Sharyl Hudson Blog

WORK FROM HOME… We’ve virtually been in “lock-down” now for close to 3 months, and been VIRTUALLY communicating, going to school and working during this COVID climate. Some of us are working from home during these trying times, and some of us are simply home from work.

Those who work from home, and are lucky enough to be receiving a paycheque, seem quite happy to be at home, working. Some sceptics feel that working from home is not as productive, others feel that given the proper technology and whether or not the employee has a defined work space, people can be actually MORE productive.

In a recent blog written by a company called I DONE THIS, a privately held company in San Francisco specializing in “optimal team environments, human behavior and high productivity techniques” they describe the science behind distraction. ” Make an estimate on how many times you are distracted during an average work day. Now take that number and multiply by 25. That’s how many minutes of concentration you’re losing.” They also determine the recovery time after the period of distraction. “It takes an average of about 25 minutes (23 minutes and 15 seconds, to be exact) to return to the original task.”

There are many distractions in the public workspace. They include phone interruptions, impromptu conversations, “water cooler” talk, traffic, voices, eating, computers, elevators and pings from various cell phones. The list goes on and on. All of this “background noise” which we think we have grown accustomed to , is actually highly disruptive and plays on our ability as employees to concentrate on the task at hand.

In the private home arena, however, there is an opportunity to work, at the very least, with reduced distraction or rather “controlled” distraction. Some would argue that if you, for instance, have children at home that argument is problematic. However, if you are in lock down with children, you can still achieve a quiet workspace, with a bit of planning. For instance, if you set up structured times to be with your older children (very young children should never be left alone, even in the house) and set them up with their own routine (which could include virtual school time, virtual play and real play) you can have more control over the atmosphere in which you work and in which your children thrive. Controlled distraction makes for better concentration which ultimately translates into “productivity”. Children also benefit from a sense of security in this type of environment, especially when everything in the world right now seems upside down.

The down side of working from home? It could possibly mean that you never leave work…and so creating work boundaries might be necessary in such an environment. You may be tempted to login at midnight, but implementing structure to your work at home day is key. Learn to walk away!!!

The pandemic has pressed the fast forward button on the work-from-home idea. As we ease into the “new normal”, many of us will choose to remain in a work-from-home environment, and many employers will recognize the value in increased productivity and decreased “overhead” (bricks and mortar) .

Indeed working from home may become the wave of the future, so much so that TWITTER just announced on Tuesday May 12th that all of its employees will have the choice to continue to work at home after the Pandemic is over….

The future is now.

There’s no place like home!