During 2020, not a lot of people were used to the idea of working from home, even less to the idea of freelancing. Although present in today’s society, it was something that was not as palpable in the lives of people as it is now in 2021, thanks to the whole situation regarding COVID-19 and the quarantine.
How COVID-19 Affected People in a Professional Level
An undeniable truth that had fallen upon is that a lot of people had lost their jobs due to the circumstances of the world and the way lockdowns affected multiple businesses in several countries.
Of course, this meant that businesses, companies, brands, and people, had to adapt themselves and their capabilities to face the situation feasibly while generating a certain level of profit.
Sadly, not many people were capable of handling the change, mostly because not everyone had the capabilities or mindset to become freelancers or work from home. For example, a cook or waitress (at least for now) cannot do their job from home, while a graphic designer, writer, programmer or teacher, can.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, and a little bit of creativity and understanding of new technologies can go a long way when it comes to adapting your skills to today’s circumstances.
The Path Towards Adaptation
One of the many aspects of the journey towards adaptation was understanding the importance of technology for communication, organization, documentation, delegation, and production.
Lots of companies had to update their processes to reach a new level of communication that, before COVID-19, could be considered unnecessary. For example, daily meetings could take from 15 to 30 and only needed people to enter a meeting place in which they could share their ideas and discuss goals and problems.
Now, the implementation of software like Zoom or Slack is more present than ever, and hiring different services that could help with the implementation of these technologies, is, in a way, essential for small companies that are struggling to keep up. A good example of this would be how G12 Communications phone systems help companies with the implementation of Microsoft Teams, software that focuses on video conferences, meetings, and calls.
These technologies also changed the way meetings are done, how leadership is performed, how changes and information are documented, and how different tasks inside of a company are delegated for the sake of improving production levels.
In Which Way Companies are Managing Their Employees
It is also important to note that there are certain rules or methodologies, so to speak, that companies, group leaders, and employees are applying to ensure that processes are running smoothly. Some of these methodologies include:
- A smooth level of communication and information flow: Regular communication and daily meetings are being adapted to different processes inside of a company.The need to remain connected is essential to ensure that every aspect inside of a company is being handled properly, and this not only means that members of a team should regularly communicate their progress and struggles, it also means that different teams should communicate regularly to ensure that the whole structure of the company is not being threatened.For that reason, a leader figure is required to keep the organization on a healthy level and ensure that everyone is handling their responsibilities properly, while also shifting the focus of productivity in case it is necessary.
- A much clearer way of communication: Now, more than ever, due to the circumstances of the world and the way technology is being used to communicate, being able to share comprehensive ideas and convey clear expectations, is absolutely necessary to ensure that a team is efficiently working towards a specific goal.
- Constant Monitoring of Productivity: Considering that a lot of companies are new to this whole working-from-home phenomenon, the need to regularly monitor the productivity of employees and teams have become necessary to ensure that goals are being met.Of course, this also means that, when results are not being satisfactory, changes should be made to ensure that employees are more comfortable and productive with their working environment.
This can be complicated to achieve, but it is certainly doable when data is properly managed, which is the reason why documentation and organization are so important.
If you are interested in more information regarding this aspect of business management, you can check out this article over here. Ideally, companies should be able to assess their circumstances and decide whether they are capable of handling the changes themselves or hire a professional service provider to aid them during the implementation of these methodologies, and of course, new technologies, to fulfill their goals and expectations.
As shown earlier, several service providers out there are capable of aiding businesses with various of their processes, from improving the communication inside of the company to automating various of their processes, and even improving their customer relationship management.
This is the reason why a lot of providers bloomed during 2020, and the changes they brought to the table are certainly still present even today.
Adapting to Working from Home on a More Personal Level
Now that we talked about the process of adaptation companies and businesses had to partake in to ensure that they could handle the changes brought by COVID-19, why don’t we talk about the adaptation process people had to engage in to manage these changes?
Although some people perceived the whole “home office” deal with positive remarks, some people struggled with it, and considering that most people were accustomed to the idea of working from an office, it is understandable.
Now, a lot of people didn’t have to commute to their jobs, which could save them a lot of money and time every month. This was definitely perceived by a lot of people as a positive trait of working from home. However, this also meant that people had to engage their lives with much more discipline, organizing their time to engage their responsibilities properly.
Waking up at specific times, dealing with daily activities such as bathing, dressing up and preparing breakfast, and of course, being able to remain productive while working, were some of the struggles people had. Problems regarding mental health, depression, and loneliness (mostly caused by the lockdown and the inability to socialize) heavily influenced these aspects of working from home since it greatly reduced their productivity and motivation.
