03 August 2021

Helping Your Team Adapt to the Sudden Shift from WFO to WFH

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One year and a half into a global pandemic, the trend of Working from Home (WFH) seems to keep on rising. Companies were initially reluctant to implement the working model, but surprisingly WFH actually brings many benefits. There were concerns about productivity, for instance, but 77% of remote workers feel more productive during WFH, according to CoSo cloud. Stanford also found that productivity increases by 13% during WFH. Seems that WFH actually helps your team to work better.


WFH as the Future Model: Is It All Good?

Aside from increasing productivity, WFH also saves a lot of money. A Stanford study found that companies which implement remote work gain $2,000 profit per worker. The working model allows companies to save up a lot and allocate their budget for many other things. On the other hand, WFH saves employees’ cost, too. Without having to go to the office and spend all their money on food and transportation, workers also save approximately $7,000 each year, according to data from TECLA.


With such many benefits that WFH brings, it seems that WFH or WFA (Work-from-Anywhere) will be the trend (or at least there will be a mixed working model where WFO is still implemented, but employees don’t have to go to the office every day). Tecla found that 85% of managers believe that it will be common for many organizations to have remote workers as their team members. Upwork also predicts that by 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote staff members. 


Nevertheless, as some of us have known and experienced already, there are also challenges related to WFH. From unstable internet connection to the many distractions at home, the sudden shift from WFO to WFH is often followed by several problems that need to be addressed and tackled. Here are some of them, along with the solutions that managers can implement to support their team when adapting to the sudden shifts to WFH.



WFO to WFH shock: Several Possible Issues


  1. Blurred Personal/Professional Boundaries – Communicate Better

Some workers prefer WFO over WFH because the former has a clear line between work and life. And for employees, especially those with family members who need their attention at home, the sudden shift to WFH may be catastrophic. Then what can managers do to help their workers adapt? Communicate better. Empathize and empower your team members. Also, if managers can’t separate their professional and personal space, at least we can draw the line between personal and professional time.


  1. Poor Time Management – Set Schedule and Task List

Although there’s an increase in productivity during WFH, time management can be problematic for some members. With less supervision and relatively more distractions, workers are expected to be independent and self-conscious during WFH, and for some, this aspect may be difficult to implement. Leaders and managers can help their team members to set a fixed (or semi-fixed) schedule. Also, some employees might find it helpful to get a list of daily tasks, as this gives a clearer target or goal for the day.


  1. Inadequate Facilities – Facilitate the team

When your team suddenly has to work from home, all the great office facilities are gone. Home internet connection, for example, may not be as fast as that of your office (Even in a developed country such as the US, 35% don’t have adequate internet bandwidth for video calls.). To help your team work better at home, business managers may use the money they save from WFH to help their employees. A good internet subscription, a good antivirus, or even a good chair would mean a lot to your employees who need to suddenly adapt to the WFH life.


  1. Social Isolation – Gather the team to have a good time

Last but not least, social isolation may be an overlooked problem experienced by your team members who suddenly have to work from home. The rather extroverted team members may cope less smoothly with all the sudden restrictions on meeting their colleagues. To boost your team’s morale, you can initiate virtual social gatherings for your team members to vent, catch up with each other, or just vibe together and have a good time. We all could use a little bit of gathering to beat the loneliness that comes from the sudden shift from WFO to WFH.

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