However, what is currently being communicated much more clearly and attracting more attention is the fact that office work is not only changing, but also functions beyond traditional forms of office organisation – offering many advantages. So we can already say that home office and working remotely have proven to be productive working models, not least during the coronavirus pandemic, even within somewhat conservatively structured companies.
But before we now sweepingly celebrate the home office as the new optimum solution, we should consider the fact that every successful change can only become permanently established under the appropriate conditions. We must first differentiate between working from the home office and working remotely, because even though the two terms are often used in the same context, in practical terms, they are not as similar as you might first think. While working from home, as the term implies, actually means working from your own, private dwelling, working remotely can happen anywhere: from a café around the corner, through a park bench, to a temporarily rented co-working space or an open-plan office with various workstations. A good example of remote working, which everyone can quickly picture, are field force employees who frequently undertake business travel. They need at least one mobile device to perform their varied remit. For other forms of remote working – such as alternating between working from home and in the office – digital Smart Office solutions, such as innovative booking and locker systems, can create the ideal workplace.
Tips for optimum working in the home office
For longer periods of productivity when working from home, the right conditions must also be created, beyond a mobile device. This means, for example, that a dedicated domestic workstation is set up that is not only ergonomic, but is also kept largely separate from other everyday activities – and the kitchen table simply does not serve this purpose. Other important aspects to be considered are:
Choose ergonomic furniture such as height-adjustable desks and comfortable swivel office chairs – especially if you spend several hours a day working from home.
Use the available technologies and tools to communicate and collaborate with your team.
Good lighting is a must. Ideally, you should position your desk at right angles to the window. Also, use a desk lamp that sufficiently illuminates the work surface.
Schedule short breaks, even at home. Ensure plenty of variety in the form of virtual coffee breaks, for example.
Functional storage space is important to ensure that any documents required on a daily basis are easily available and to keep things tidy.
The right colour scheme, a little decoration and some plants will create an atmosphere that allows you to work productively.
The benefits of the home office – a major advantage for sustainability
With the right equipment, home office provides advantages that not only have a positive effect on individuals’ performance, but also bring benefits for sustainability. Firstly, a well-equipped domestic workstation creates the conditions for focused individual work, uninterrupted phone calls and video conferences, as well as room for performing creative tasks and developing ideas. Secondly, working from home has a positive effect on work-life balance, which can lead to a general increase in job satisfaction. The time-saving from not having to commute or travel not only creates more relaxation time, but also eliminates everyday stress factors, such as driving in rush-hour traffic or travelling on overcrowded public transport. And last but not least, less road traffic also means a reduction in environmental damage as a result of lower CO2 emissions.
Working from a distance – what are the challenges?
As a manufacturer of modern furniture systems, it is part of our day-to-day business to respond to the practical challenges of a changing work culture and develop solutions. But the success of new work concepts requires more than just the perfect equipment. If the conditions are right, a lot can be achieved; but working from home needs to be organised differently to working in the office. It requires completely different management skills. Employees can be much better managed with trust and flexibility than with mistrust and control, not only when working from home. Only those who abandon their conservative thinking and have the courage to change something will be successful over the long term. Scientific studies already show that employees working from home are up to 30 percent more productive. With the right communication, there is no reason for suspicion. If an organisation guides instead of controls its employees, working from home will be at least as straightforward as working in the office.
Even more appetite for home office and working remotely in future
We are confident that 20 to 30 percent of today’s office workers will continue to work from the home office even after the coronavirus pandemic. However, we assume that alternating between working from home and in the office will become established practice. Advancing digitalisation and new developments for appropriate spatial use and furnishing concepts suggest switching between working from home and remote working. So office space can now be equipped in such a way that several employees alternately use a single workstation that still provides individual comfort - otherwise known as desk-sharing. Our digital Smart Office solutions for innovative booking and locker systems already offer the ideal solutions for future office work.