To curb the spread of the coronavirus as early as March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised the public to work from home if possible.
Almost half (46.6%) of all employed persons performed at least some work at home in the following month, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – many have set up a home office for the first time.
Over nine months later, many employees will enter the new year and still work from their kitchen tables or bedrooms, while some are unlikely to ever return to the office full time.
Dr. Alan Redman, an organizational psychologist, said policy makers and employers need to ensure that employees are fully equipped to work from home over the long term.
“The big picture is actually that corporations, governments and employers need to make sure that the skills are in place for people who work from home, such as fast broadband,” he told PA News Agency.
“Employers who save money in offices should spend money on staff furnishing at home.”
He said while some organizations may welcome all employees back to the office once a vaccine is fully implemented, he believes that most will have a “more balanced view” and only need a few days a week.
In order to be able to work remotely in the long term, Dr. Redman, if possible, set up office space at home to improve focus and concentration.
For employees who have problems at home due to lack of space, e.g. B. in shared apartments, he recommended talking to your employer about potentially more flexible working hours.
Dr. Nick Taylor, co-founder and executive director of Unmind platform for mental health in the workplace, suggested that workers use the New Year as an opportunity to reassess their area of work.
“Even if it is not possible to find a new job, there is a lot that people can do in the long term to adapt to working conditions from home,” he said.
“Whether you’re taking a walk before and after work to mirror a commute or making sure email notifications are turned off outside of business hours, finding the right balance is key to successful remote work in the coming months. “
Dr. Not only did Taylor set up a suitable workplace, but he also emphasized the importance of focusing on physical health and mental well-being when working from home.
Measures to improve this could include investing in a supportive chair or computer stand to improve your posture, which can increase overall well-being and productivity.
Dr. Taylor warned against the temptation to “revise” at work from home because our “work and personal life has become increasingly blurred” – which could lead to employee burnout.
“When senior corporate members send and reply to e-mails frequently outside of business hours, more junior employees may feel pressured to do the same, which leads to work-life balance and burnout,” he said.
In the meantime, Dr. Redman that many employees are likely to lack the interaction and personal side of their job.
“The focus is often on missing family, missing friends, but in fact, work is a pretty important source of emotional support for many people,” said Dr. Redman.
“They get something special or different than what they get from their friends and families.”
Business psychologist and coach Jess Baker suggested other ways to stay in touch with those who may be uncomfortable with video calls.
“When you want to make Zoom calls, it’s nice to be able to see each other. But how about you have a call but in fact you are both out at the same time,” she said.
“It could be a 25 minute walk and conversation. You both leave the house, you both get some fresh air, you’re still catching up.
“But you don’t look at yourself awkwardly, you don’t analyze yourself excessively, and you don’t have to get dressed and try to impress.”