How much longer do we have to work from home? Despite the known safety measures, this question and insecurities are on people’s minds. There are no more cars on the highways and the normally so stressful open plan offices are awfully quiet. How long will it stay this way? Many partners and customers are asking us for tips on working from home, and about the way we work. In this article, I share my vision of the future of working from home and a few tips to facilitate this.

How much longer do we have to work from home?

Pandemics influence the way we work.

Unfortunately, no one can answer this question. The economy suffers under the isolation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so assessments are constantly being made if it’s safe enough to reverse or tone done the measures. It also, however, turns out that people are hard at work on creating a vaccine, but that it could take until mid-2021 until this can be mass-produced, according to an article by the BBC.

Due to the fact that people travel more, the likelihood of a future epidemic is not unthinkable. According to an article by Atlantic, it’s the most realistic threat to change the way we live. In the past years, we have seen classical swine fever (2009), Zika (2015) and Ebola (2018) emerge quickly. Seen as the probability of a pandemic is realistic, it’s about time to start thinking about the way we work and travel.

Influence of natural disasters on remote work

Instead of trying to predict when working from home will end, we recommend to actually learn how to work from home. Globally, many organisations already encourage their employees to work from home, so that they, for example, can keep working in case of a natural disaster. As stated in an article by CNBC, there is also an increased amount of natural disasters, from 6,2 a year from 1980-2018, to an astounding 15 a year from 2016-2018.

Employment market competition

Besides pandemics and natural disasters, there’s also a more competitive employment market. There are organisations such as Gitlab who don’t even have offices and where knowledge workers work from home or a different location. This has its advantages since there are fewer costs for accommodation and it brings an appealing employment condition for employees.

Pros and cons of working from home

There are many articles on the pros and cons of working from home. Therefore, I’d like to share this list with you:

Pros of working from home

  • No stress due to open floor plan offices
  • More appealing employer for (young) talent
  • Fewer traffic jams and commute time
  • Larger talent pool
  • Better work-life balance

Cons of working from home

  • Not suitable for everyone

In addition to these cons, we often hear other statements as well. Though these are often challenges that can be solved, when it’s thought through well and the processes and IT environment are set up for it. Below, a few examples:

Mock-cons

  • How do I see if people are working? – How do you handle this when you’re on vacation, do you watch through a live stream? Make people responsible and set up the goals and processes in such a way that you don’t have to keep looking over people’s shoulders.
  • There are distractions at home – Some people’s homes are simply not suitable. In that case, there could indeed be playing kids or partners on their phone to distract you. Therefore, you can offer people a budget to use shared office spaces or to work from a café or library.
  • It’s not safe – That’s only true if your IT environment is set up badly.
  • You can’t drop in on each other – If you utilise video conferencing and agree to always call with the video on, you maintain personal contact.

 

What tips do we share on working from home?

With our digital workspace, we make sure that people can work from any location. But as an organisation, how do you start with the adoption of a digital workspace? On our Support Portal, we’ve provided training, best practices, and our ‘Embracing Workspace’ program, so that you can get started with adoption even before acquiring a digital workspace.

Sharing knowledge on working from home

In addition to the adoption program for the digital workspace, we also regularly share articles on working from home and the digital workspace. Here we discuss several subjects such as using AI to increase adoption, how Single Sign-On works and tips for creating a work-life balance. View all our knowledge articles here.

How do we, at Workspace 365, experience working from home?

Our IT systems were ready for it

As a software developer of a digital workspace, naturally we already have experience with working from home. Hence, our IT system was ready for it. We’ve moved all our meetings with partners and customers online, and even job interviews were held online.

Measuring results was set up right

Besides IT systems, it’s important for an organisation to have clear goals. With us, it was clear for each team and team member what was expected of them. Consequently, we can properly measure from home which results we achieve and where more control was needed.

