Home office efficiently and reliably

Zdenka Zugarkova
April 2, 2020

Home office (HO, for short) or remote work has traditionally been used mostly in professions such as IT, management, editorial, etc. In most cases, home office is offered as a long distance benefit in job applications. But it can be used in situations where the working from an office is not possible for whatever reason.

How is home office perceived by employees and employers?

Employees will probably see home office as an advantage. First, there is the obvious privilege of being able to do their job from anywhere, permitting them the option of choosing places they feel secure and comfortable. With home office, time and costs for getting to work are eliminated. Another advantage for someone is that they have their own space and nobody is disturbing them. Their colleagues will not disturb them (e.g. with phone calls, discussions, music). For the present situation with Covid-19 in particular, HO seems to be more useful than ever when precautionary cautions are being taken across the globe to limit personal contact and prevent spreading of the disease. There is also more flexibility when it comes to organizing their work schedule in a way that fits their own needs - for example, if they are more productive in the evening they can finish their work at night (this however depends on the employer's regulations and agreements).

For employers there are several advantages:

  • Savings in operating costs 
  • Less sick notes from employees
  • Employees don’t need to take time off for things that would require them to be at home, such as inspections, taking care of family members, etc.
  • Employees can work in an environment which helps expand their creativity (useful for art, marketing positions)
  • New possibilities to employ qualified people who are not able to work in an office due to some limitations (disability, maternity leave, long distance)
  • Employees are more likely to be willing to work with light illness from home than to sit in their office with colleagues

Not everything is as good as it seems

During HO, there are situations that can hinder productivity. If an employee is a “newbie” in HO, they might face difficulty figuring out how to divide the personal and working part of the day. Without clear boundaries around this, an employees time can decrease in value. On one hand an employee might start to do the job at the expense of their personal life. On the other, they might give preferences to their own personal life and fail to finish their work. Finding a healthy work-life balance is critical for anyone working from home, and employers are aware of this - an employer doesn’t want an employee who slacks off or hasn’t delineated their work schedule, but neither do they want someone who takes 12 hours to churn out the same amount of work another employee can do in 6 hours. A common trend is that other issues (personal, medical, family) build up and a burnout syndrome begins to develop, at which point a company can lose a key employee

The main reason why employers avoid the HO benefit is the feel of losing the control over what the employees are working on and not having a clear overview of how things are proceeding. If an employee works in an office for the whole 8 hours as usual and has nothing to show for it, it’s easy to keep track of productivity. When employees work from home, the same degree of oversight isn’t possible. This is exactly what the employers are afraid of – they need the supervise that their team is working how it's supposed to and have a clear sense of what they are working on.

How to make home office more efficient?

The essential thing for HO when it comes to achieving the best results is to set clear rules and find an appropriate tracking tool. In this tool (or application) the employers have non-stop surveillance (anytime and everywhere) of everybody's work and how long the work takes them – even without the long meetings and information. On the other hand the employees know what they will have to work on, when the task needs to be completed, and what additional steps to do. Just choose yourself – continue as you did before, OR increase your productivity using tools for process management.

Home office with ApuTime

In our current situation, for employees it is necessary to have clear knowledge of their work assignment. They need to know what they should work on and when it needs to be completed. Also, for management it is crucial to have access to the most current information of the progress of each contract. Time wasted organizing meetings, delegating tasks, and dealing with employees who haven’t met a deadline ends up costing a company money.

The best solution is to prioritize locating key processes and integrate them into mind maps that account for every process so employees know which tasks are their responsibility. The purpose behind Aputime is simplify the management of a company by giving them control over the key components. From mind maps the app makes the work schedule for each solver individually. Each change that happens will be reflected in an automatic recalculation of the work schedule, which itself is always seeking the most efficient and effective overall harmony across processes.

For employees on HO, the key is to know what to work on. For managers it is necessary to have an overview of all employee tasks and how they connect to the progress of each individual contract. All this can be handled with the ApuTime app. We will take a look at how it works in practice in our next article.

Try ApuTime free on www.aputime.com

What do you think about home office? Are their benefits to adopting this style of work in your company? Share your opinion with us in the comments.

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