So last week, I was meeting up with a friend who lives in London. She was visiting Nigeria, she was not on vacation, she would be working from home. Everytime, we spoke or planned to meet during the week, we were mindful of her work schedule. It was break time or after work.
Last year, I went visiting a friend at her home in London, she was working from home. When I knocked on her front door, she opened it promptly and went back to her seat quickly. She was attending to colleagues virtually and when she finished she stayed put on her seat. After about an hour, I left, she saw me off to the door and literally ran back to her seat.
Last March, when the pandemic forced many of us to embrace working from home, there was a deadline to deliver a client report by noon. I got carried away and didn’t follow up with the consultant.
By night time, I noticed the report wasn’t in, so I called the consultant responsible, his response was, ‘oh sorry, I have been out all day, I will send it unfailingly tonight, no matter how late.’ It was a rude shock to hear that on a weekday when he would normally be in the office, he was boldly proclaiming he had been out all day.
I waited 3 days. I couldn’t reach him by phone. On the third day, I sent an email asking if he was ok as I was about to declare him MIA. He responded casually, that his phone was bad. I shook my head.
So when last week, a friend called me frustrated after speaking to a colleague who was working from home, I could empathise.
Her office runs a rotational work-from-home schedule, one day on and one day off. Days on are spent working from the office while days off are spent working from home. She had a work deadline and she had just called her colleague whose report she expected to have received. Her colleague’s response was, ‘please let me send the report tomorrow, today is my off day.’
I was invited to speak to a team on sustaining their productivity by successfully working from home.
From experience and findings, some of the most important elements to successfully working from home are the home environment the employee works from. Whether they have a conducive space and equipment.
Do they have a quiet space, desk, and ‘non-back breaking’ chair?
Do they have access to power supply?
Are there clear expectations when working from home?
Is there a clear work-from-home policy?
Are employees still time-bound to fixed working hours or are work hours fluid?
Working from home requires a new set of behavioural competencies like integrity, time management and self-motivation. Does the employee have the right attitude to work?
Some people will work better from home than others. My Executive Assistant is the epitome of working from home but I have worked with others who struggle.
Find out what obstacles impede successful working from home and devise strategies to tackle them. Working from home is here to stay.
What’s been your best or worst #workingfromhome experience?