smartphones, the internet and streaming services, there is literally an unending amount of content and services to distract you when you are trying to work. As WordPress bloggers know only too well, it is necessary to limit these distractions if you ever want to get anything done. The easiest way to do this is by making sure your new home working area is free of these distractions. While it may not be possible to remove every attention g rabbing app or website, you can still limit their impact on your focus. For example, try setting your mobile phone to silent so you are not distracted every time you have a notification
While we do not know how many weeks, months or even years the current situation will continue for, we do know that when it comes to remote working, WordPress bloggers around the world have shown that we can still have a rich and fulfilling work life environment. By following the above steps when setting up your home office and work environment, it is important to remember that it is going to take a fair bit of time, effort and focus in order to establish what does and doesn’t work for you personally.