Organizational, communication and even journey management tools are among those that can be used to maintain team productivity and reap the benefits of home office for the company. In this article we will provide you the definition of home office
A few years ago, the home office began to grow and has already broken records in Brazil. There are different reasons that contribute to this change, but it is crisis situations – such as the one caused by covid-19 – that impose this change. But, how to deal with it without causing damage?
It is true that not all professions or activities allow the option for the home office. When this change is possible, whether in the interests of the company and its employees, or for an eventual need, it is necessary to know how to proceed.
Some workers have it easier than others when it comes to working from home. Therefore, we dedicate this post to clarifying some doubts, talking about teleworking in times of crisis and giving productivity tips.
What is the home office and how popular is it?
In free translation into Portuguese, home office means “work at home”, a modality also known as telework or remote work.
It is the situation in which the employee carries out his activities without being in the company.
It is important to point out that home office is not the same thing as external work. The external worker also carries out his activities outside the company, but this is another modality.
Let’s take an example: an architect employed in an architectural office can be assigned to work externally, monitoring works on a daily basis. This is different from working from home or another suitable location.
Often, those who work from home work in an office set up at home, but it is possible that professionals choose, for example, to work in a coworking – the name given to shared offices.
In times of crisis, such as the one caused by the spread of covid-19, the home office is, in fact, working from home. After all, the proposal is social distancing, in order to contain contamination.
In other cases, however, the home office can be combined with face-to-face work. This is what happens in companies that adopt a hybrid modality in which their employees spend part of the week at the office and part working from their homes.
The increase in the number of professionals working from home
Home office work is nothing new in the world. Some countries that have more flexible policies, such as the Scandinavians, are used to this reality for a longer time, but the modality has been growing in a generalized way.
According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), 3.8 million Brazilians were already working from home in the country in 2018.
The amount corresponds to 5.2% of Brazilian workers , excluding public servants and domestic workers.
To give you a clearer idea, from 2012 to 2018, the number of Brazilians working from home increased by 44.4% . This is a record for the country.
Among the factors that led to this reality is the economic recession that increased informality ― and opened space for activities that can be carried out from home ― in addition to changes in labor legislation.
Before the Labor Reform ― Law No. 13,467 ―, there was no legal provision for the home office, only an opening for employers and employees to seek some kind of agreement.
Since the approval of the new text, also called the new CLT , in 2017, there is a contractual provision for the home office.
With this, companies and workers have rules that protect them, which can be understood as an incentive for remote work to be adopted.
Tips for working from home in times of crisis
Now that you know what a home office is, we want to share some ideas that are important for those who need to work from home due to a crisis.
Something that includes bosses and managers who need to go through the reality of running their companies from a distance.
That’s because not everyone handles the idea of working from home well — while some employees feel lost, some leaders fear losing control .
For all this, we think it’s worth separating some tips that can be useful for those who have never worked from home or for those who don’t adapt well to this scenario.
1. Communicate the reason for the change
Focusing on positive thoughts or a “change of mind ” is not enough for anyone to manage at home.
The suggestion to keep in mind the reason for the change is applied to avoid excessive discouragement.
A crisis that forces many people to work from home, such as the new coronavirus, can create in some a resistance to work or the idea that the home office can work.
Thus, the manager and other company leaders have the role of informing and reinforcing with their employees the reason for moving to the home office.
The idea is to present it as something necessary capable of preventing the worsening of a crisis.
In-person communications before the move, emails, institutional videos and even WhatsApp messages, if this is an officially used means of company communication, are capable of handling the task.
2. Inform about the advantages
The home office has advantages for both the company and the employees. As a manager, you need to know that you benefit because, based on research conducted by Indeed, having employees work from home leads to:
For employees, the benefits revolve around issues such as:
With all this, at least for as long as working from home is a reality imposed by the crisis, the tip is to try to focus on these and other favorable points that each one identifies from their own experience.
The goal is to increase the chances that everyone handles work done at home well, without forgetting that facing the home office is not a reason not to work.
3. Bet on ways to safely circumvent isolation
For employees, the lack of contact with colleagues is one of the negative points that the home office can have.
Those who follow an office routine are used to “chatting” with colleagues or even turning to them in case of doubts or problems.
For managers, being away from their teams is something that can translate into a feeling of inability to keep up with the development of tasks.
Something that, in turn, generates insecurity regarding the achievement of goals and the results that will be achieved.
In the home office, especially in times of crisis that demand isolation, contact is greatly reduced, but it doesn’t have to be non-existent.
