It’s a COVID-iversary. Here we are one year after COVID took the world by surprise. It’s safe to say a lot has changed in the last 365 days. To put it bluntly, it’s completely disrupted the way we live including how we work. And rather than returning to normal, we find ourselves juggling between the constantly moving parts – outbreaks, lockdowns, isolations, and changing restrictions. Just when we have it figured out, it changes again in the blink of an eye.
The good news is that disruption creates space for change. Fast change. The pandemic has rapidly accelerated a new era of digital transformation. Technology has focused on enabling productivity and connectedness. Remote was one of the hottest words of 2020 and continues to be. Employees have adjusted to the work-from-home lifestyle and even discovered how to embrace it. Many companies have even abandoned the in-office culture in favour of a digital culture. Let’s look at how we’ve reshaped our world of work.
Remote working drives productivity.
Some love it, some hate it, and some are on the fence. The upside is that 69% of Australians experienced better work life balance. Better balance should lead to elevated happiness – without the pandemic of course. Also the myth that working from home is less productive has been shattered. Even the most unyielding disbelievers are seeing that people can produce great results from home – sometimes even better. In fact, 45% of people who have been working remotely believe their productivity has increased without the constant interruptions. So there’s a big win.
Flexi-work weeks are on the rise.
Now that working environments come in all shapes and sizes, companies are striking a balance between in-office and work from home (WFH) days. Blending time for collaboration and time for independent work production is the foundation for a new model of success. And it has an unexpected spillover effect. The traditional 9-5 is fading and people are working hours that suit their lifestyles, peak power hours, and work demands. Companies are shifting towards a performance-driven culture where results are king and looking busy is out.
Mental health takes the stage.
Going through intense periods of sudden change and prolonged uncertainty is hard. It wreaks havoc on everyone’s mental health. The energy needed to process each change and adapt is taxing. Never mind the mental load of worry, anxiety, and stress. With so much change in the air, there hasn’t been much time for people to catch their breath. With heavy restrictions on leisure, fitness, social gatherings, and travelling, people are also experiencing a loss or reduction of stress-relieving activities. This means creativity is necessary to find new ways to drive social wealth and mental health.
Ok so now that we’ve unpacked a few WFH trends, let’s explore some tips for WFH success.
Inserting healthy boundaries.It’s easy to race through the day with our insanely busy schedules, back-to-back meetings, and infinite to-do-lists. When working from home, overworking can creep up without us noticing. Not only are people’s work days getting longer, but switching off is harder since it’s no longer tied to leaving the office. Without physical separation, many are finding blurred lines between professional and private lives. 47% said switching off and avoiding overwork were the most common challenges they feel since the pandemic.
Make happiness a priority.Now more than ever, it’s time to address the biggest and most surprising driver of productivity. The old method of working harder to drive success and find happiness is actually backwards. Happier people are actually 31% more productive and happy sales people are 37% more productive. Who knew promoting happiness both at work and at home is the best way to make more money? The stats on happiness keep the optimism rolling in. The 2017 World Happiness Report revealed the key to doubling productivity is to strike a work-life balance that makes you happy.
Try a fake commute.Being stuck in traffic sucks. But the space to transition tasks offers a serious mental health benefit. Inside these spaces people can decompress, dive into a podcast or simply settle their minds. The right headspace is important to enabling better focus. So people are turning to a fake commute. Get ready for work at a set time and actually walk out the door to take a quick walk around the block or drive that mimics a commute.
Clutter-free is key.Did you know a messy desk gets less work done? Clutter can actually affect our cognitive abilities. When our workspace is a mess, chances are our brains are too. Before anyone overlooks the power of a clean workspace, give it a go. Get rid of the clutter. By “simplifying your life [it] can create extra time in your day,” says famous trainer Stephen Yates. When we tidy regularly and prioritise a neat workspace, we keep minds free to focus on what matters.
The work from home revolution is here to stay. Accepting this permanent change has meant a steep learning curve for both employees and employers. Figuring out how to do so much in a single location has been one of our biggest challenges yet. Despite winning the war on productivity and learning how to work from any location, we’ve still got work to do. This year is about finding our stride and striking a balance. It’s more about finessing the details on how to better juggle the convergence of professional and personal lives all under one roof. While we’re not having a big anniversary party, it’s a good time take stock of how far we’ve come. Onwards and upwards.
Content Marketing Specialist
Our creative genius and brand architect. Also teller of awesome stories. She is a puppet master who does the tango with words and design. The results are magical. Quite literally. Also obsessed with coffee and owned by a mini-panther.