Whether temporary due to extraordinary circumstances like the current coronavirus pandemic or part of a regular routine, employees working from home can benefit from collaborative office solutions to make the remote experience productive, efficient, and rewarding.

As with any goal-oriented system, successful collaborative office solutions require protocols and resources to ensure the work gets done while keeping the remote workers part of the overall team. Handled properly, there’s no reason why working from home can’t go smoothly.

Let’s start with the positives:

  • Working remotely helps companies and employees adhere to social-distancing measures. These are enacted to halt the spread of COVID-19, as well as other viruses (ie. seasonal flu), that may target larger groups of people, such as employees in an office environment.
  • It allows the employee a more relaxed workday, enjoying the comforts of home while getting the job done. And let’s not forget about all the commuting time and cost that’s saved.
  • Schools are closed and the kids are home. Working remotely means spending more time with the family, as long as the work still gets done. After all, it’s not a vacation, but you are around the family nonetheless.
  • If remote work continues, it can help an employer reduce or reuse office space for other priorities, perhaps even moving into a smaller environment as homes become satellite offices.
  • And when you are working from home, the coffee pot is never that far away, and lunch is a lot less expensive when you make it yourself than going out to a cafe or restaurant.
  • Working from home may offer contentment and happiness benefits, and that may translate to increased productivity, creativity, and employee contentment. It may also assist in employee recruitment and retention efforts.

Challenges of Working From Home Can be Handled by Resources and Protocols

That’s the upside, and, as you might expect, working from home can also present challenges, including:

  • It may be difficult for some employees to get motivated if they are working from home, experiencing a sense of isolation that may impede productivity.
  • Boredom driven by lack of human interaction found in offices can also be a challenge. In extreme cases, it can lead to issues such as depression and a sense of being disconnected.
  • If not structured properly, a work-from-home regime can be unproductive, leading to tasks not getting done and poor communication channels.
  • Collaboration and team effort can also be negatively impacted.

Collaborative Office Solutions to Make Remote Work Successful and Rewarding

Luckily, there are solutions to all these concerns, mitigating them while enhancing the benefits. The tools for a successful remote experience are available, including resources and work processes. Here’s a look at some collaborative office solutions to ensure working from home is efficient and effective. If you have staff working from home, advise them to:

  • Have a structured day, and get to work at a regular time that corresponds with a work schedule. Start the day at the same time as you would in an office environment. Structure will ease a sense of isolation by providing a focus on the work at hand.
  • Act like you are going into the office, with the expectation that tasks still needs to be done. Be transparent. If you are going to be away from your computer, make sure the team knows.
  • Pick a dedicated work space and make it your own, rather than sitting on the couch with a laptop on your lap.
  • Try to avoid getting distracted and stay focused on the tasks at hand. Have a schedule for the work that needs to get done.
  • Make sure your home office is equipped with the necessary collaboration and communication resources, such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and the ability to share documents, transfer files, etc. It’s essential that each part of a team, whether based in the home or office, stay in touch with each other to maintain relationships, measure progress, and complete team tasks.

For some people, working from home is a regular practice, while for others it’s a result of situations like the coronavirus crisis. Whatever the case may be, the experts at POI can help employers and employees make it a rewarding and productive experience. Contact us for more information about collaborative office solutions.