Remote working

Journal

Remotely Working – The Ups and Downs of WFH

by Jack Shepherd
June 21st, 2021

Design director at Jackson Wynne

Due to COVID-19, many teams have recently had to adapt and pivot to new working models. 

The remote-first model is the new framework for many companies. Having the option of working fully remote is a godsend to some people and for others, it can feel overwhelmingly isolating.

Empowering your remote employees while having an option for in-person collaboration is the best of both worlds.

As things start to ease up, we’ll see a new way of working where varying options exist. Having it both ways is ideal to embrace the hybrid model (remote/office).

At Jackson Wynne

We have been successfully working remotely within our company for a few years, long before 2020 hit.

With our core team spread across the GTA and with partners and collaborators in other countries, working remotely was in play long before the pandemic would’ve forced our hand. 

While meeting up in person is still an excellent way to work, the average “office worker” who only needs a laptop and access to the internet could, in theory, work anywhere in the world and still be effective.

Pros and Cons

The one benefit of working from home is setting flexible hours. 

If you need to run an errand, there is no need to come up with an excuse or take a day off work for an appointment.

Life happens and it’s sometimes necessary to get things done inside of regular working hours.

Accountability is still in play, definitely not to be ignored. Punching in from 9-5 pm seems almost like a relic where you could instead work hours better for you and get all your work done and then some.

As a business owner, things can be slightly different, but from the perspective of a day-to-day producer, I can still see the plus side.

It starts with trusting yourself and your coworkers to show up and get things done—all without middle managers breathing down your neck to stay on task.

Working from home – with everyone else around

Things like scheduling conference calls can be tricky if you have limited space. If you have a partner, overlapping dialogue can be challenging if you share a home office or small space.

For remote workers without children, count your blessings. Imagine having to work a full-time job and homeschool your children. This is the reality for many throughout the world. Without daycare, school or limited options for assistance, it can put you in a tough spot.

Success with your team

The remote method works at scale; ask any international startup that operates across multiple countries and time zones. Connect when you can and coordinate to create a streamlined company workflow.

At the heart of its success, communication is critical. Have regular check-ins and continue to set goals/targets as you usually would.

With things like Zoom and Slack, internal communication is mostly there. The double-edged sword of that is making sure that 24/7 availability doesn’t become the norm – you still need healthy boundaries to keep your head on straight and stay productive.

Unless you embrace virtual reality meetings, which is debatable as the next best thing, virtual work can leave a lot to be desired.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows

Working from home can be great, but often overlooked is that it can have a downside.

Isolation from a centralized office can be a huge bummer. It’s great to have coworkers to grab lunch with or bounce ideas off of, which can be difficult to recreate authentically online where things always feel a little disjointed from reality.

It’s important to have systems in place to keep employees connected. Whether that’s weekly virtual meetings or you have an annual summit meet-up. Whatever is feasible.

Bottom Line

For the return to the office, many are looking forward to the environment, social engagement and routines/rituals that come with it. I completely understand those happily running towards it.

For the same reason, many have become accustomed to working from home. To take that away entirely without offering any options is not an ideal situation to have.

Whether you are working from home, in the office or both – whatever works. I say all the more power to each individual.

As I write this from a home office during business hours, I can assure you that remote working has worked out well, at least for me for the past 3-4 years.

We can discuss the 4 day work week everyone has been talking about recently another time.

How does remote work or not work for you and your team?

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