Effective despite working from home? Or specifically because of it?25. May 2021 Published by Jana Greyling
This article asking the question “What can effective work from the home office look like?” was published by Ralf Lueb on May 13, 2020 on LinkedIn. It can be viewed, liked and shared at this link.
In the meantime, the picture has becoming normality. Whether it’s bookshelves or art on the wall, children on their parent’s lap, or the partner scurrying past in the background, video conferences provide insights into the personal living environments of colleagues, customers and respected business partners. It makes one thing especially clear: Working from home, where many workers are currently spending most of their time, provides an often involuntary merging of living worlds. Under these circumstances, the much-cited work-life balance often becomes the work-life blend, with work and private life increasingly merging.
Alongside the increased stress factor , this also frequently creates a feeling of reduced productivity and efficiency. In these times, that increasingly becomes a challenge – especially when working from home was previously primarily regarded as a stopgap and, accordingly, the infrastructure required to work and communicate well from the home office is lacking. What can working effectively from your own four walls look like?
Four aspects for working effectively from the home office
Set up a fixed home office workplace.
Shifting work from the office to the kitchen table at home may work for a short time, but it’s not an ideal solution in the long run. Even if, of course, not every living environment can accommodate a separate office, it’s still worth investing in good equipment. Alongside a fixed table and an ergonomic chair for a dynamic seating posture, appropriate technical equipment is just as important.
That starts with the best possible Internet connection and ends with suitable peripheral devices like a phone and headset, monitor, keyboard and mouse – then you can enjoy almost the same convenience as in the office. The fact that this is no short-term investment, but rather money wisely invested over the long term is reflected by the current progression of the coronavirus figures – and the discussions already in full swing on keeping the home office as a fixed place of work even after the crisis.
Make virtual collaboration easier.
Right now, no-one can completely escape digital tools like Office 365 complete with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack or Circuit – not even those who have resisted so far – and that’s a good thing. Cloud-based software greatly simplifies collaboration across spatial distance while at the same time ensuring the continuous availability of all relevant data. My personal highlight: the long-awaited end of file extensions such as _v1_corr_RL_reworked_final_trackedchanges.
This point is especially important – but also especially difficult to implement – particularly for parents who are currently juggling working from home with keeping the kids occupied, digital lessons and, if possible, also leisure time. But even those who can retreat on their own to a perfectly equipped home office notice that it’s barely possible anymore in the digital world to escape distractions. What helps?
Eliminating electronic disruptions such as superfluous notifications can already work real wonders. But even the familiar schedule with daily and weekly goals can help you keep your focus and efficiency at a high level and be able to fully exploit the benefits of working from home.
It’s a frequently repeated mantra – but more relevant than ever, especially with the current spatial distance: Good communication is the be-all and end-all. And synchronous communication is especially important to be able to reach agreements as quickly and smoothly as possible. Picking up the phone is often still the simplest way of being able to tackle challenges together. At Gigaset, our model of choice for that is the Gigaset T480HX, for top voice and sound quality in the home office – and it’s even cordless and intuitive to use. All it needs is a connection to your DECT-capable router. If you have a cloud-provisioned SIP phone at the office, you’re especially lucky: Simply take the phone home with you, plug it in and benefit immediately from the convenience of your office phone.
Especially over the long term, we should think about making working from home even easier for us. According to current forecasts, it certainly appears conceivable that we will be dealing with Covid-19 and the associated working from home for longer. But even once the consequences of the pandemic have lessened, the question remains as to whether the shift in the working culture to remote working enforced at high speed might not now become an irreversible trend and we will see more of our colleagues’ book spines or artworks in the future. Even though I’m already very much looking forward to sharing with colleagues again in person, I still want to also make more use in future, if possible, of my office at home and the benefits it offers like not having to commute.
What helps you stay effective when working from home? Are you planning to work more from home even after the coronavirus crisis? I look forward to your feedback!
 Younghwan Song, Jia Gao: Does Telework Stress Employees Out? A Study on Working at Home and Subjective Well-Being for Wage/Salary Workers (2018)