Work from Home: When Boundaries Blur by Myra Gahid

Flexible work schedules has been practiced in some companies prior to the pandemic. According to Delle-Vergini (2017), flexible work arrangements (FWA) give employees some autonomy over their choice of hours and place of work which eventually increase employee well-being, organizational commitment, work performance, and quality of family life. A number of researches (Shagvaliyeva & Yazdanifard, 2014; Munganya et. al., 2016) support the positive relationship between flexible working hours and work-life balance, and the contribution of flexible working hours to the organization’s productivity (John, 2017).

However, when companies are forced to adjust their work systems because of external factors (ie. pandemic and recession), the concept of working from home may not necessarily be a good thing. While the concept of working from home may initially provide a general sense of comfort to employees due to not being exposed to certain stressors (eg. traffic, noise pollution, distractions etc.) that strongly affect their work performance, researches have been done to explore what happens inside the homes of employees working from home. A study by Dr. Shareena and Shahid (2020) specified that the willingness to work from home is entirely dependent on presence of their children at home, comfortable space at home, quiet environment at home and good internet connectivity, and that most of the respondents have the opinion that even if they are ready to work from home, they do not like to work from home.

Although the work from home setting may force employees to create new routines and to alter their individual work processes to reach targets and to be efficient in their deliverables, below are some tips and strategies to maintain productivity and connectedness (Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research, 2020):

  • Communicate openly and often with project supervisors and allow for flexibility when necessary.
    • Maintain strong and consistent connections with your supervisors.
    • Balancing updates and e-mail overload.
    • Managing up.
    • Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
    • Plan ahead.
    • Consider making good use of user-friendly time management app or external monitoring aid.
    • Be flexible with yourself.
    • Separate our work hours and personal time.
    • Set healthy work boundaries
    • Carve out a productive, and dedicated workspace similar to your office that is separate from your living space.
    • Balancing caring for your children when you are expected to “work” from home.
    • Coordinate schedules.
    • Work around naps.
    • Work with clients and colleagues to create space between meetings.
    • Create a workspace for your children.
    • Create a “to-do” list.
    • No apologies necessary.
    • Be kind to yourself.

Everyone is adjusting to different changes in their lives, and you are not an exception. Small steps are still progress. Indira Gandhi got it right when she said, “Life is a continuous process of adjustment.”

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