Why understanding your home workers space helps you to leverage their ‘homeworker’ potential.
Since Lockdown, we have all become familiar with the multi-square view of a virtual meeting. Seeing our colleagues from their chosen angle and collaborating virtually to develop ideas. Sometimes we get to see into their houses and get a snapshot of their surroundings, their interests and decor style. Maybe a visit from a family member or pet appearing out of the virtual backdrop they chose to hide their kitchen.
As we come out of lockdown and move into a ‘new normal’ of flexible work and some employees choosing to stay working from home, as employers, we need to look into the other side of the glass. It’s important to remember that the potential of our team lays in their mental state and how they can thrive in these new conditions.
We took a moment back in February to ask our teams a few questions about their surroundings. February seemed to be the perfect time to do this as it can be the most testing month of the year, mentally, for any workforce. Mental health is a subject that is rightly receiving more attention these days. The lead up to Christmas and the aftermath of it, especially during the fraught Covid situation can leave those who are normally the most positive, feeling down. Weather too can play a big role in your team’s positivity, when months are darker, work seems to take up the lightest hours. So the task of keeping our teams happy is increasingly worrying.
Understanding your staff’s working environment and how full-on home working affects them is step 1. Our teams range from experienced road warriors to young marketers that both work 8 to 10 hours a day from their home workstations.
In an office environment, the furniture and distractions are known but over the webcam, we only get half the picture. So we asked for a photo of how they ‘arrived to work’ in the morning. This is what we received:
As you may expect from a technology company specialising in ‘work from anywhere’ business communications solutions, we made sure to provide the right equipment to help them set up their home office. From their feedback, we understood the elements that ensured efficiency (the absence of which might hold your team back).
Their feedback included: a good chair, noise-cancelling headsets, multiple screens, a stable internet connection and a platform to collaborate: Webex.
Adapting to change
Since 2016, we noticed the shift from scheduled meetings to virtual conferencing. As Uboss has many partners scattered worldwide as well as a whole team dedicated to development in India. Prepping for the virtual workplace isn’t new news to us. However, we understand for those being trust in the ‘new normal’ with only a laptop screen and earbuds, might find this sudden change overwhelming. This is why, as employers, we need to examine the needs of each member of our team.
Individual productivity is based on the way people adapt to change and helping people adapt is half the battle. In the end, the cost of not equipping your staff will be far higher than than the money saved! Your staff will have to:
- Take calls on headsets that are comfortable to wear for hours on end
- Think about their desk positioning (do they need a standing desk?)
- Have a supportive chair that they will spend so many hours in
- Multitask on screens that split their work up while on desktop calls
Understanding the tech tools that work for your team is important too. There are communications tools that split up three areas:
This desk belongs to Iain Sinnot, our Sales & Marketing Director. Utilising a sit/stand desk to protect his back, he has the freedom to take calls standing and even feels more creative when he does. His selfie light helps to keep a stable lighting condition for webinar videos as well as being useful for meetings.
Obviously, it’s up to our staff to sort where in their house they set up all these tools but providing the basic needs is a must. As we look back on those darker months, we knew we had to get creative about the way we energized our team. Being tolerant of an occasional bad mood should be taken into consideration. After all, we often worry about screen time when it comes to our kids, we should give that same care and consideration to our hard-working staff.