Making Work From Home Permanent? Here Are 5 Things To Consider First

Whether businesses like it or not, the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light new discoveries about the workplace and sweeping changes in the working policies for their employees. Whereas before, employees are required to work in the office, now, it was found that it was possible that much of the jobs/roles that are done in the office can actually be accomplished – and with greater efficiency and productivity – in the home. 

Already, major companies like Twitter have announced permanent work from home status for their employees. Others will adopt a hybrid setup, with some days of the week WFH and the rest in the office. Many employees have already been informed about changes in work setups and are being given the option to work from home permanently.

If you are one of those employees who have been given the choice of permanent WFH, here are five important considerations that you need to think carefully about first.

1) Consider the best working conditions for you

The “WFH experiment” resulting from the pandemic has allowed employees to determine the conditions in which they work best. Many valued the elimination of the lengthy and tiring daily commute, so that they are able to put in a few more hours into their work and increase their productivity. 

On the other hand, there were some who found it difficult to adapt to WFH, especially the lack or poor access to company resources which are needed in the work assigned to them. Others could not cope with the isolation and not being with co-workers, which have led to incidences of fatigue and burnout.

If you have been on WFH status since the pandemic, analyze your working situation. Have you been more productive WFH? Do you work best alone at home? Or would you rather have the company of your co-workers and the office resources that are available to you? These are just a few of the questions that you need to ask yourself to determine what your best working conditions are.

2) Consider your home situation

You should also take into consideration your home situation. Take note that the boundary between your work and personal life is now practically non-existent. With WFH, you need to adjust your daily schedule so that it meets both your work and family obligations. If your kids are constantly barging into your teleconferences, you may need to get someone to take care of them during your work hours. If your spouse is WFH too, you may need to rearrange your schedules so that your work routines do not clash. For example, do not arrange conference calls when your spouse is concentrating on challenging work. You can also work out between you the scheduling of household chores.

3) Check your work station and Internet connection

If you are planning to make WFH permanent, then your work station should be a permanent spot too. If you have an extra room in your home, you can convert that into your personal office. Or a choose a spot with minimal household traffic. Never work in your bed as you might end up falling asleep and disrupt your productivity.

Make sure that your work station has all the necessary equipment you need, particularly a desktop computer/laptop with the software required by your company. You should also consider getting a good Internet connection. For simple office functions, such as email, audio conferencing, and social media, 2 Mbps on Speedtest is sufficient. If you will be dealing with large documents, videos (both for upload and download), and video conferencing, the ideal speed is 10 Mbps. If there are more people who are WFH, you will need a speed of 25 Mbps or higher. 

Take note that you need a secure connection. So, you should consider getting a VPN. In addition, if you will be dealing with sensitive documents, ask your boss if you will be using cloud storage.

4) Find and bond with your WFH community

WFH does not mean you should be alone. You can arrange for video chats with co-workers during coffee breaks. Try connecting with people in your field via LinkedIn and also with your existing clients in the company. Because quarantine protocols are slowly being lifted, consider having a face-to-face out hangout with your co-workers in a not-so-crowded restaurant or any place you enjoy.

5) Talk with your boss

It cannot be helped that you may have concerns about your job status if you work from home permanently. For this reason, it is best to talk with your boss and be open with him/her about your worries. Ask how you can meet the company goals when WFH. How will your job performance be measured? Unlike before, many WFH companies no longer count the number of hours an employee worked, but their work output instead. You can also ask how you can coordinate with co-workers who are also WFH and who will supervise your work. You should also ask your boss about his/her expectations. These expectations vary according to situation, such as during company video conferences, client meetings, team brainstorming sessions, and company events. 

Earlier we mentioned about your best working condition. If you feel that you will work best in the office, ask your boss if they will have an option for a hybrid status. You should also inquire if there will still be opportunities for growth within the company, even if you are WFH. This may include the offering of online courses which will allow you to develop new skills.

Last but certainly not least, you should definitely ask about how you will be compensated if you work from home. Many companies, such as Facebook, factor in cost-of-living per location. If you are a Facebook employee not living within the Silicon Valley area, you can expect your salary to be lower. In the same vein, if you have been previously working for your company in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area, a move to work remotely in Austin, Texas will also lead to a lower salary despite having the same job.

Make sure that you take these factors into serious consideration before making WFH permanent. While you may have ideal working conditions at home, you need to consider if you will still be getting the same income you had while working in the office and other equally important considerations.

If you’re looking for other resources on working from home, be sure to check out our Complete Guide To Working From Home to get you started!

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