All workers can experience burnout when they go through an extended period of stress. This happens in all work environments, including Work From Home (WFH) environments.
Remote workers often experience burnout for many reasons. One primary reason is that they are typically more productive than their office counterparts. This productivity is wonderful for the company, but if not handled properly, it can backlash. Burned out employees suffer emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Why do remote workers experience burnout? By working from home, they no longer take the time to commute to work, take part in office chit-chat, or office lunches. Those office perks not only help build camaraderie, but they also provide boundaries and buffers in the workday, benefiting employees emotionally, physically, and mentally.
How Can You Prevent Burnout?
To prevent burnout, you need to take care of your emotional, physical, and mental well-being during and surrounding your work. You can do this by creating boundaries, prioritizing your work, and creating a routine.
Create Boundaries For Yourself
You will need to create many boundaries for yourself in order to prevent burnout, including physical boundaries, time boundaries, and technology boundaries.
You can work anywhere in your house, but you likely know which areas will be the least productive for your workflow. You don’t need a home office to set up physical boundaries for your workday. You just need a dedicated place where you work. If your kitchen table is too messy and your couch is too cozy, create a space somewhere that is quiet but not too relaxing.
Implement boundaries with this workspace. When you are working, only sit or stand in that specific area. When you are using your laptop or phone for personal uses, be sure to walk away from that designated space. This lets your brain and family or roommates know that you are walking away from work, even if you still need to use your devices.
Many people who WFH feel like they always need to be “on.” This sense of loyalty and urgency makes work hours bleed into every other hour of the day. That pressure, while usually self-induced out of guilt, is what causes burnout. To avoid this, set up time boundaries for yourself.
If your employer does not require you to work during certain hours, then create your own schedule around work meetings and other commitments. Use the flexibility of WFH to create the ideal schedule for yourself. If you can, work when you perform the best, whether that is in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Try time blocking to get started until you start to work in a consistent rhythm. Be aware that this schedule may change according to seasons of the year and seasons in your life. Embrace the flexibility when your current schedule no longer works for you by creating a new schedule.
Depending on your job, you may spend a lot of time using various technologies and devices. If you also like to use those devices outside of work, set up boundaries for your technology.
If you’re tempted to check your work email outside of work hours, turn off email notifications or remove your work email account from your mobile phone.
If you’re tempted to work long hours, set a timer for the start and end times of your workday. Listen to the timer.
If you have a boss or coworkers who expect to connect with you outside your working hours, clarify your schedule with them. Be firm about your availability and don’t change it unless absolutely necessary.
When you’re on a deadline, go offline as much as you can. Update your status to “Do Not Disturb” in your collaboration tool to inform your coworkers and boss that you’re working but busy. Put your phone on airplane mode. Don’t check your email. Take this time to focus on your project and remove all of the distractions you can.
Prioritize Your Work
While working remotely, it can be tempting to do all the work that shows your productivity versus doing the work that needs to be done first. This is often called “busy work.” These small tasks stack up and may look great as you check them off of your to-do list, but doing so can cause mounting pressure to complete larger projects on tight deadlines.
To avoid adding stress, prioritize your work at the beginning of the workday or at the end of the workday for the next day. Then only adjust that task list if urgent items arise. If non-urgent items arise, stick to the task list you created today and determine if those new items belong on your priority list tomorrow.
Create a Routine
It’s easy to get sidetracked and distracted when working from home. Family members or roommates may be home, dishes and laundry are piling up, and suddenly the carpet needs to be deep cleaned. This is why creating a routine for your WFH life is so important. It’s easy to ignore many housekeeping tasks at the office, but in this new environment, you need to create a new routine.
Your new routine can be exactly as it used to be, minus the commute, but it doesn’t have to be. Based on your schedule, take note of what distracts you while you’re working. If the dishes distract you, can you do them before work? Or can you work outside of the kitchen?
Whatever your situation is, take note of your distractions and create a routine to minimize them. This can mean working at different times to accommodate family members or roommates. It can also mean working in a different room.
Many WFH professionals have very specific morning, lunchtime, and evening routines that punctuate their days and provide a sense of timeliness, even if they never leave their home. We encourage you to develop the right routines that work for you and provide you with structure for your days.
