More than two years ago, we at HansaWorld made the decision to leave our beautiful worldwide offices and switch to a 100% work-from-home model. Of course, this is not a new concept, nor are we the only company to recently adopt it. In fact, the amount of worldwide Google search queries relating to working from home has doubled since 2019. Thank you, COVID-19, for bringing people home. In the past couple of years, we have learned a lot about remote working, our colleagues, and ourselves. We believe this experience is worth sharing.
The new reality of work was not actually new for everyone in our company. Our CEO, Karl Bohlin, has been working this way for more than 25 years. While being a record-holder in this regard, Karl is not the only one in our company with working from home experience, managers and non customer-facing roles have enjoyed working from home for three decades.
Innovative concepts, backed up by some solid experience, brings us to where we are at the moment: flexible work arrangements. Not only has where we work changed, but also how and when we work. Most of our offices are gone, so now we work from where and when we want to. While some employees prefer to stick to more or less stable business hours, others like to take long breaks in the middle of the day, work in the evenings or on weekends. As a result, many of our colleagues share that their work-life balance has improved significantly.
“As a mum, I have the luxury of not missing my child growing up. I don’t think I would choose to go back to an office in the future”, says Brittany McGrath, International Service Manager.
“I really enjoy being flexible and not desk-bound. I have so much more time for my family and myself”, says Briana McGuinness, International Assistant HR Manager.
“I found working from home to be the best quality work time. I get more done while getting an extra two to three hours of free time every day”, says Ludvig Norin, Chief Programmer.
We remain a global team with staff in several time zones around the world. There is a sort of mutual respect and understanding between the company and the employees, with the company is being so flexible, the employees give equal flexibility in return.
If you think that we are living the dream, remember that everything comes at a price. Despite the obvious benefits, working from home is not a constant holiday, no matter how good it sounds. We asked our colleagues about the challenges of working from home and how they overcome them. Here are the top five:
Despite first impressions, working from home does not actually reduce the amount of time people spend working; in fact, it does the opposite. A number of studies indicate that home-based employees tend to work longer hours than they used to in an office. HansaWorld’s experience also proves that. Working around the clock was named one of our employees biggest challenges.
Office work is gone, along with coffee breaks and water cooler chat, so no more distractions, right? That is until you realize how distracting it can be working from home. It gets worse if you have a big family, young children, or if your partner also stays at home.
This unexpected challenge was labelled a big one by several of our colleagues. Let’s be honest, we all love our fridges, but being so close to them every day can be really difficult and lead to overeating, constant snacking, and unpleasant consequences.
No matter how much we all hate commuting to the office in the morning, it has one obvious benefit—it makes us go out. Take this away, and there is a big likelihood that you will stay home all day, sitting at your desk. Combined with unhealthy eating habits, this becomes a really serious issue.
No matter how comfortable your office space is, you wouldn’t live there, would you? It simply isn’t meant for this. Similarly, our homes are often not suitable for working at, but this can be far less obvious. Working in an environment with a lack of air conditioning and ventilation, poor quality chairs, desks, and other furniture leads to low productivity and health problems.
We take this issue very seriously. HansaWorld sponsors healthy home office environments for all our employees, and believe that other employers should too. Apart from that, we also offer some good advice:
Of course this list of challenges is not exhaustive, but the point is, they can all be solved. If your company has not tried working from home yet, go for it, its worth it.