Three cheers for the new model of work, inspired by remote jobs in Malta and beyond.
Hybrid models of work are quickly becoming the norm, with copious research attesting to the present wants of employees in favour of a flexible attitude toward the traditional workplace. Indeed, it appears that the office environment we all know has become the less favoured workstation, replaced by home offices and remote workers within various geographical locations.
Last year, when the Covid-19 pandemic was in full bloom, and we were riddled with uncertainty, there was no question that workers had to be remote for the foreseeable future. Now, as we slowly return to a new working world and ease of regulations, employer’s and leaders alike are wondering whether they really need to use their office space and to what capacity, if at all.
Considerations for leaders
When workplace issues or novel circumstances arise, leaders are held responsible with ensuring employee needs are taken care of whilst business goals are maintained as much as possible. Oftentimes, this means leaders, alongside other reliable decision-makers in an organisation, accommodate best practices to suit present times. The Covid-19 pandemic made no exception, where leaders had to quickly amend policies to suit a remote-first environment, whilst ensuring employees feel supported as their stable routines destabilise.
Whilst the notion of remote work, previously referred to as telework, was not birthed because of the pandemic, it surely propagated its prominence across the globe. In an annual report conducted by Owl Labs (2020), 77% of employees would favour a work from home job, where 1 in 2 respondents noted that they wouldn’t accept a job that doesn’t offer remote arrangements. For leaders, an important note are employee expectations—in the same report, 80% of employees expect to work from home at least three times a week.
Leaders need to take some time and consider what can be implemented in their organisation in terms of promoting flexibility for numerous jobs in Malta and abroad. Whilst there are advantages to flexible and remote work, there are numerous challenges leaders must embark on as well:
Clear communication: the use of widespread video conferencing software and other tools to communicate can lead to misunderstandings. As a leader, you should proactively embrace clear communication and provide guidance on how this can be achieved. For example, using emails for client queries, and instant messaging for team chats.
Shared organisational culture: with a largely remote workforce, it can be difficult for new joiners to embrace a company’s vision and belief system. Leaders should work to provide purpose in their employees to work toward a shared vision. This can mean shared goals between teams, so that they work collaboratively and towards similar values. This helps bring a sense of belongingness in a team and forms trusting relationships.
Prioritise work-life wellness: remote work has blurred the boundaries between work and home life for many employees, so it’s worth encouraging teams to log off when the working day remits. You want to encourage your employees to prioritise their own personal development, as that spills onto their professional lives as well. In this way, you’re a leader who prioritises employee wellbeing and doesn’t solely focus on workplace tasks.
Provide social opportunities: with remote jobs, it can be easy to lose touch with employees and team members without meeting them in the office. Leaders should encourage creative means to combat social isolation. This can mean regular team meets that are more personable than they are task related. Such opportunities are versatile and employees can partake from their jobs in Malta or elsewhere.
A hybrid model of work is being adopted by various organisations as the working society progresses. Leaders should consider employee needs and support these as they amend their current workplace practices and policies to suit the new working norm.
How to optimise your home workspace for productivity
Many of us have looked for inspiration to transform a dusty desk into a functional home workspace. For some, space limitations meant transferring the use of a kitchen table into that of an office. This can be distracting, and there are ways to optimise your novel workspace in order to improve productivity and overall wellbeing.
Own a dedicated workspace
As a species, we enjoy routine and stability that concretely tells us whether one room or space is for work, or for unwinding and personal activities. It’s worth exploring your home to determine a dedicated workspace for your mind to understand that in this space, only work will occur, setting a boundary between work and home tasks. Whilst this will be a different experience for everyone, you don’t require a full office space to do this. Even setting up a designated area in a room can work wonders.
Keep your workspace organised
Maintaining a clean and neat workspace is important to optimise attention and focus into your work. This is because when there’s too much clutter, our brains are over-stimulated, leading our focus away from where we want it to be. Organise your space to support what makes you feel productive and inspired; if it’s a few plants, a notice board and notebook, these are all ways you can improve productivity in your dedicated workspace.
Whilst many modern workspaces favour a minimalist look, don’t neglect your personal trinkets in your remote job. If a framed photograph, quirky stationary, or books make you feel more productive, be sure to include these. This is your workstation and should be optimised to your liking.
Remember your health & wellbeing
When constructing your home workspace, consider including options known to improve your overall wellbeing. For example, plants have previously shown to increase productivity, and natural light is important for alertness and improved cognitive function. This means that working near a window can be helpful in making you feel more productive in your remote job.
Lastly, don’t forget to log off from work when the working day ends. This means closing your laptop or shutting down your computer, closing your notebook and organising paperwork for the following day. As part of your routine, ensure you encourage positive work-life wellness where, after work, you’re able to enjoy personal activities and other commitments.
Whilst there is more to learn about hybrid work and navigating through the pandemic, remember that you are not alone in that you can speak any concerns with a trusted leader or colleague. If you need further support in creating your workspace, such as resources your office previously included, raise these requirements honestly. We’re all trying to figure out the new working world, and we can only make it positively work when collaborating together.
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