You drop in on each other

In our case, people do still drop in on each other. In the living room through Teams, with the camera on. For meetings, we usually use Microsoft Teams as much as possible, except for meetings where it’s important to have more than 4 people on the screen the whole time (for example with Friday afternoon drinks, where we want to see the entire team).

Distractions at home

For some colleagues, this is certainly a fact. For others, the opposite is true. Despite the fact that it’s important to maintain structure, it’s also important to adopt a flexible attitude. When you have kids, it may be a good idea to start an hour earlier then your kids get out of bed (if you can be quiet enough). This can be also a challenge for our colleagues, since small children take your work less into account than a partner would.

Events are rescheduled

During events, you speak to each other and interaction takes place. To ensure that we keep receiving feedback from organisations that don’t use Workspace 365 (yet), we organise online sessions. These sessions are interactive, so that we know what goes on in the market and can share this knowledge with all participants in a report.

Our next session is on the future of the digital workspace for care and takes place on April 15 2020, at 3 PM (CET).

New employees get started

Our team is growing rapidly, so we are constantly looking for talented people to join Workspace 365. At the moment, people get started from home, without seeing us in real life. We create an account for them in Workspace 365, allowing them to instantly access all relevant applications, documents and information, and we send them a laptop. Also, there are videos and work instructions in the workspace, that automatically adapt based on someone’s role. Subsequently, people can independently get started, next to support through video calls, because information is readily available.

How organisations use Workspace 365 to work from home?

Of course, everyone works differently with Workspace 365. There are, however, a few recurring points we see in (almost) every industry:

  • Flexible workspace with built-in self-training possibilities for both the workspace and other applications
  • Simply grant access to files from both Office 365 and the file server in one visual display using our document management app
  • Uniting the intranet portal, application portals, and other information systems in one workspace
  • Safe access to applications with one single login
  • Requesting applications through a form in the digital workspace
  • Quickly launching applications in a smart way (the workspace automatically adapts to someone’s role, location, device, browser and more)
  • Using the Announcement Centre for communicating with employees
  • Maintenance Mode for applications that are being updated or replaced
  • Increasing adoption of all portals by combining them in one workspace

In the forthcoming period, we will write multiple articles on using Workspace 365 to work from home. These articles will be industry-specific, to give a clear image of the ways you can simplify work.

How is my day with Workspace 365 as a marketing manager?

Every day after breakfast, I put my laptop in a stand on the kitchen table and connect my wireless keyboard and mouse. By rebuilding my work station every day, I prevent myself from ‘being in the workplace’ all the time.

After the setup, I go to Workspace 365 first to see if I’ve received any new emails and what my day looks like. Because I put everything in my calendar, I have a great overview and I can be prepared for our daily stand-up (a conference call with the team to discuss what we want to achieve that day).

When I open my Workspace 365 environment, I sometimes get a notification from our CEO regarding the current situation, or I see that there are new messages in Yammer. For both, I take my time reading them and possibly responding to them.

After reading and scheduling my day, I start the applications I need from my workspace. For example, the Recruitee web application (where I don’t have to login again) to see if there are any new job applicants, my local Spotify application to listen to music, and I open a blog my colleague is working on through the Document tile.

When lunch is over, I look over the results of our campaigns. For this, I made a statistics dashboard in Workspace 365. In it, I can, for example, see the results of email campaigns, the number of website visitors, the number of inbound leads and meetings, the results of our ads and more.

At the end of the day, I update my calendar from Workspace 365. I add a few tasks in my To-Do live tile and close my workspace, knowing that tomorrow I can simply carry on. Sometimes, in the evening on the couch, I check statistics in my workspace on my phone or open an application to complete another task.

Do you want to try Workspace 365 yourself?

Are you curious about Workspace 365? Then try our free demo or request the whitepaper to learn how Workspace 365 makes people more productive by simplifying the way they work.

 

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Mark Grasmayer

Mark Grasmayer

Product Evangelist

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