As of March 19, 2020, six out of 10 employees in the United States were working from home due to the coronavirus, and this number has likely increased since then. Many were skeptical that the transition could be successful, due to assumptions and myths about working from home. However, research suggests that “quarantine” style remote work is more effective than first thought.
Read on to discover some of the generalities and worries that employers and employees expressed about working from home, and then we’ll separate the myths from the facts. You’ll also find helpful suggestions along the way that will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance at home, especially if you’re new to working remotely.
Rumors About Working Remotely
- Productivity tanks when employees aren’t working in the office
- The remote work lifestyle is less favorable than working at an office
- Working remotely can ruin your healthy eating habits
- Your spouse and kids will distract you from getting things done
- Fashion has no place in the home office
- It’s hard to maintain healthy habits when you’re stuck at home
- Remote workers have a harder time sticking to a schedule
- It’s too tempting to work from your bed all day
- You always find time to work out when you work from home
- Remote workers love to stay in their PJs throughout the workday
The Truth Behind Remote Working
Working From Home Potentially Makes You More Productive
Productivity is among the top concerns surrounding remote work, but it really shouldn’t be. The rumor that working at home tanks productivity has been proven false. According to a 2019 survey by FlexJobs, 62% of respondents said they felt more productive working from home without the stress of coworker interruptions, office politics, meetings, and the commute.
Another 2019 survey by Airtasker found that among the 1,000+ employees surveyed, working from home increased productivity. They found that remote workers put in an average of three additional work weeks per year. Perhaps this is because remote employees feel more comfortable taking enough breaks throughout the day, which is the best way to increase long-term focus.
Employee health was better among remote workers as well, which makes sense; if you have happy and healthy employees, they will perform better work and be more productive.
The Remote Work Lifestyle Has a Range of Unique Perks
The remote work lifestyle gets a bad rap. You may miss out on bits and pieces of office culture and camaraderie outside the office, but you get:
- More time to devote to those you live with;
- More flexibility for a second job;
- More bandwidth to support a spouse working outside the home;
- More free time; and
- More in your bank account that doesn’t have to go toward the daily commute.
And who says you can’t experience office culture when working at home? There are so many tools today that allow coworkers to collaborate and socialize virtually, including Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and many more. During one of your breaks, invite your coworkers to participate in a group stretch, a meditation session, a book club, or a coffee break. At Avalaunch, these are all part of the way of our culture and our employees love it!
Working Remotely Gives You More Control Over Your Eating Habits
When not in the office, some may find it easier to sustain better eating habits. At home, you aren’t tempted by the snacks around the office, there’s no temptation to lunch every day with your coworkers, nor is there the temptation of delicious food at office parties.
However, some remote workers only have room for a workspace in their kitchen area. If this is the case for you, this doesn’t have to ruin your eating habits. Although it’s tempting to indulge and mindlessly overeat while you work, you can combat this problem by keeping your cabinets and refrigerator stocked with nutritious items and buy junk food sparingly. Set established eating and/or snack times away from your workstation so you can practice conscious, intuitive eating.
You Can Set Boundaries to Minimize the Disruptions of Home Life
If you live with other people, you can count on distractions. Significant others, plus kids and pets — aren’t used to having you home so much and they’ll want more of your attention.
This is a prime opportunity to set boundaries between your personal and professional life within the home. Make it clear to whoever you live with that you will continue to be unavailable during working hours as normal, and ensure that they will respect any physical barriers between you and others, such as a closed door, during that time.
You Have Freedom to Experiment When Working From Home
Just because you’re not going out doesn’t mean you have to bum around in PJs all day. You’ve probably seen people all over social media capitalizing on the opportunity to play with their look while they’re stuck at home. It’s going to be a while before you have to go into your office again, so why not be a little experimental with hair, makeup, or wardrobe? A fun change might even help you stay sane. There’s no better place for experimental fashion than in the home office!
Remote Working Means More Time for Good Habits
As established, those who work from home have more spare time on their hands because they don’t have to spend time traveling to and from work. This time can be spent catching a few extra Zs, taking that shower you’d usually skip in favor of more sleep, or getting in a refreshing morning workout. Studies show that remote workers get 25 more minutes of exercise each week, so it would be wise to capitalize on this opportunity to improve your physical health.
You Have the Opportunity to Become Disciplined at Home
Given the difficulty of current events, your mental health likely won’t be 100% every day. There will be days that you won’t be on your computer by 9 AM and ready to roll. This is an anxiety-riddled adjustment period for all of us, so it’s important to be patient with yourself as you make small but concerted efforts to become disciplined. As you settle into your new normal, do your best each day to keep a routine. Consistently building these small habits will help you discipline yourself in an unstructured, unsupervised environment.
You don’t have to go as drastic as blue hair or a shaved head as your favorite social media influencers have done, but if you’ve been wanting to work a new hairstyle or learn to wax your own eyebrows, there has never been a better time.
You’ll Quickly Find that Working in Bed Isn’t All That Great
Let’s all admit it — all of us probably spent the first day of quarantine working on a laptop in bed and quickly realized it wasn’t ideal. Sure, it was probably nice for the first little while, by mid-afternoon, you probably had body aches and a sore neck. Sitting in bed all day on your computer isn’t ergonomic or sustainable long-term. In order to do your best work, you need to work in a space that’s comfortable, allows you to sit up straight, and to use all your work equipment, including a second monitor and a mouse.
Remote Workers Know to Get Dressed for the Sake of Productivity
It may not seem important whether you stay in sweats all day or not, but the way you dress puts you in a specific mindset. When you wear comfy clothes during work, you’re putting yourself in a relaxation mindset when it’s time to get to work, which may make it hard to focus. Even if all you can bear to wear is your most casual daytime clothes, get dressed. It will be a physical reminder that you’re not on vacation and to act accordingly.
At Avalaunch Media 95% of our employees have been working remotely for the last six months. We can confirm that the rumors of employee productivity are false. Although we love working in our office we have embraced the change and we work hard to keep our values and culture the main focus of Avalaunch Media.