Home office work: How can it be structured productive and fulfilling?

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Home office work: How can it be structured productive and fulfilling?

13.01.2022

Do you also currently work in the home office? Are you only well aware of these or similar occurrences at work: Already in the morning your concentration level is at a minimum, your back hurts after sitting on dining room chairs for a long time or you only understand a fraction of what is said in the meeting because the technology is once again causing problems?

Since the end of the home office era is not yet in sight, it makes sense to take a closer look at how to make your working day more productive and fulfilling.

What do we recommend?

1. Create adequate workplace conditions

Make sure you have good basic equipment and, if not offered anyway, ask for support from your employer. This includes: The hardware and software, an ergonomic chair, a telephone – preferably in the form of a headset. You should also consider subtleties: Is your desk/chair the right height? Is your internet running stably? Can you separate your workplace from other areas of your private life with room dividers?

2. Encourage social interaction

Managers should realise that personal conversations and fun can and should also find a place on the digital platform. Share with your team how you feel about the home office so that together you can always improve this way of working for you.

We recommend that all participants in virtual meetings (e.g. via MS Teams or Zoom) turn on the camera so that they also have visual contact and feel more connected. Meeting etiquette also states that bosses should not be silent participants in meetings either. People often write emails on the side or make visible phone calls with the microphone off. It is not appreciative, distracts the other meeting participants and also conveys the confusing message that real focus is neither desired nor necessary.

All in all, it is important to enhance the home office “togetherness” as before in the office by offering formats with an entertaining aspect. Time should be planned for informal contacts and also certain rituals, such as specific appointments for virtual coffee or a short joint office gymnastics session.

3. Pay attention to mental health

The current transformation in the world of work also has an impact on mental health. Companies have the task of taking preventive action here. For this reason alone, managers should also insist on visual contact with their employees. The often undesirable view into the private sphere can be avoided by a virtual background. For example, the company’s own pictures including logo can be used here. In any case, this makes it easier to detect if there are strong fluctuations in performance or mood, social withdrawal, increased aggression, or other changes in behaviour.

It can also be helpful for employees if the company works with organisations that offer support anonymously. This allows the employee to receive professional coaching in a safe space or to participate in virtual group coaching sessions, while the company receives the bill for this without naming the employee.

4. Encourage work performance and creativity

Research shows that opportunities for creative exchange and the development of ideas are particularly lacking in the home office. The development of creative thoughts and the emergence of new ideas and solutions obviously thrives very clearly on exchange and interaction with colleagues in the office. Nevertheless, other studies show that ideas are generated to the same extent in video conferences as in creative meetings on site.

This supports the above thesis that video calls should always be preferred to purely voice exchanges and that improved communication techniques including creative tools (such as Miro, Mural, Conceptboard) should be used in general. This promotes a good and connected exchange so that new ideas can emerge anywhere and at any time, thus significantly increasing work performance.

5. Motivate for meaningfulness and motivational work

Given the fact that employees currently contribute to the company mainly from their private homes, make sure that you define clear goals within your teams, but also for each individual. In this way, you will increase the meaningfulness of your employees’ work and also significantly increase their satisfaction and loyalty to the company.

What advantages do you gain by following five measures?

The home office situation is becoming more and more common, but it is not only a matter of encouraging functioning, but also of making work as fulfilling and productive as possible for employees and employers alike. By creating adequate workplace conditions, maintaining social interaction, paying attention to mental health, promoting work performance and creativity and, last but not least, stimulating a sense of purpose and motivation, we predict significant increases in satisfaction, efficiency and productivity among your employees.

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