For employers, supporting their workforce has become a crucial part of their business, perhaps like never before and in ways never previously countenanced.
In past times, getting permission and the necessary equipment to work from home was the primary challenge. More recently however, employers, managers and HR departments have had to focus on and support their workforce differently. For example, it is now a shared consideration (for employers and employees) to ensure employees’ loved ones are cared for. Also important is that the home work environment employees are now becoming accustomed to is sufficiently comfortable.
Emotional support and confidence, in a time when people are potentially more isolated than ever has become understandably important to so many. This means that when it comes to childcare for example, considerations are very different to what they were not so long ago.
Rather than simply being able to send children to school for the day, ensuring there is sufficient childcare in place in all circumstances is crucial to keeping parents’ minds occupied with their work rather than family and childcare concerns.
Family and Care Concerns
For many people new to working from home, a major change has been to the daily routine. For example, many people previously able to incorporate visiting loved ones such as parents as part of their daily or weekly routine are more constrained. This has also meant a surge in people having to juggle their work and family lives having to consider live in care (more information) for elderly loved ones who may otherwise be too vulnerable to visit.
For employees who are required to provide a degree (or total) care for a family member or loved one, live-in care is a logical consideration, as it provides both the care and company your loved one is likely to need and benefit from.
Thus, for those who may have gone to visit parents or other family members on the way to or from work, they may now have to factor this into their work day. This requires an increased degree of flexibility from employers, who need to be more understanding. This may for example mean someone working extended evening hours or starting earlier, to make up hours they are necessarily visiting family members during the day.
Physical and Mental Health
Physical and mental health are equally important when it comes to working from home. One cannot properly function and thrive without the other.
Making sure you take regular breaks and exercise regularly are key to remaining successful when working from home. In addition to this, keeping comfortable at home whilst working is more important than ever. This also means that it is a good opportunity to make your home more comfortable, perhaps warmer and more energy efficient whilst you spend more time at home than ever before.
Draught-proofing your home is a great way to improve the temperature control and comfort of working from home. The UK government have also recently announced an extension to their Green Homes Grant (find out more) to which homeowners may apply for funding for home improvements that help improve energy efficiency.
Making your home a comfortable environment in which you can comfortably and efficiently work is crucial. You should also think about taking regular breaks; something which may appear more difficult as work-life balance is more skewed than ever. Make sure you take a break every couple of hours and make sure that you work manageable hours as you normally would. This will benefit your mental health and will give you the time during which to exercise for your physical health.
Home Work Set Up
One of the most important factors to consider is your home work set up. Make sure that wherever possible, you have natural light coming into your work space and make sure there is sufficient space in which to work. This may require slight reconfigurations of a room if you live for example in a small apartment.
Making sure you have a comfortable and ergonomic chair, desk and computer set up with which to work is also very important. Your computer or laptop for example should be set up so that you sit with any screens at eye level, rather than having to look too far up or hunch down to it. many employers and workplaces can facilitate and sometimes even directly provide some or all of the necessary provisions for staff via their HR departments.