“More than 20 percent of the workforce could work remotely three to five days a week as effectively as they could if working from an office. If remote work took hold at that level, that would mean three to four times as many people working from home than before the pandemic and would have a profound impact on urban economies, transportation, and consumer spending, among other things.”
- McKinsey Global Institute, November 23, 2020
In Canada, it has been about eighteen months since the COVID-19 pandemic upended all that we understood to be “normal”, and pushed us - ready or not, willing or not - into the mindset of adaptation. As most parts of the country now navigate the transition back to a sense of familiarity, albeit vastly redefined in many arenas of our lives, what we have learned about how and where we work has shifted significantly.
Of those of us who were able to shift to working from home at the onset of the pandemic, according to a study released by Statistics Canada in April 2021, 90% of teleworkers reported being at least as productive working remotely as in the office. The same study indicated that 80% of us would prefer to work at least half of our hours from home even as widespread restart plans take effect.
With so much of the workforce comparably productive while telecommuting, corporations are recognizing the savings gained by not having to lease as much office space, particularly in urban centres where real estate prices are at a premium. A study published in April 2021 on the future of work after COVID conducted by McKinsey & Company, a global consultancy firm, reports that 278 executives planned to reduce their office space by 30%.
As such, Working From Home (WFH) is encountering a post-pandemic reboot, many businesses and organizations considering hybrid models that incorporate both onsite and remote work for their employees.
What does this mean for you? We at Mac Zen have assembled a few key tips to help you maneuver this updated approach.
1.Be vigilant about your working hours.
When your home is also your workspace, it is easy to let your work time bleed into your personal time and vice versa. Being disciplined about your working hours, as though you are showing up for a “shift” by clocking in, will help to keep you focused through the day. Setting clear boundaries about your time will also keep your family members or housemates from interrupting your flow. If you tend to bury yourself in work, set the timer on your iPhone or Apple Watch to remind yourself to take a break, and then actually take a break! Get up from your desk to move your body, walk the dog, eat a snack. At the end of your workday, commit to a ritual that signifies you are clocking out: sign out of all your work-related apps, go for a workout, make supper, go for an evening walk, etc.
2.Define your workspace.
In the StatsCan report, 10% of respondents claimed that one of the key barriers to feeling comfortable and productive working from home was the lack of adequate physical space. Even if you don’t have the luxury of a separate home office, it is vital to designate a space in your home that represents your workspace. Look for areas in your home that are used seldomly during the day, like a guest room, basement, or garage. If possible, try to avoid working in your bedroom so that you can associate that space as your quiet sanctuary from daily life. And if you don’t have the real estate to set up a defined office space and must work in a more “public” spot like your kitchen table or island, make a ritual of ending your workday by placing all your office equipment into a large bin, and moving it out of sight until your next workday begins.
3.Get face-to-face time, not just Facetime.
Connecting to our team, colleagues, and leaders through the pandemic has made us all Zoom/Skype/Teams/Facetime experts, but the downside is that it is more difficult to sustain personal relationships when your only interactions take place online. Working from home exclusively can feel very isolating, and it is hard to reach out to a colleague for support or camaraderie as you would in an office environment. And if you are seeking career advancement, working solely from home can make your work less visible to your leaders. Consider a hybrid of onsite and remote work; spending 1-2 days a week working in the office will deepen your connections and keep you on the radar.
4.Ask for what you need.
Organizations that support you working a hybrid model of onsite and remote should also support the infrastructure you need to work efficiently and productively. Inquire with your manager about your company’s home office budget so that you can purchase office equipment – a proper office chair, desk, printer, monitor, laptop riser, keyboard & mouse, software, etc. You may also have access to remuneration for a fair percentage of your domestic expenses you require to operate from your home – internet connectivity fees, electricity, etc. especially if you find it necessary to upgrade your high speed internet capacity to accommodate for increased demand. With companies downsizing their office spaces and spending less on utilities due to the increase in their remote workforce, the savings can and should be a benefit to you.
5.Upgrade your home office experience.
Keeping yourself productive while transitioning between your home office and company office requires you to be organized and agile. The obvious solution is to designate a MacBook (or other laptop) to travel with you to your different work environments. But working from a MacBook can be limiting when you are toggling between multiple files, apps, or webpages. Adding a monitor, full-sized keyboard and mouse, and a hub to connect all the components will enable you to work more comfortably in your home office set-up.
At Mac Zen, we have created a Pro-Build Solution to help you ease the transition between working from home and working onsite. We provide you with all the components you need to expand your MacBook into a more professional home office.
This Pro-Build includes:
Best of all, we customize it to your specifications and install it for you so that everything runs seamlessly. If you find you are running out of storage space, ask us about adding in additional back-up solutions to your package.
We wish you well as we all transition to this new world of post-pandemic work. However Mac Zen can support your Apple IT needs, know that we are keen to help you wherever you are, from wherever we are.