Remote work is a topic that has attracted a lot of attention, especially as many office workers were unexpectedly thrust into a work-at-home environment due to COVID-19. Working from home was becoming increasingly commonplace even before the pandemic, however.
According to data issued by the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.7 million people were already working remotely in the US before the coronavirus. Additionally, in the last decade, Europe’s remote workforce has grown from 7.7 to 9.8 percent.
Although telecommuting technology has been around for the past couple of decades, it hasn’t really started to take off till the last five years or so. Technological advances in cloud computing and videoconferencing have made it possible for employees to work from home seamlessly.
Videoconferencing software, group calendar software, and resource booking software enable workers to schedule and conduct meetings, complete projects, and collaborate effectively with colleagues anywhere.
Working remotely offers benefits to both employees and employers. Employees get to enjoy increased autonomy and flexibility. And remote work doesn’t just mean working from home. Some remote employees work from coworking spaces or coffee shops.
One of the main benefits of remote work for employees is that it enables them to achieve better work-life balance because they no longer have to spend time commuting to and from work. This frees them up to spend time on other activities in their lives. For example, remote employees could take a quick break during the workday to pick their kids up at school, cook a healthy lunch, or squeeze in a workout.
Being able to successfully juggle work and home life makes employees feel more productive and satisfied. The flip side of the coin is that the blurred division between work life and home life can cause remote employees to work more than they did while in the office, so it’s important for companies to encourage employees to sign off at the end of the day and step away from their work duties to focus on their personal lives.
For employers, the benefits of remote work are also numerous. Hiring remote workers gives companies access to a wider talent pool. They can hire applicants anywhere, which helps to alleviate skill shortages and enables companies to find the best person for the job, as they can hire talented employees regardless of location.
Hiring remote workers also helps companies cut costs because they don’t need as much office space and they don’t have to provide their employees with as much equipment. Additionally, allowing employees to work from home typically results in less absenteeism and improves employee retention.
There are several things you can do to make your work from home setup more productive and pleasant. Having a solid Internet connection is an absolute must if you’re working from home. If you live in a studio or one-bedroom, a single router should be sufficient, but if you live in a larger residence with dead spots, using a wireless mesh system is recommended.
Using virtual backgrounds during videoconferences is a great way to spruce up your virtual meetings. Whether you want to hide your messy house or prevent people in your videoconference from getting distracted by your surroundings, using a virtual background can give you a more professional appearance during your video calls. You can use a virtual background that looks like an office, for example. Sometimes, a fun virtual background could even be an ice breaker and conversation starter.
Even when you’re working at home, it’s important to act as if you’re going into the office. Create a separate workspace in your home where you can work comfortably. Don’t work from your bed or sofa. Create a professional, ergonomic workspace where you can sit up straight and maintain good posture.