Finance, Marketing and HR jobs are traditionally office-based roles. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people were suddenly forced to work from home (WFH) and for many this became the new normal.
Within the Finance, Marketing and HR sector, WFH is more complex, due to their need for team collaboration, live events and face-to-face interactions. Getting the right life-work balance when you’re at home 24/7 isn’t always easy, so here are some tips and techniques to improve your home-working environment.
The impact of remote working
There are many advantages with WFH, no commute, more flexible working hours and less in-office distractions. However, WFH can be a very different experience for each of us, depending on who you share your home with and the capacity for having a designated ‘office’ space. Where some were trying to juggle online meetings held at the kitchen table while home-schooling their kids, others are retreating to their peaceful home office in the garden with just the dog for company.
It can often be the case that WFH results in overworking, and in turn that can lead to poor mental health and/or burn-out. If you’re the type of person who is catching up on emails at the weekend, taking work calls out of hours and feeling unable to switch off from work, then try reassessing your working style, home-office environment and instil some good habits and boundaries for yourself.
TIP: Creating a dedicated working space, with set working hours and designated break times can help you to stay focused, be more productive when working and less inclined to allow your free or family time to be encroached on by work.
Although all traditionally office-based roles share similar WFH distractions and hurdles. The Finance, Marketing and HR sectors in particular deal with rapidly changing information, in situations where face-to-face interactions are essential, team working is key to productivity and they are under pressure to make company-wide decisions that matter.
IT security within the Finance jobs became a high priority with the onset of WFH. With employees struggling to manage operating systems from their own devices, to concerns around cyber security and data-breaches.
Many marketing jobs that previously focused on promotional events that relied on getting in front of their audience, are now delivering virtual events and webinars for example. With most people spending more time online and in need of social engagement, marketeers have the chance for innovative ways to connect with their audiences.
Maintaining the employer’s obligation to their employees, in regard to their health and safety when they’re WFH, is one of the issues faced within HR jobs. Putting in place policies and procedures to guarantee the correct equipment is available, undertaking remote risk assessments and safeguarding employee wellbeing during these challenging changes is necessary.
Across all of these sectors employees and employers are facing similar challenges when it comes to dealing with security risks, role adaptations and health and safety measures. Employers should install encryption software on laptops and remote-wipe apps on mobiles, be prepared to re-write job descriptions and reassess Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to allow for new ways of working. It is vital that there are open lines of communication between all employees and line managers who may be experiencing poor mental health brought on by WFH.
TIP: As an employee, it is your responsibility to check your company’s policies and procedures or speak to your line manager if you are struggling with any aspect of this new way of working.
Working from home hacks, a year on
It’s important that you find a way of WFH that works for you and is in-line with your company’s policies and manager’s expectations. Although there is no one way of successfully working remotely, here are some of our top tips we’ve learnt throughout a year of WFH to get you on the right track.
Communication is key. Don’t just rely on emails, make sure you use real time communication methods and video chats to stay in touch with your team. Regular contact will also help everyone from feeling isolated.
Set up regular check-ins with your whole team for an informal chat so you can get to know them on a personal level and can form a bond.
Screen sharing and video are great ways to ask a colleague for help or brainstorm ideas. These methods will help the team to feel more connected and involved.
Try using an online project management tool, such as Asana or Clickup, to stay in control of your workload, this will help you to assign tasks and meet deadlines.
When collaborating on a project, using cloud-based document storage with real time updates will help the team stay on top of version control and reduce the need for sending documents back and forth for review.
Looking after your own wellbeing is key to avoiding burnout. Set yourself reminders to take regular breaks, take a daily lunch break and stick to your core working hours as if you were in the office.
To establish a healthy work and home life balance, at the end of each working day pack away your office equipment, or close the door to your office, and switch off your work-related communication tech.
Introduce a WFH policy and/or agreement, so that all employees know the do’s and don’ts and where to get support from if they’re struggling to adapt.
Considerations around data protection and cyber security should be a priority when setting up any employee to WFH. Re-issue your data protection policy to all remote workers and ensure their equipment is set up with the correct level of firewalls, strong password protection and email encoding where necessary.
To promote your team’s wellbeing, set boundaries around working practices, such as set working hours to prevent around-the-clock working.
Keeping things flexibleIn the long term, you may want to continue working from home. To see what flexible working options are out there or if you need some advice on how to request flexible working, consult your company’s WFH or flexible working policy, visit the GOV.UK website or contact your HR department to find out what is available to you.
This shift towards home working doesn't mean you have to only work from home. You may prefer to split your time between home and your workplace, perhaps a productive solution could be that you are a homeworker who attends meetings at the office, thus keeping you fully involved and informed.
Equally, you may be longing to return to the office and enjoy the interactive hubbub of colleagues around you and having immediate access to your line manager for guidance when needed. But be prepared for an altered office landscape, as you may find that some of your team have chosen to work remotely or semi-remotely for the foreseeable future.
Where NextWhether you love it or hate it, working from home could be here to stay post-pandemic induced lockdowns. It’s not just Finance, Marketing and HR jobs that are affected by this new way of working, all sectors that are able to WFH are in the same position.
To ensure you’re successful in this remote working world and are able to establish a healthy work life balance, we encourage you to use our tips and techniques to improve your day-to-day working from home routine.
JobseekersKeep a lookout for the latest opportunities by regularly searching the job vacancies on our website.
Other Office Jobs
You can also find our latest job listings via LinkedIn.
To find out about our recruitment process click here