This Working from Home Thing

Much has been written about this topic. Almost everyone seems to have fallen in love with the idea of working from home (WFH). Well, as an HR consultant, I’m saying WTF!

Here are the main problems:

  • ZZZoom burnout – it’s exhausting having meeting after meeting, especially when you’re the only one in the room
  • A lot of people don’t actually have space for a home office (not everyone has a place to live either)
  • Not everyone has great internet quality
  • The normal social interactions associated with work have simply disappeared
  • Isn’t your home supposed to be where you spend your life away from work?
  • Has anyone ever been fully trained in how to work effectively from home?
  • Who has considered the work, health and safety (WHS) issues associated with WFH?
  • Reports of domestic violence have risen alarmingly because people now have no respite from their abusive partners
  • Life/work balance is not necessarily improved as some report working longer hours than they used to and at times when they would have normally spent with their loved ones.

Here’s my list of what should happen:

  • Make sure employees are fully set-up to work from home including the provision of adequate IT and home-office equipment
  • Get everyone properly trained in the technology required to work remotely (Zoom, MS Teams, Webex etc)
  • Use a buddy system to maintain social interaction
  • Provide access to counselling services for those whose personal circumstances might be adversely affected by WFH
  • Have weekly one-on-ones with direct reports
  • Have employees complete a WHS checklist of their home office and include photos of their office set-up – both the checklist and photos should be assessed by a qualified WHS person
  • Ensure employees have established a daily bandwidth of hours during which time they are deemed to be working.

Working from home looks like becoming the norm rather than the exception. We need to better prepare our employees to meet the challenges of a newly-defined workspace. HR should take the lead by guiding employers to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees.

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