One common routine many remote workers swear by is continuing to “get ready” in the morning. Working in pajamas can be fun at first, but after a while, you may find that taking the time to put on work clothes and fix your hair or mustache helps put you in the right frame of mind for work. Plus, it’s beneficial to maintain that routine for days you do visit an office or have in-person appointments.
Another common routine that WFH employees have is getting exercise. Whether you choose to work out or take a walk in the morning, at lunch, or in the afternoon, it’s healthy for your body and mind to move and get outside.
Working from home or from anywhere is a wonderful experience that has many benefits, but it’s important to be proactive with your health and the health of your team in order to prevent burnout.
To learn how Meet Me In The Cloud can help you connect and collaborate with your team, easing some of the stress of working from home, visit this link.
Many companies that pursue a technology migration on their own in an effort to save money deal with a host of challenges. They don’t take the time or complete the planning and training they need for a successful migration. Save your leadership team (and employees) the headache with these tips.
Whenever you roll out new tech in your organization, there are bound to be skill gaps in your workforce. IT staff and end-users and accustomed to the legacy solution, which likely works and looks very different from the new solution you’re in the process of migrating to. This is normal, but that doesn’t mean you can roll out new solutions and just wait for your employees to figure it out. That costs time, which costs your company money.
To fill these skill gaps, you need training. Training and education efforts not only save you time implementing the new solution, but it also provides your employees with the confidence to use the solution and in their work overall. Not only does training help ensure that you receive a high ROI, but it also benefits your workforce on an individual level.
A roadmap is a high-level visual plan that lays out your migration strategy. Without it, your team won’t be able to make sound strategic decisions concerning the migration. Or, worse, they will migrate your solution without a strategy in mind. This can lead to an ineffective migration.
Another problem companies face when migrating a solution without a roadmap is that there are no timelines. If there are timelines, they are inaccurate and the migration falls behind, which can potentially cause more problems later on.
To resolve this issue, it’s important to develop a roadmap at the beginning of the migration process, before any data has been moved. Then make sure the team fulfilling the migration is following the roadmap.
Deadlines and details can change, but a high-level, strategy-focused roadmap is key to a successful migration.
During the migration, your workforce will likely be using two solutions, the old and the new. This means that with every update to one document, file, channel, etc., it needs to be updated on both solutions to keep everyone in the loop. This duplication process is time-consuming and the redundancy can be confusing for users, but it may be necessary.
It’s also important to note that if your team fulfills the migration in-house, those employees will have double the responsibility and the same amount of time and energy, which means their other tasks will be sidelined during the migration.
To limit the impact on your workforce’s productivity during the migration, shorten the migration time. One way to do this is to hire a migration expert, like from Meet Me In The Cloud, to manage the process.
Another way to reduce the impact on your workforce’s productivity is to complete the migration while your workforce isn’t working. For example, over a weekend or holiday break. Smaller migrations can often be completed during these timeframes, though it does require the employees performing the migration to work on the weekend or holiday.
Data Loss and Corruption
When duplicate solutions are running simultaneously during the migration process, there is a greater risk for data loss and corruption. The longer the migration process takes, the greater the risk. If data is corrupted or lost during the migration, it makes it harder to restore that data.
To avoid data loss and corruption during migration, you will need to backup all data. You will also need to determine the best way to store the data before the migration and have a plan for migrating the data in phases. Following a solid plan can reduce data loss and corruption.
Each solution has its own properties and benefits, but not all solutions prioritize compliance. Without reviewing what each vendor provides in terms of compliance, you can potentially violate compliance requirements.
If compliance is important to your business, then you need to review each solution to ensure the one you choose meets regulatory compliance requirements. This means asking vendors how data is stored and accessed, how end-users are supported, if the vendor logs all end-user activities, and more.
Often, business leaders want to replicate legacy systems in the new solution, but this defeats the purpose of the migration. No two systems work the same, so this sets up the entire migration for failure. Misaligned goals combined with unmet expectations turn the entire migration into a washout, leaving everyone frustrated.
To avoid this challenge, it’s important to have a discovery process before migrating. During this process, your leadership team needs to evaluate the old system for what is and isn’t working, and what other capabilities your business needs now or in the future. From there, your migration team or partner can design a plan to align the strategy with your leadership’s goals.
Learn more about our Migration Services at this link.
The Future of Work is here, but it is constantly changing. To be successful in the present and the future, all businesses must update how they work and prepare for transformation.
