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Working from home trend spreading as the coronavirus pandemic changes the way we have operated

Widespread working from home may last only as long as the coronavrius pandemic, but experts believe the trends entrenched during this period may shift traditional working patterns.

Companies that may have been against employees working remotely could change their tune, and this could see more people working from home more often in the future.

“The virus crisis can speed up the pace at which technological advancements are embraced,” says FNB commercial property economist John Loos. “Remote working could increase and this may weaken the resistance of some employers to the trend. Once they are forced to make the change they could realise that such practices are simpler and better.”

In cases where this is true, employees may need to make more concrete changes to their home environments so they are more conducive to regular work at home. To do this, Standard Bank advises people to first decide on the location for their office. This space should be separate from the rest of the house to encourage productivity.

“For the same reason, keep all work and work-related items in that space. Choose a room that is well lit and properly ventilated. Daylight is always preferential to artificial lighting.”

Workers will also need additional seating if they are to be visited by clients or colleagues, and the necessary technology. This includes a computer, telephone, and internet at the very least. A printer, copier and fax machine may also be necessary.

“Ensure your chosen space has enough electrical outlets to safely support all these items. You can consider going wireless to keep the space clutter-free.” 

The office may also need furniture such as a desk, filing cabinets and printer stands. Workers should consider investing in ergonomic seating if they are to be sitting all day, the bank says. For those who have been given the green light to work from home, Devan Moonsamy, chief executive ICHAF Training Institute, offers advice to ensure productivity.

Start with a routine: If on a daily basis your routine is to wake up, exercise and then shower and do breakfast, stick to that. If exercise was at the gym, you could opt for home exercise. Keeping to a routine will ensure you are productive throughout the day.

Set rules: When working from home it is important to inform your loved ones that this is your space, and when you are in it you should not be disturbed. This will allow you to fulfil your duties and meet your deadlines without being interrupted.

Take breaks as you would at the workplace: If your one hour lunch is from noon to 1pm, stick to that. Use that time to eat and focus on you. It doesn’t mean now that you are working from you need to start spring cleaning. “As much as being home means you can whip up a meal whenever you want, it is important to remember you are still working. This being said, allow yourself time to prepare meals the day before. This way you won’t spend the day eating excessively.” 

Avoid working in your pyjamas or gown: When you change out of your pyjamas you tend to feel a lot more motivated to finish a task. If you are working in your PJs, chances are you will feel lazy and want to take many more breaks. Working from home can also feel a bit lonely, so he advises employees to keep regular contact with colleagues. “Use WhatsApp or Skype. Ensure you check up on them to make sure you don’t suffer from FOMO.

“Working from home is a blessing, especially if you have children. “If you are given this opportunity ensure you do not abuse it. Your company trusts you. The responsibility is on you to ensure you produce results. After all, you will be accountable for your duties.” 

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