More than 80 percent of the Dutch wants to continue working from home at least one day a week, even after the intelligent lockdown, according to our recent survey. Some companies have even discovered in recent months that they don't need the office at all. Het Financieel Dagblad portrayed the story of three companies that have canceled the lease of their office. It concerns software company Typeqast, streaming platform Jet-Stream and digital healthcare institution Ksyos.
All three companies come from an industry where almost all work is done digitally. They can easily miss their office without loss of production. For the time being they are an exception. Ksyos is by far the largest of the three with 115 employees. When added together, this is only a fraction of all Dutch office jobs that are now 100% "home jobs". There is no question of a massive farewell to the office. The office offers too much what teleworking cannot replace.
Time, attention and good agreements
The media mainly talks about the benefits of working from home, such as less traffic jams and a better work-life balance. If any disadvantages are highlighted, they are mainly of a practical nature. Think of problems logging into the company network or hiccups during video calling. Much less is it about disadvantages of a human nature. What effect does working from home have on our (emotional) well-being, the feeling of commitment to our work, our colleagues and the company? How do we make sure that we not only do what we have to do, but still enjoy it?
With some time, attention and good agreements, all of this is achievable. Five tips for the perfect work balance between home and office:
1. Be clear and complete in all communications
One of the main drivers of good cooperation is communication. Clear agreements about this are essential. Make sure that you as a team consult with each other on a regular basis and discuss matters that need to be heard by all team members during this consultation. If one of the team members is unable to attend and cannot wait for the meeting, make sure that this team member is personally informed later.
2. Provide the right tools for everyone
Collaboration with only access to e-mail and a standard Microsoft Office package is no longer sufficient. What you need are the right tools. Think of Teams, Zoom, Trello, Mirro, Canvas and Whiteboard. Avoid duplication, miscommunication and frustration by first determining as a team which digital tools best suit your work. Make sure everyone has access to the same tools, but also that everyone can work with them.
3. Create etiquette for digital encounters
Virtual contact is not the same as a physical meeting. There is a difference in the processing of information in the brain. This has a direct effect on collaboration. Therefore, create etiquette for digital team meetings. Look for a good frequency where you find the balance between quantity and quality. Stick to the start and end times. Isn't everything covered? Then schedule a follow-up appointment. Certainly do not continue when one or more participants can no longer participate.
4. Allow for social interaction
Research shows that we would also like to work from home more after the corona crisis. Yet there is certainly still a need to come to the office, especially to meet each other. This is important for the feeling of being a part of something, building and maintaining a bond with colleagues. Virtual meetings cannot replace that. If we spend less time in the office, this requires an approach that fits the culture of the company and specifically that of the team. If you have a day when you come to the office as a team, don't plan it completely full of work sessions, meetings, and other business activities. Allow room for social interaction. Many good ideas arise spontaneously, at the coffee machine or the printer. Regularly talk about (common) interests or other non-work-related topics. Humor, success and loss all connect.
5. Stay committed to the corporate culture
Company culture is becoming more important to an employer by the day. It plays a crucial role in the assessment of whether an employee wants to (continue to) work for an organization and feels connected to the organization and colleagues. Especially for the younger generations. Normally, culture is most strongly experienced in the office or in the vicinity of colleagues. The more you work at a distance from each other, the more difficult it becomes to hold that feeling. This is incorporated in all the aforementioned tips. Make sure that everything that was previously an important part of the corporate culture is reflected in the agreements you make with each other about working remotely.
Don't ignore the human aspect
Work seems childishly simple these days: give us a laptop, provide an internet connection and we can get started. But then we completely ignore the human aspect. We have to make new agreements about how we work together as a team and what we need from each other for that. Culture, tools and communication are the common thread. Record the agreements in a team manifest. This way you ensure the perfect balance between home and office.
What does more working from home mean for your accommodation, your employees and the total office space requirement of your organization? Determining the new balance between working from home and office is decisive for this. We can help you give substance to the new reality. We do this with our CIAO app, which has been developed to safely manage office occupancy. More information can be found on our working from home website.