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Is working from home the new telecommuting?

Is working from home the new telecommuting?

Since the World Health Organization announced that the Coronavirus had officially reached ‘pandemic’ status, a shift to the ‘home office’ has become the new normal for many of us.

“Out of sight, out of mind can be a real problem for remote workers.” - Sara Sutton

Working from home offers you far greater freedom and flexibility. That might seem like an enviable dream to anyone stuck in a cubicle, counting down the minutes until the workday is officially over, but the reality is not quite so clear cut.

Without clear boundaries and routines, things can get murky. Some employees will be working from home, which means figuring out how to stay focused on task in a new environment that may not lend itself to productivity.

Tips to stay well-balanced while working from home

Take a break
Let’s be honest: you don’t work 8 hours straight in the office. There are coffee breaks, lunch walks, and co-workers that give some respite from work. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to the same breathers.

"There is a tendency to work throughout the day to overcome some stigma that you aren't working when not in the office." - David Rabin, Lenovo.

Get structured
Be thoughtful about where you choose to work and make sure to match the environment to the type of work you are doing, designating some places as work-free zones.

Repurpose your commute
A major perk of working from home is ditching the commute. Use the time gained for self-renewal or family time.

Set clear boundaries
Working from home doesn’t mean you are working more hours and when your work day ends, put away your work equipment and change into your evening or lounge clothes to help signal the shift to personal time.

Show your face
Use video instead of the standard conference call to help create more interactions and avoid loneliness.

Force social 'gatherings'
Social interactions can still happen from home — you just have to be more proactive. Set up regular check-ins with your team or manager that allow you to not only provide progress updates, but also sort through any problems or brainstorm ideas. Use FaceTime, Zoom and other video tools during meetings or just chat with coworkers.

Companies are looking at work from home (WFH) setups to ensure their employees can still be engaged and productive even in this environment of limited travel. WFH is another term for telecommuting — a work setup concept that has been around, which only few companies are implementing.

Because of enforced quarantine and self-isolation, companies are now working double time to adopt the scheme. Through time, as the learning curve for both employers and employees flattens, the adoption of telecommuting will become more efficient.

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