The technology to allow employees to work from home has been with us for some time, but a preference for the office has kept the option at bay.
Not so much anymore, as COVID-19 realties are compelling employers to not only consider remote work, but also to develop strategies and utilize resources, like quality home office furniture, to ensure the remote work solution works now and tomorrow.
There’s no doubt that working remotely is on the upswing, with data from Statistics Canada not only revealing how many Canadians are working from home, but also expectations for working remotely post-pandemic. According to the survey, almost 75% of Canadian businesses expect that more of their employees will continue to work from home when COVID-19 is brought under control. Information and cultural industries could see as many as 47% of employees working from home, while professional, scientific and technical services sectors may see 44.5%.
Before the pandemic, reasons for why employers preferred the office included:
- Brand and culture: Having employees work from a central location helped companies develop corporate brand and culture.
- Collaboration, creativity, engagement: Working in close quarters offered opportunities for employees to interact about projects, from chats at the water cooler to more formal meetings.
- Communications: Face-to-face interactions can be effective for question-and-answer formats, and for a certain amount of spontaneity.
- A focused work environment: It’s easy to see how some employees can be more focused working in an office environment, rather from home where distractions may be harder to ignore.
How to Bridge the Gap Between Remote and Office Workplaces
It appears obvious, from data as well as observation, that a work-from-home option will be increasingly prevalent once the pandemic passes. The task for employers will be to mimic as much as possible the positives of the office. They will need:
- Communications and collaboration: Protocols and processes will need to be established to ensure teams are able to interact efficiently and effectively. Tools to accomplish this include audio visual technology to allow teams to meet virtually, share information quickly, schedule meetings, and provide immediate updates.
- Structure: Be it from home or the office, maintaining similar hours is important to preserve structure and commonality. So, if the office day runs from 9 am to 5 pm, the home office should follow that timeline. It will be difficult to stay connected if people are working at different hours.
- Stay focused: Remember, you are on the job even when working from home, and results will be expected.
- Be social: A benefit to working from the office is the social opportunities. One way to duplicate this in a home environment is to schedule ‘social times’ when workers can catch up with each other.
- Wellbeing: When working from home, remember to stay active. Gyms may be closed, but you can always go for walks, etc. Also, just because an employee is working from home, company wellness efforts shouldn’t go missing. Establish protocols whereby human resources can ‘check in’ with home-based employees.
Home Office Furniture Helps Remote Workers Mimic the Feel of the Office
It’s also important for remote workers to establish a work environment that mimics the office in terms of furniture. Ergonomically designed home office furniture will provide the same benefits as furniture deployed in an office setting. Here are some options:
- Leap: Leap is Steelcase’s best-selling, ergonomic office chair featuring patented technology in the seat and back proven to increase productivity. Its back moves as your back moves, and its arms move as your arms move.
- Gesture: Designed for the way we work today, Gesture is the first chair to support a greater range of technologies, postures and user sizes.
- Amia: Amia is a hardworking, versatile ergonomic office chair that adds an element of sophistication to any space.
- Campfire Footrest: Designed as a place to put your feet up, prop the backs of the legs or encourage a shift in weight while standing, it’s a small product with a big impact.
- Ology Height Adjustable Desk: Ology makes it easy to change work-surface height and posture, and it’s convenient, intuitive controls encourage more health-conscious behaviours.
- Active Lift Riser: With a compact two-tier design and a simple one-touch lock-and-lift mechanism, Steelcase Active Lift Riser makes it easy to transition between sitting and standing throughout the day.
- Desk Lamp – Dash: With two pivot points on the Dash light, it is infinitely flexible to provide light right where you need it. It is rated to 50,000 hours of life and has a replaceable head.
It seems clear that working from home is a growing trend that will outlive the pandemic. Contact the experts at POI today for advice on how to make it a meaningful experience for employees and employers alike.