Create a Happier Environment Working from Home

Mar 23, 2020

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By Wayne Mumford

Director of Professional Services
Wayne joined CoreHR from a global HR & Payroll Solutions provider where he enjoyed coaching teams to deliver customers’ goals through technology on mainly Enterprise-level implementations. He is experienced in directing Professional Services teams and happiest when people are progressing professionally and growing personally, in turn impacting the bottom line.

As the Covid-19 virus outbreak continues to take hold more and more people are moving to working from home. Although not all can facilitate this way of working we have to view this option as a benefit in order that many people can continue to work this way, thus supporting the wider economy. Last year, a survey found that 61% of global companies were offering remote working and that 80% of people would reject a job that didn’t have flexible working options, when faced with two similar vacancies. Clearly, there is a desire for this way of working to be part of our daily make up.

But let’s look at what the other benefits of working from home may be and indeed are factors to creating a happier and more productive working environment.

Firstly, mental health. Whilst there is a comedy perception that people are sat at home binge watching the latest box set, instead of working, the reality is that you need to have a slightly more regimented mindset and that in itself can lead to a happier frame of mind as you are set on what you need to achieve during that day.

I would recommend organising your diary so that you have a couple of tea/coffee breaks and a set lunch break where possible. A financial benefit here is that you are not travelling to the local sandwich shop and coffee shop meaning you are saving money and you also have a variety of food and drink to choose from, at home!

Around 1 in 5 people suffer from loneliness working from home so that means for the 80% we are enjoying it, but in order to combat loneliness it is worthwhile setting regular virtual meets with your team and regular virtual coffee breaks, especially if in the realms of a global pandemic, as we are just now. I have set up a thrice weekly drop in call for my wider team, just for 15 minutes, to pop in and say hi and chat about their day, what they are doing to cope in the current climate but to also talk about anything non-work and blow off some steam. It is aimed to be a fun call with quizzes, jokes, competitions and generally taking the mickey out of John’s T-Shirt.

A balance of Work & Life is critical for us all and working from home may afford you the opportunity to squeeze in some exercise, instead of the commute, ensuring you are geared up for the day, even if it is just 15 minutes to get the blood pumping and maybe use that time to clear your mind and plan the day ahead. A key benefit for those with families is having the ‘luxury’ of being able to drop the kids to school or maybe pick up. Again, being in control of your diary is where it is at and planning your day. I find that even a 10 minute chat with my son at the top of the day can set me up in a positive frame of mind to attack the day. There is the family bonding element that takes place so that it is not the case that, “mum and dad are always working!”

Today’s ‘working lunch’ with my son Jack in my back garden

In terms of being productive, many home workers find that the fact that they are not in the office means they do not suffer from constant interruptions or spend too much time chatting at the water cooler, consequently finding that they can ‘get their head down’ and get work done which is great. On the flip side, to break up the routine, I find that when I then in fact do need to travel into the office, I actually look forward to going in and seeing friends and colleagues that I may not have seen for a while, plus it does stop the element of going stir crazy from being sat at home for long periods of time. It is true that variety is the spice of life when it comes to working from home. If you have the benefit of a separate working area, you can use this space to surround yourself with everything you need to work productively whilst enjoying a comfortable surrounding that is warm, ergonomically fitting and lends itself to being used for other ‘off work’ activities, i.e. as a study, gym.

For animal lovers, the fact that there is a human at home means that the dog, cat, lizard is not lonely and you also have the option of taking the dog for a walk to enjoy a break and get some free thinking time, whilst exercising those legs that have been folded up under the chair for some hours.

So, in summary, what are the benefits for working from home?

  • Free reign on the diary, where you can set your day.
  • Access to a smorgasbord of food and drink so you can choose to stay healthy.
  • Incorporating an exercise regime is easier
  • Less cost on travel to the office and daily expenditure on food and drink (3 coffees a day is a tenner!).
  • Mental health is better as there is less stress.
  • Family time by means of dropping off and picking up kids and seeing more of your partner, friends.
  • Pets are happier and have more contact with their human.
  • Work time becomes more productive.
  • When you do visit the office you relish the good bits, connecting with colleagues and communal meets.

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