Defining the Future of Work
What is the Future of Work? At its core, the Future of Work is the sum of the changes we experience as a workforce now as well as what we expect to develop in the future. These changes include personnel transitions and expectations, technology, work styles, and more.
Cisco Webex defines the Future of Work as how we “shape, create and design [the] modern employee and customer experience.”
myHRfuture defines it as “a result of many forces of change affecting three deeply connected dimensions of an organisation: work (the what), the workforce (the who), and the workplace (the where).”
The Future of Work is comprised of five parts. Each part is vital to business success. The Future of Work is:
- Adaptable to Cultural Change
The Future of Work is Remote
It probably is no surprise to you that the Future of Work is remote. Now, more than ever, employees expect to be able to WFA at least some of the time.
To learn more about remote work, read this article.
The increase in remote work requires digital collaboration skills and solutions. If your team needs to migrate to a new collaboration platform to accommodate remote work, learn more about our services at this link.
Businesses are More Health-Focused Now Than Ever
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are responding to their employees’ health needs in new ways. Businesses are expanding how they support their employees’ health with additional health care coverage, mental health support, and financial health support.
This Forbes article says:
And as more people work remotely post-pandemic, HR will need to focus on flexibility benefits and employee assistance programs (EAPs). This goes beyond work-from-home privileges, and puts a heightened focus on things like flex-time schedules, child care benefits, and mental health support.
The Future is Tech-Forward
When it comes to the Future of Work, the technology we use is constantly changing and upgrading. This technology is automated and intelligent. It includes Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, robotics, augmentation technology, modern collaboration tools, and more.
With these advancements, employees will spend less time on repetitive tasks, physical labor, and data processing. Instead, they will focus on assignments that require social and emotional skills, logical reasoning, and creativity. This shift will allow employees to work on higher-level tasks, which will likely lead to your workforce being more fulfilled in their careers.
Is Your Business Adaptable to Cultural Change?
The Future of Work means adapting to new company cultures with an ever-changing workforce. Every day, younger employees join your workforce, changing the dynamic and culture of your company. This means businesses need to be adaptable to these changes. What created your company culture five or 50 years ago may no longer work for your current and future workforce.
Cisco Webex explains how to do this well:
That [means] creating a more creative, responsive, and less hierarchical work experience. One that encourages flexible collaboration across boundaries and borders; work/life integration; open communication; and creative freedom at every level of the organization. In a culture built on trust, the best talent thrives … and is less likely to leave!
The Future of Work is Human-Focused
With the Future of Work, jobs will be less company-focused and more human-focused. In addition to the health and culture improvements, people will be able to experience roles at other companies in other industries, which was critical for many employees and companies during the COVID-19 crisis. This is called a “cross-industry talent exchange.”
This Entrepreneur article explains the process well:
Well, it’s where unemployed people, because of this crisis, temporarily work at “organizations that have an excess of work,” such as logistics. Why is this beneficial? It helps avoid “the frictional and reputational costs associated with letting people go while supporting workers in developing new skills and networks.
Not only do employees learn new skills in a new environment, but their temporary peers get to learn from them, too. And both companies benefit from the exchange as well, helping relieve stress for the leaders on both sides of the arrangement.
This is just one example of how businesses are becoming more human-focused. The technology companies utilize will only magnify the opportunities people will have as this focus is adapted. As businesses become more human-focused, they will continue to choose options for their workforce that will benefit their employees, not just the bottom line.
As the demand for health-focused, tech-forward, and human-focused companies increases, it’s vital that your company moves into the Future of Work for the well-being of your workforce and the health of your company.
If you’re moving forward with a remote work option, consider partnering with Meet Me In The Cloud for your collaboration platform needs. Learn more about our services at this link.
Work From Home (WFH) became standard for many employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the challenges of working from home combined with the challenges of a global pandemic have given remote work a bad reputation. Enter Work From Anywhere (WFA).
The Difference Between WFA and WFH
WFH may be seen by some as a form of confinement, but that was not the intention behind its development. It was intended to provide employees with freedom and flexibility, but it falls short for what many employees need and crave.
While the WFH movement began far before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, that reality is how many people view working from home. Unlike WFH during the coronavirus pandemic, when many states were locked down and remote work policies were created overnight, Work From Anywhere is about empowering employees to think and work in the ways where they are most productive. It’s about providing employees with flexibility so they can live and work in ways that benefit their physical and mental health, as well as their careers and families.
