Are we working from home or instead living permanently at work?
Remote work has never been more common than it is today. The COVID-19 pandemic has obliged companies worldwide to adopt work from home. However, what at first sight may seem commonplace has brought to light issues that require our attention: lack of social interaction, work overload, imbalanced private-work life, unhealthy lifestyle, gender inequality, only to name a few.
Working From Home Is Reshaping the Way We Work
As soon as the spread of COVID-19 was recognized as a pandemic, organizations did their best to follow governments’ recommendations in what comes to comply with social distancing measures and other policies, in which work from home was included. Still, while many were able to provide this option for their employees, many companies in industries, as for example, health care, retail, transport, and retail industries could not.
For those who in the meanwhile embraced remote working, while at first many have enjoyed this new way of working, others soon started to find it stressful and continuously challenging to such an extent of intending to stop working remotely once the pandemic is over, either going back to the office or even creating their own businesses.
Tips for Becoming a Successful Remote Worker
It is a fact that remote working is not suitable for everyone. It requires professionals that gather specific skills and character traits. Besides, even though they might look similar, working from home in times of COVID-19 differs a lot from remote working in normal circumstances.
Remote working offers many pros and cons; however, a successful remote worker should gather certain qualities.
10 Essential Qualities of an Effective Remote Worker
- Self-disciplined and focused
- Reliable and accountable
- Organized and able to manage time properly
- Autonomous and with decision-making skills (that is, able to work and solve problems without regular supervision)
- Resourceful and attentive to detail
- With written and verbal communication skills
- Sharp with technology
- Be OK working alone without having much contact with other people
If you have all these qualities, then remote working is made for you. If you do not, there is no reason to worry. While remote working is a different approach to get things done than when you are not in the office, working from home is, or, at least should be, a temporary situation. If remote working is not a perfect fit, knowing the best practices will help you easily identify the areas you have more difficulties in to keep working and developing them throughout your career.
How Teleworking Is Impacting Our Happiness and Well-being
The current remote working has emphasized the lack of regulation in this field in many countries. These are now discussing how to implement working policies as well as how to better remote working conditions.
When lockdowns started, employees spent their own money to turn their houses into offices; still, many kept reporting increased productivity levels while working from home. At first, most organizations underestimated the seriousness of the situation, thinking that the virus would not be around for long, and forgot to put people first: no measures to support employees performing home working was taken (as, for instance, the purchase of IT and software tools, nor the provision of proper work furniture such as desks and office chairs), nor did they consider developing long-term strategies to protect the physical and mental health of employees.
Now that remote work is often said to be the future, companies have the chance to make things right and be exciting new businesses that put people at the forefront.
Why Businesses Need to Invest More in Cybersecurity
Plus, besides the numerous technical and structural problems, COVID-19 has been taking a toll on organizational cybersecurity processes. With the surge of remote work, many businesses became more vulnerable to cyberattacks. While in the office is relatively easy to comply with the most current security measures, ensuring that data is being used adequately when working from home is a much more difficult task. Cybercriminals are aware of the opportunities that arise from vulnerable data protection systems and are starting to taking advantage of them. Hence, investment in cybersecurity and ongoing IT support is critical for organizations worldwide: making sure employees have the latest software installed or have their antivirus and firewall updated, among others. Even though it might be a bit expensive, it is a long-term investment with immediate short-term gains.
Will the Future of Work Be Hybrid?
The pandemic is changing nearly every single aspect of the way we live our lives and work, and it seems it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Since working from home will never be the best solution for everyone, remote working may lie in a hybrid work model, partly remotely, partly on-site. Still, one thing is undeniable: There is plenty of work to be done to design a hybrid future in which diversity, inclusion, fairness, and equality are core values.
This article was originally published in December 2020 on HR.com (Workforce Management, Time & Attendance, Excellence Magazine).