Working from home during lockdown and beyond
Feb 16, 2021
Who’d have thought how much our view of work-life balance would change, following a single announcement from the New Zealand Government?
A RoomMate Cabin as your work-from-home solution
When New Zealand ground to a halt in March 2020, RoomMate Cabins’ Auckland franchisee and Coastguard New Zealand Head of Marketing & Communications, Georgie Smith, saw an opportunity.
“The first text I sent to my husband (Head of Maths at the local College) was:
‘This is it for the team. Working from home as of tomorrow. You know those cabins we’ve got? I’m going to need one of those on the front lawn.’
“Coming home with an extra screen, a laptop, printer and my beloved post-its and sharpies, my mind was boggled at how my husband could continue to teach remotely. How could I continue to lead a team and be productive amongst the chaos with our little lads (2 and 4) and yet embrace the gift that was quality time together as a family because of isolation.”
“It was clear the kitchen bench was not my solution, but a RoomMate Cabin was. I could walk a few steps to the office to do a job I love and see the kids throughout the day. Together we made it work and having the RoomMate Cabin was a big part of that.”
Fast forward to the New Year and Georgie continues to work from home at least two days a week.
“I drop the kids off to kindy and head home and get into it. Lunch in the sunshine is only a few steps away and having the chance to put a load of laundry on and keep the house going makes such a difference. The cabin is light, plenty of power points, we have a large whiteboard on the wall to help us keep track of everything and it’s really big. I’ve even had some of my team over from work for a change of scenery and planning sessions. It’s a great creative space.”
Georgie and her husband Greg have now removed the running of their RoomMate Cabins franchise from the house as well.
“Greg manages it all from the cabin, which feels like a bit of a luxury, and our home is just that…home and a chance to switch off from it all. Working from home is so productive and means I also get to be there for the moments that really matter with the boys.
“I’m really lucky to have an amazing boss that makes it possible and sees the difference it makes for that ‘balance’ we’re always searching for. It’s the perfect solution for the extra space we need to get the best out of life.”
The nine-to-five, Monday to Friday workweek is a thing of the past
Working from home and flexible hours is not a short-term trend. More flexible working conditions have always been on the horizon, COVID-19 just accelerated its acceptance into working culture.
When the first lockdown happened, it forced companies to digitally transform as a lot of staff had to, very suddenly, work from home. Businesses needed to be able to provide access to files, databases and software so that teams and individuals could work together seamlessly wherever they were.
And when the country changed the alert levels again, it cemented the trend for good. As a result, a whole generation of workers now know they can still be productive without braving the rush-hour commute. They can take a walk or drop the kids off at school before they start their workday and get just as much – if not more – done than before.
Flexibility is now expected and essential. And workplaces that offer it are becoming sought after.
What is there to love about working from home?
With no traffic to contend with on the morning commute, there is less wasted time spent travelling back and forth from the office, which means you can fit more into your day.
Maintaining the elusive work-life balance is a challenge but working from home means more time spent with the family, including meals with the kids and other leisure activities.
This increased job satisfaction leads to increased productivity and efficiency.
For more tips on how to work from home check out our previous blog on how to work from home.
Benefits of working from home for employers
Offering flexible work locations and/or hours is often touted as an employee benefit, but the reality is that there are a lot of benefits for business owners too.
Bringing down overheads such as office rent, utilities, furniture and equipment are obvious benefits, but other consumables like coffee and snacks can also add up and are reduced with less people in an office.
Increased flexibility may also open access to new talent outside of your geographic region or help retain your existing superstars who might have been at risk of being lost to your organisation due to long commutes or a change in lifestyle circumstances.
And while employers may have previously looked at work-from-home arrangements with caution thinking their staff may focus more on the ‘home’ part than the ‘work’ part, research from the University of Otago suggests otherwise, with almost three quarters of people being just as productive, if not more productive, working from home during lockdown.