One big difference between WFH and WFA, although created with the same principle, is the difference in flexibility. WFH usually means just that – working from home and possibly working in the office. But WFA gives the opportunity for employees to work from home, the office, a coffee shop, a co-working space, on the road, another country, and more. WFA allows employees to keep working when they experience big life changes; this provides them with financial stability and support during those challenging times.
TechCrunch sums this up very well:
Many of us will choose to work from home, and many of us will habitually return to the same working environment each day even if it isn’t our home. That’s fine. Flexibility doesn’t mean constantly changing everything up – it means we can change things when we want and need to.
In this working paper, it shows that remote workers who are allowed more autonomy in their work perform better than employees who work in an office environment.
Not only is the flexible WFA environment critical to see increased productivity, but so is the autonomy. Companies can only see this benefit when implementing a WFA policy if they ensure leaders and managers give their direct reports room to breathe and work.
Increased Real Salary
When employees can work from anywhere, many choose to move to places that have lower costs of living. This increases their real salary without the company needing to pay them more.
Expanded Talent Pool
When companies implement WFA policies, they no longer need to hire based on location or proximity. You can then hire from around the entire globe without being concerned about moving expenses.
Improved Employee Retention
Many employees would accept a WFA job that pays a little less than an in-office job that pays more. After employees WFA, many of them will stay with your company because they prefer the flexibility.
WFA can also help senior employees extend their careers. This study found that senior employees who were offered WFA opportunities took advantage of them and moved to their retirement location, such as Florida, while continuing to work. These employees often provide such in-depth knowledge to companies, especially for newer employees, and being able to work with these senior employees for a longer period of time benefits companies long-term.
Consolidate Technology and Tools
When you transition to a WFA environment, you may realize that you have many technologies and tools that perform the same tasks. Consolidate them and then mandate the use of common tools for everyone. This will help ensure no messages or work gets lost in an old or insecure tool.
You will also want to determine your device policy. Do you purchase devices – including laptops, mobile phones, and VPNs – for your employees? Do you provide them with company tools? Or do you offer partial reimbursements for personal devices?
Implement In-Person Meet-Ups
If you have employees who work near one another geographically, then consider implementing in-person meet-ups. This is especially beneficial for those who do similar types of work. This small investment in time and money helps employees make connections and spurs learning.
Start with Trust
Trust must be at the core of all remote work or it will fail. This Inc. article says if remote work turns into distanced micromanaging, WFA may not see any benefits.
Before implementing a WFA policy, get feedback from employees. Ask employees if their managers micromanage them already. Ask managers how they will manage from afar. Then consider offering training for all employees to help everyone transition to the WFA environment.
If your company lacks trust between employees, it may be best to pause the WFA initiative.
Start with Independent, Experienced Employees
Employees who work fairly independently and know how to do their jobs well are more likely to excel in a WFA environment. This means that new employees who are learning on the job may not be ready to WFA.
It also means that not all roles are suited for WFA. Some jobs require a lot of collaboration that isn’t ideal for remote operations. Still, other jobs require specific equipment and technology that isn’t readily available or feasible for home use.
However, it is important to note that some companies that operate 100% remotely have all staff members who work remotely, whether they are new or experienced, so there must be more research on this topic.
In the end, be careful about who you allow to WFA. Some employees may need additional support than others, so you will also need to anticipate how you will support remote employees, especially if they are transitioning from an office environment.
Develop Cost Allocation Decisions
In addition to making technology decisions (and who is paying for what tools, devices, and software), you also need to decide what other items you will cover for WFA employees that you would typically cover in the office.
- Do you cover internet expenses? If yes, do you cover this even if some employees work in public areas, such as coffee shops and libraries?
- Do you reimburse employees for coffee and snacks, whether they make it at home or purchase them at coffee shops and stores?
- Do you cover co-working expenses? If so, how do you reimburse those who opt not to use co-working spaces?
Concentrate on Outcomes
Typically in an office environment, employees focus on how many hours they work. They clock in and they clock out. In-between those times, they work. In WFA environments, the focus switches from getting hours into achieving certain outcomes.