There’s also the fact that, sadly, some specific companies abuse the freedom people have in their houses to put under a lot of pressure regarding goals and expectations, and also, believe that they should always be available to deal with any situation that could arise.
I have witnessed this problem with a colleague of mine that works for a software development company that, at times, puts him under a lot of pressure, with unbelievable expectations, and with little to no respect for his time. Although this has improved over time, it is indeed the truth that a lot of companies out there fall under this abusive pattern.
These are some of the reasons why some people struggle with the adaptation of home office jobs. But what about the good?
The Happiness Behind Freedom
Not everything is bad when it comes to working from home. One of the traits of working from home, as mentioned earlier, is the fact that you lose less time and money commuting to work. Although for some people this is not a real game-changer, for others, this can greatly influence their level of happiness regarding their jobs.
However, I would dare to say that one of the most notable benefits of working from home and being a freelancer is the level of freedom you have. I work as a freelancer, and I can tell that being able to work at any given time as long as I fulfill specific milestones each day, is indeed a blessing.
There’s also the fact that freedom can be translated in many ways. I often work using a working methodology known as Pomodoro, for example.
A Pomodoro can be described as a 25 minutes timeframe in which I solely focus on work without any form of distraction, then after the time passes, I have a 5 minutes rest in which I can do anything that could help me relieve some of my stress or exhaustion. After resting, I engage in another Pomodoro, and the methodology goes on until I finish my 4th Pomodoro, which comes with a 15 minutes rest.
The thing is since I work in my room, I can actually do anything I want. This englobes things like doing a small exercising routine in my living room after I have finished a Pomodoro, playing a mobile game on my phone, checking social media, answering messages, or just eating a quick snack. Something I could never do inside of an office!
This level of freedom has granted me a whole new level of happiness that no other work environment could provide, and I’m sure a lot of people feel the same.
Keeping Productivity Up
One of the most common struggles people have with working from home is the inability to remain productive. Productivity is often linked to various aspects of time management, but it is indeed true that having the right mindset goes a long way. Ideally, you should adapt your lifestyle to the type of work you do and your type of personality.
First of all, people need to understand that not everyone is great at working during the mornings, while others are not as great during the day. I am a person that can be considered a night owl, so I tend to spread my work during the day and go hard at night.
Managing your employees working is such a beneficial way for your business. But when you are tracking your employees’ computers with computer tracking software while they are working from home, you can monitor their work efficiency and it would increase your organization’s productivity.
Managing your time and responsibilities according to yourself is definitely a great way to engage the process of working from home, of course, you should do it only if you have the freedom to do so. If not, trying to organize your daily tasks can be incredibly helpful.
That is the reason why, as shown at https://www.travelers.com/resources/home/working-remotely/10-tips-for-staying-productive-when-working-from-home, a lot of people make To-Do lists on a daily basis. These lists can, to a certain extent, provide your responsibilities with a more palpable presence, making it easier for you to track the tasks you need to do and the goals you need to achieve.
I also believe that having a specific workspace to dedicate yourself to your work can put you on the right track towards productivity. Back in the day, I used to take my laptop and work in a coffee shop that was very close to my house.
It might sound a little hipster coming from me, but it helped my mood and made me feel a little bit more focused on my work. If you can, try to do something similar, even if it means having a workspace inside of your house. I now work in my room, just because it is comfortable for me and I treat it as my office, and you can do the same with any part of your house as long as you are comfortable with it.
Another thing to have in mind is the fact that mental and physical health heavily influence our motivation. Although motivation is not something that should be considered the main drive we use to fulfill our responsibilities, it can greatly affect our focus, decision-making skills, and overall productivity.
For that reason, even more considering how COVID-19 has affected people’s lives, we should make sure that we are at least engaging in a somewhat healthy lifestyle. Regularly exercising on a weekly basis, eating healthy meals, keeping ourselves hydrated, and having a healthy sleeping schedule, goes a long, long way.
Added to that, resting along the day can definitely help you manage your mental health. Most people out there that engage in long working sessions during the day end up burning themselves out very occasionally.
Resting is one of the ways you can avoid this from happening since it allows you to reduce your stress levels significantly, even if you only rest for a little in between work. For those who engage in creative work, it also refreshes their mindset and allows them to be more efficient with their work.
I sincerely recommend the Pomodoro technique, since it has worked wonderfully in my particular case, and it has improved my productivity significantly.