Research shows working from home was part of the employee experience before the pandemic hit. Businesses worldwide are urging, and in some cases mandating, employees to work from home. Technology has empowered a global workforce that stays connected in a work-from-anywhere world. In the last 15 years, working from home has increased 159% on an upward trend.
According to Lenovo research completed mid-March 2020, the majority of employees surveyed across five markets: the US, Italy, Germany, China and Japan believe current events may have a long-lasting impact on how employers view remote-work policies going forward.
The research suggested employees already felt at least somewhat ready to make the shift to working from home if required (87%), which has since become a reality for more companies as the pandemic has evolved globally.
There is also a sense this situation might usher in more permanent change. According to Lenovo’s global research, 77% of employees feel that companies will be more open to or even encourage letting workers work remotely once we’re through this crisis.
Here are some tips on how to use technology to make working from home more effective:
1. Keep talking this might be the new normal
As managers, it’s our job to make sure our teams feel connected and happy. Because employees are uncertain as to how well normal business operations will be if the majority of employees need to work from home, clear and open communication is more vital than ever during these transitional periods.
2. Leverage productivity and collaboration tools
Monitors, webcam and collaboration tools, such as a headset or conferencing tools, can make work from home more comfortable and productive.
If your employees are used to connecting a laptop to a monitor at work, consider duplicating the same at home.
Video-conferencing enables employees to feel connected so make sure everyone can make the most of video-conferencing technology. The latest laptops, desktops and workstations all have enhanced video and audio features that enhance communications.
Try Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, or other video-conferencing tools. Taking even five minutes to chat can improve mood or workflow for the better. Some employees are even utilizing their company’s video-conferencing solutions to ping a colleague and grab a virtual lunch together.
3. Encourage flexible work schedules
If you’re not the only one in your household at home, make sure to communicate clearly to talk about when you’ll be working and understand their plans too. Routine helps, setting some boundaries and daily schedules will help eliminate distractions and increase your ability to focus. An extra pair of noise- cancelling headphones might help too!
4. Keep moving and stay connected
Just as in the traditional office environment, when we move around with our laptops in hand from desk to meeting or even to work standing up, laptops and mobile workstations allow you to move around at home too. You don’t have to sit in a “home office” the entire day, consider varying your location or sitting position. Staying active will also make you more engaged and efficient.
The many uncertainties presented by the pandemic will challenge businesses to find new ways for teams to collaborate whilst working remotely. During these challenging times, technology can help us find new ways to work together.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Hongkong Business. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Ronald Wong is General Manager of Hong Kong and Macau at Lenovo, where he leads the overall business expansion in the consumer and commercial segments in both markets, overseeing Lenovo’s product and service portfolio, including PCs, gaming laptops, tablets, smart devices and workstations.
With over 20 years’ regional experience in the information technology industry across Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, Ronald has a track record of growth, profitability and operational excellence, with core competencies in channel management, account management and business development. Ronald joined Lenovo in 2014 as the Commercial Relationship (REL) Business Leader of Hong Kong and Taiwan, where he led the growth of the relationship business.
Prior to joining Lenovo, Ronald was with IBM for 17 years driving Global Business Partner growth for hardware, software and services in Hong Kong and Macau. Whilstat IBM, Ronald successfully led the design and execution of channel incentive structures, marketing programmes and growth initiatives.
Based in Hong Kong, Ronald earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.