This is hard for many leaders and managers. This principle goes back to trusting your employees. Managers are tempted to monitor their remote teams, but this often does more harm than good. Instead, managers and leaders should focus on how employees are pursuing and achieving outcomes. This means ensuring employees maintain quality work and fulfill deadlines, not that they promptly reply to emails and Slack messages.
According to this Forbes article, WFA calls for greater trust, not more surveillance. The article goes on to say “it’s far better to establish clearly defined outcomes and then trust people to achieve those objectives in whatever ways they deem best.”
Are employees more productive when they can work from anywhere? Yes! Just as employees are more productive when they work from home versus the office, they are even more productive when they can work from anywhere, whether that’s from home, the office, or somewhere else.
If you’re transitioning to a WFA environment, we can help you migrate your people and technology onto a unified suite of collaboration services. Learn more about our professional migration services at this link.
When it comes to your workforce’s collaboration efforts, you likely rely on in-person collaboration and legacy solutions that require bulky hardware or frequent software installations. But with work-from-home (WFH) initiatives and team members on the go, it may be time to migrate to a better collaboration solution that meets your business’s needs.
What is Migration?
Before we discuss the reasons for migrating, it’s important to understand what migration is. Migration is the act of upgrading to new hardware, new software, or both. This process involves moving data and capabilities from the legacy solution to the new solution. While this process seems simple, it’s not. Migrations are often complicated and intricate endeavors that are time-consuming for your team if you choose to implement them in-house.
The migration process ensures that the new operating environment is functional, secure, and usable by your team. This involves a review of your legacy application and its settings as well as setting up the new solution.
Types of Migrations
There are many different types of technology migrations, including:
- Database and data migration
- Application migration
- Cloud migration
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software migration
- Operating System (OS) migration
- Content Management System (CMS) migration
- IT infrastructure migration
At Meet Me In The Cloud, we specialize in collaboration solutions migration, which is typically an application or cloud migration, depending on what solution you choose.
Reasons for Migration
If migrations are typically challenging, then why do companies do it? Why don’t they continue to use their legacy collaboration solutions indefinitely? Here’s why companies migrate to better solutions:
The Legacy Solution is Deprecated or Obsolete
If your workforce is using an outdated collaboration solution, it may be deprecated or obsolete. If it’s “deprecated,” that means it’s still a good solution for now, but it won’t be for long. That solution will likely be obsolete when a new solution is launched. If a solution is “obsolete,” then your workforce can no longer use it.
For solutions that are either deprecated or obsolete, there is little or no support from the vendor, which means if something goes wrong, it may never get fixed. This can lead to data loss and cybersecurity vulnerability.
The Legacy Solution Does Not Fulfill New Needs
Your business is flexible and adapts to the ever-changing market and the needs of your customers. You need a collaboration solution with modern capabilities that simplifies communication and work processes for your workforce.
If your business demands new capabilities from your collaboration solution and the vendor can’t keep up with your request, it may be time to migrate.
You Need to Consolidate
If your workforce is using multiple collaboration solutions, it creates a messy, inefficient process for everyone involved. Data can be siloed or lost and employees waste time connecting to multiple solutions.
To resolve these issues, you need to consolidate to one collaboration solution. You will likely need to migrate to a new one to do so because if your team is currently using multiple solutions, none of them are probably meeting all of your needs.
You Need Room to Grow
Your growing business needs room to grow, including in your collaboration solutions. Most legacy solutions limit users or storage space in some way and may incur additional costs when you do grow, if they can accommodate your growth.
Most modern collaboration solutions are now hosted in the cloud, which provides you with scalability and flexibility, accommodating to your ever-changing needs.
Your Workforce Uses Multiple Devices
If your employees WFH or work on the go, they likely use multiple devices to complete tasks and collaborate with their teams. Legacy collaboration solutions are limited to specific devices, but solutions in the cloud can be accessed anywhere from any device, enabling your workforce to work on the go in real-time.
You Need Increased Security
Security is likely one of your top concerns, but your legacy collaboration solutions may not meet your security standards. Most legacy solutions that were rolled out within the past decade or earlier weren’t created with the same security measures we have today. Cyber threats are constantly evolving and new technologies are accomodating to those changes to protect your data. Your legacy solution probably isn’t adapting as fast, if at all.
Is It Time to Migrate?
If you can identify with one or more of the reasons above, then it’s time to migrate to a new collaboration solution. Don’t go through that process alone. Learn more about our Migration Services at this link.