What Work From Home Teaches Us: How To Create A Great Experience – Forbes - Freelance Rack

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Sunday, June 21, 2020

What Work From Home Teaches Us: How To Create A Great Experience – Forbes

As countries across the globe reopen, the office will increasingly need to attract people. Working from home has offered positives for many, but the experience of hasn’t been without drawbacks. Either way—from both the pros and the cons—we can learn how to re-create and renew great experiences within the workplace.   

With the necessity of social distancing, masks and less amenities like cafeterias and coffee bars, the pre-vaccine workplace won’t offer all it once did. But it can still be an experience people want, that fulfills key needs. Here are a few to consider:

Provide For Connections

A significant benefit of working from home is easy contact with close family members with whom we’ve been sheltering in place. This kind of proximity is instructive for business since one of the primary benefits of the office is social. The most effective workplaces provide for connections that are both informal and formal. It’s the opportunity to run into a colleague in the hallway or the chance to solve a problem with a teammate during a weekly meeting. Creating offices—intentionally—where people can gather, collaborate and build ideas will best apply lessons from home and be most attractive to employees.

Provide For Choice

Often, we learn about something’s importance through its absence and this is certainly true of choice. One of the hardest things about being home is the lack of options it has offered. Based on brain science, we know humans crave variety and stimulation and being home constantly has been predictable and monotonous for many. As a welcome alternative to home, the workplace should offer plenty of possibilities. Choice is made available through a variety of settings, surroundings and arrangements, but control is also key. People must have autonomy to sit away from a workstation—moving to an enclave for privacy or a work café to collaborate, working alone or in the midst of a buzzing community. Employees will want to work in a place where they can select varying levels of privacy, change positions or find new perspectives on their work.

Provide For Safety

A benefit of being home is the security and protection it represents. Ideally, it is also where we can be most free—most ourselves. It is where people know us best and where we can let our hair down and let go of the filters necessary for more public and professional settings. Creating a positive work experience mirrors the safety we perceive at home. When people feel secure, they can be their most creative. And when they feel the most appreciated, they can take bigger risks and step out on a limb toward new thinking and new innovations. The work experience can supply this kind of psychological safety by fostering strong bonds among team members and ensuring leaders are both visionary and empathetic.

Provide For Meaning

According to many, the opportunity to work from home has provided greater work-life fulfillment. Work is part of life and the chance to spend more time with our inner circle has reminded many of us about what we find most important in life. In addition, staying home to avoid spreading the coronavirus has given us a sense of significance—a contribution to the broader community. This sense of meaning is also important for work. People are most motivated by work which is connected to a broader purpose and to which they can make a unique contribution. Leaders should align people’s talents and skills with their responsibilities, so they feel they’re adding real value. In addition, they should reinforce the broader vision and purpose in the work employees are doing. People will be most fulfilled by their work and give more discretionary effort if they have a greater sense of meaning.

Provide For Boundary

Traditionally, work-life discussions have focused on how to leave work behind so it’s possible to focus on all the important activities of home and family. But after spending so much time at home, people are craving to come to the workplace and leave home behind for a bit. Getting away from the distractions of the laundry, the kids or the pets is a welcome reprieve for many. The lesson here is in boundaries—giving people the opportunity to set and manage their limits is good for people and good for business. A full life includes work, and in fact, repeated studies have found when people were asked whether they would still work if they won the lottery, between 80% and 66% said, “Yes.” Work is important because it’s a critical way we contribute to society and feel valuable. But a healthy mix is important as well. All work, all the time leads to burnout and less effectiveness. The lesson from home is to give people the opportunity to manage their boundary between work and home and to empower them to have as much of both as possible.

Working from home is both exhausting and enjoyable, frustrating and fulfilling, monotonous and motivational. It is complex, but we can take what we’ve learned from working at home and inspire work experiences that provide for connection, choice, safety, meaning and boundary. It is these aspects of work and life which will be important as we go through the pandemic and—eventually—as we move beyond it.



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