Communication tools via audio or video can be used to facilitate conversations, carry out group tasks and even create a sense of closeness.
4. Encourage the organization to contain distractions
In the office, the use of communication tools, social networks connected to the cell phone and even informal conversations with colleagues can be a source of distraction for everyone. At home, the challenge tends to be greater.
The lack of direct contact with colleagues can provoke the idea that it is necessary to try ways of contacting the “external world” in any way.
The same goes for managers who feel they need to know, at all times, how each of their subordinates is doing.
To deal with this situation share tips such as:
- reduce application usage;
- avoid working from the couch or with the TV on;
- establish working hours for yourself;
- communicate to residents about the schedule so that everyone does their best to respect the work routine at home.
5. Bet on communication channels
Use remote communication tools, even e-mail fulfills this function, to request information about the progress of work and share instructions.
Take advantage of these channels to ask about the experience of each professional and, if necessary, share information, tips and practices that can be adopted to make working from home easier.
This communication is also important to offer support to those who have greater difficulties with the home office.
In this modality, some people end up disrespecting their own limits and working exhaustively – something that can compromise their mental health and even affect the quality of the service performed.
With that in mind, it should be made clear that the employer’s expectation is not that every employee deprives himself of rest or leisure following the idea that those who work from home need to do more to show service.
The adoption of tools that favor productivity contribute to ensuring that tasks are accomplished without the home office necessarily resulting in extreme wear and tear.
Something that needs to be clear to managers and employees, especially when it’s a crisis that causes a temporary shift to working from home.
The role of HR in the home office in times of crisis
Regardless of the moment, your company’s Human Resources (HR) will play an important role in managing telework.
Issues such as the rights of those who work from home , for example, need to be clear to the professionals in the department.
In times of crisis, the role of HR expands and goes through providing important instructions on how to work from home, in addition to being available to help with questions or difficulties during the period of change.
Still, it is up to the company’s HR to share information on how to proceed in the face of the crisis in question.
Following the new coronavirus as an example, it is the department’s role to remind employees of the importance of avoiding agglomerations and other risky behaviors.
After all, when the home office is necessary because of a crisis, all everyone wants is for the problem to be resolved as soon as possible. And, as far as possible, that professional activities are maintained.
In other words, the role of HR can help prevent company employees from becoming infected and putting their families and society at risk.
As a “bonus”, they can maintain their professional routine even if in a different environment because home office is, in fact, a type of work.
Tools to maintain productivity at home office
The theory that it is possible to maintain contact and productivity at work from home has already been put forward. For you to understand that this is really possible in practice, nothing fairer than presenting some tools for home office.
In this way, you will better understand what kind of technology you have available to manage the company remotely and so that employees can manage their work routines well.
Google Docs ― spreadsheets, presentations, etc.
Is your company already part of those that use Google Docs ? It is a tool from Google for creating and sharing text documents, spreadsheets and others.
A document created by GDocs can be edit-enabled by someone who is involved in the same project and only for viewing by those who need to check the information but not change it.
Namely, the text document platform is very similar to Word and the spreadsheet platform is similar to Excel.
The main advantage of the service is in the cloud storage that prevents spaces from being occupied on each user’s computers and also facilitates access to the documents created.
Skype, Hangouts, Zoom and the like ― video conferences
Remember how we mentioned video communication to facilitate group work or promote a sense of closeness? For this, there are different services that can be used, among them are Skype , Google Hangouts and Zoom .
All these home office tools allow a videoconference to be held, which indicates the possibility of a conversation involving multiple participants and not just two.
Another point that deserves to be highlighted is the possibility of screen sharing with the participants of the call.
The manager, for example, can share the screen of his notebook with the employees to show data or any other information that is relevant.
Also, these tools allow the entire conversation to be recorded. Thus, it is possible to forward the recording to those who were unable to participate or who eventually needed to be updated on the subject addressed.
Slack, Microsoft Teams and more ― communication
Communication between teams or even between the manager and his subordinates is crucial for the progress of home office work.
For that, there are specific tools like Jivochat , Slack and Microsoft Teams that can help.
In a simplified way, we can say that these tools avoid any distractions caused by the use of WhatsApp since it is not just professional issues that gain space in the application.
Furthermore, having a specific service for communication is more practical than always relying on video tools.
Being at home, no one wants to spend their entire working period being “watched” by colleagues, including because the home office makes room for flexible schedules and others.
So JivoChat, Slack, and Microsoft Teams translate into home office tools that are efficient and less intrusive than video calling. In addition, JivoChat also allows you to centralize both internal communication and customer contact in the same application.