Working from Home

The Covid 19 pandemic has had a strong impact on our lives, and obliged company employees to quickly transition to working from home. In Turkey, this shift was very rapid, and most companies were caught unprepared. The US Chamber of Commerce has published a work-from-home policy for its members. In brief, the policy provides the following seven recommendations:
  1. When conditions require your employees to work from home, quickly discuss this situation and all the necessities with your teams.
  2. Provide your teams with all the technical equipment necessary for working off-site (For example: laptops, chargers, monitors, smartphones and printers).
  3. Offer your employees remote working tools. (For example: access to shared drives and video conferencing apps)
  4. Clearly communicate your expectations to your employees. (For example: working hours, meeting programs, daily reporting policy)
  5. Adopt cyber security measures. (For example: what channel to use when talking about confidential data, or how to protect confidential files, etc.)
  6. Before the transition to working from home, run test connections if you have the possibility.
  7. When you transition to remote work, make sure not to leave out those employees who are not on your payroll or are placed outside of the organizational chart (e.g. interns, contracted employees, consultants)
Do you wonder how working from home affects productivity?
In recent weeks, the INSEAD Business School has published the results of a survey on working from home, which has become very widespread with the onset of the pandemic. Encompassing a total of 429 firms from 58 countries, the survey has yielded striking results:
  • Here are some figures about the impact of working from home on productivity.
  • 40% of respondents report an improvement in productivity
  • 37% state that there has been no increase or decrease
  • 23% of respondents indicate that their productivity has dropped
  • Those who report an increase in productivity when working remotely are mainly mid-level and senior managers, regardless of age, gender or industry.
  • There are differences due to geography in the responses to the productivity survey. It is considered that the differences in the shutting down of schools and in curfew policies may have an effect here.
  • 80% of respondents indicate that they have the necessary infrastructure and technical equipment for working from home.
  • Only 50% state that their immediate superiors have provided effective support during this process.
  • 63% say that their organization has established clear procedures during the transition and offered support throughout the process.
  • Only 33% are worried about how their performance will be evaluated while working from home.
  • Those who can create an appropriate work environment at home indicate that they now strike a better balance between their private and business lives, and work productively.
  • Issues that have a negative effect on productivity include reduced social interaction with colleagues and various sources of distraction at home.
  • Companies which were suddenly forced to shift to work from home must start planning for digitalizing their business processes as soon as possible by using video chat and similar popular tools, if they have not already done so.
The INSEAD report ends with precious advice for executives:
  1. Even though video conferences are crucial, in consideration of the elements which may distract your employees at home, you may also opt for a working system based on shared files.
  2. Owing to the adverse impact of being isolated at home, the organization should also organize social video connections, not for business purposes but rather for bolstering the team spirit.
  3. Working hours should be taken into consideration during communication and employees’ private time should be respected
  4. Executives may utilize this period in order to hone their written communication skills. It is necessary to avoid ambiguous phrases so as to manage teamwork in an effective and productive manner, and to state clearly what is expected from teams in various matters.
  5. Your company of course has a formal organization chart, but work-from-home logs may also be effective in clearly showing you the true communication network in your company, as well as who works in a more effective and productive fashion. In the light of this information, you may see clearly who is of critical importance for your organization. Who knows, you may even obtain critical information which may result in revisions to your organization.
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