To say that working from home was once a taboo subject would have been grossly understated in the not-so-distant past.
In fact, several studies had already shown that in some companies, employees were almost scared to ask their employer to work from home for the odd day.
Suffice to say, 2020 has changed the landscape. While some companies have every intention of reverting back to the office schedule that they know and trust, others have modernized. For example:
- Twitter have announced that all of their employees can work from home permanently
- Shopify have told their 5,000 employees they can work from home indefinitely
- Square have said that while their offices are reopening, all employees are free to work from home
The list can certainly go on. In fact, while the above are examples of companies who have stated that working from home will become the permanent normal, there are many others which are at least taking baby steps.
Regardless of what stage of this journey they find themselves in, all of these companies are making steps to make life easier for their workers. Today, we’ll look at some of these approaches in-detail.
Companies have invested more into the cloud
In truth, all elements of tech have become essential, but for the purposes of today let’s talk about the cloud. This doesn’t have to be some form of complex software, it can arrive in multiple, even free forms. For example:
- Microsoft Office: Most of us have used this for years, but now their platform is available completely online. For sharing files, and working collaboratively, it’s a fantastic tool for companies.
- Google Workspace: Whether its Sheets or Docs, this is Google’s answer to Office. Unsurprisingly, it’s all conducted in the browser, but the interface will be familiar. Again, it’s great for collaboration.
- Miro: Post-its have become a staple in most office environments, and Miro have devised an online-only solution. Sure, there’s more to the platform than just Post-its, but for those missing the traditional office planning instruments, there are now browser-based alternatives.
There is a key message about work-life-balance
Once upon a time, there was a fear amongst employers about working from home. Many thought that workers would down tools and the situation would be disastrous.
While their hand has been forced this year, many have taken a much different approach. Many appreciate the potential mental health effects of working from home and encourage a better work-life balance. Some have pushed flexi-time even more, while others have taken simple steps to asking their employees to take regular walks to get their dose of vitamin D.
This encouragement can even stretch to a working environment. Some firms were quite adamant that they didn’t want workers laying on a bed or on the sofa – a proper setup was required. This might revolve around an ergonomic desk and chair, or even bringing some life into their new office courtesy of a company such as Avas Flowers. As the ideas on the Avas Flowers website show, a home office doesn’t have to be a boring affair. These Avas Flowers photos show that the aesthetics of an office can make a remarkable difference, and allow workers to not get sucked into the potential mental health repercussions of WFH.
Replacing the water cooler catch ups
Another tactic that some companies have adopted is a replacement for the once-named water cooler catchups.
As we all know, this used to be one area of the office which was reserved for gossip and general catchups.
Clearly, this is now out of the window. Instead, companies have started thinking outside the box. Some will pencil in regular ‘non-work’ Zoom meetings, while others will create online quizzes and other initiatives to continue the traditional chit-chat. Either way, this is seen as a crucial way in combating some of the drawbacks that some believe working from home can bring.