The turbulent year of 2020 has brought a lot of changes all around the world. All it took was one global pandemic and poof – the world has stopped and we are still witnessing the snowball effect.
All of a sudden there were so many changes and unfortunately when it comes to adaptation – you can’t just flip a switch. All of us had to adjust our – up until then – “normal” routines to these “new normal” activities and restrictions due to the pandemic. Some, like me for example, experienced the impact isolation has on mental health.
But, let’s analyze one more turn this year made us take – on the professional level that is. How did businesses stand this perfect storm? What changes employers had to make to survive on the market? And how did the changes affect the performance of the employees? Ok, I won’t cause any more anxiety with questions. Let’s take it step by step.
The Tale About 2020 Through Numbers
Before the pandemic took the world by storm the percent of companies who didn’t allow remote work globally was 44. This leaves us with 56% of people who worked from home occasionally. For some of them it was working on the weekends or at night, and for others as part of the weekly routine.
Since the beginning of 2020 and throughout the whole year, working from home has been on a constant rise. The global pandemic got some of us out of the office, experiencing firsthand the good and the bad that working from home brings.
Many organizations have shifted their organizational structures, processes, tools, and systems for remote teams, and for both employees and employers, this year has been a rollercoaster that required major adjustments. So at the end of this year, numbers show that 88% of business organizations all over the world mandated or encouraged all their employees to work from home as the virus spread at exponential rates.
Working From an Office and Its Effects on the Productivity
Generally speaking, working from an office has its perks. Most organizations like to say the office is where the magic happens, and I can definitely agree with them. Who doesn’t love to go to a collaborative environment where you can learn something new on the daily basis, right? But while it might look very productive from one angle another one tells a different story.
For instance, the office environment taught me quite a lot about time management. Fixed hours of work, lunch break, coffee break – my mind slowly begun to process according to the working hours provided. As for when I started working from home for the first time – well let’s say the newfound lack of constraints was a bit time-consuming.
Personally, in the beginning, I found myself working from when I woke up until I went to bed. If you ask me what did I work on that took the entire day – I have no clue. And for all of you panicking – hang in there! You are not the only one, you are not alone, and you’ll become better at it each day.
Working from an office helped me learn a thing or two about maintaining punctuality. And when I think about the Umbrella Marketing Team’s office (a distant memory now, but we’ll meet again soon), I can’t forget to mention the excitement of learning something new – which comes on a regular basis when in an office environment. The coworkers can help you come up with new ideas, implement them, and expand your knowledge
But there is no such thing as the best of both worlds. Besides the obvious side effect that 2020 brought to my attention (social gatherings and viruses), working from an office has its downsides.
The biggest deal-breaker for many is commuting. Personally, the option to skip the commuting and customize the time in my workday freed my mind of added stress, while giving me the mandatory focus and autonomy.
At home or in a third place, employees can work uninterrupted and experience a greater sense of work-life balance. There are always some exceptions, of course, where for example one of the Umbrella’s gurus needs a reminder to leave her tasks for a bit and sit to eat at the dining table.
New Routines Taking Over the World
In the decade behind us, workplace flexibility trends were in constant growth. Statistics from 2019 show that over the past 10 years, remote work has grown 91%. And this is related to the non-self-employed workers who principally work from home at least half-time, which doesn’t include freelancers, business owners, or entrepreneurs. If we switch this time frame from 10 to the last 5 years, this growth was 44%.
Some of the projections for the future of remote work, post COVID-19 point out that 74% of companies plan to shift some of their employees (5%) to remote working permanently. As working from home this year has shown the business leaders the cost benefits of having a remote workforce.
A happy employee is a productive one, and a survey that included 745 people who work from home at any frequency showed that 71% of them are happier in their work.
Some of the top reasons for working remotely they pointed out were: better focus, increased productivity, better work-life balance, and the avoidance of commuting. And for all of you who were panicking just like I was – see I told you it gets better over time!
Maintain Your Productivity From Home as Well
So how did the Umbrella Marketing Agency team handle this shift from an office and got used to this new remote workflow? Check out some of our tips!
- Design your workspace – so don’t work from a dining table near the kitchen (don’t ask me how much I’ve gained), but have a distinct workspace in your apartment or house. It could be just a corner in your place it doesn’t have to be a whole room. Nonetheless, we all need our productive spot and we all have it – look around.
- Reduce distractions – it’s easy to become distracted when working from home. Whether it’s by your children or the noise outside your house (lousy loud neighbors), etc. It can all be fixed – set up some boundaries within your household, get some noise-canceling headphones, or like me turn on 10hrs white noise and set the volume to max (when you can’t beat them – annoy them).
- Structure your day – create a new routine that is similar to the one you had at the office so you can maintain a work-life balance. This includes networking with your coworkers as well. :)
- Take breaks – don’t be afraid to take a short break several times each workday to refocus, regroup, and recharge. I recommend the Pomodoro technique as it helped many including me to stay focused on the task.
Walls Do Not Create Organizations, but Teams Do
At the end of this blog, let me share with you an interesting fact I came across while researching this topic.
2020 has brought a 9% increase in Google search interest related to ‘team-building’.
Working from home can influence the employees to struggle with loneliness and make it harder to adapt to working in a team long-distance. So, dear employers bear this in mind when thinking about your long term business success.
For your business to live through 2020 and succeed in the future, you’ll need to work on your digital presence. But as for a productive and happy team, you definitely don’t need the office – just good communication and a strong internet connection.
Be in constant communication, check up on each other, have stand-up calls daily, and spread some good news – we all need it. And Christmas gifts, don’t forget to send out some cards or
little ornaments to make your team smile!
And if you need help with building a digital presence, schedule a call with Umbrella Marketing Agency experts! Our team will help you adapt quickly and create a tailor-made digital marketing strategy that your business needs for new-age successes.
Schedule a call now and see if we are the right fit for you!
Title photo by master1305, Freepik.