By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Dean, School of Business, American Public University
I have been fortunate in having the opportunity to work from home for different jobs. For instance, my last three jobs over a 15-year period have provided some ways to work from my house.
Start a management degree at American Public University.
As a result, I have spent time on social media and in face-to-face conversations responding to the naysayers who did not believe remote work could be effective. However, my job in convincing others of the effectiveness of remote work became easier this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those people who were totally against the practice had to embrace the work-from-home style if they wanted their businesses to remain productive during an immediate, unplanned shutdown.
The COVID-19 Conversion to Remote Work Has Made Employees More Productive
As many people around me begin a work ritual that I have lived for a number of years, I have only experienced one change – more work. What happened? I can only think of one reason why I’m working more – my coworkers were more productive as the result of working from home.
As people became empowered to take charge of their work time in an environment they could control, they reassessed their work and became more efficient and effective. As a result, their input increased, and projects were turned around at a quicker pace.
Also, I believed the change in atmosphere allowed employees to create a better work-life balance in their lives. They were forced to reschedule events and rituals as a result of planning activities for the household.
Basically, the world was about to experience what I had experienced years ago. The good news is that I believe I have found the formula that works for me.
Questions to Consider for Working Remotely
Depending on your lifestyle, some of the questions you will need to address if you’re working remotely include:
- How do I use my house to serve two purposes – as a home for my family to reside and as a spot where I work to make a living? How will resources be shared resources?
- What are the logistics and uses for my home? How do I make it functional? Do I need a bigger place? Should I renovate to make my space more user-friendly? How has technology impacted my household, and do I need an upgrade?
- What is the balance of having quality time with my family and carving out time to spend alone (a.k.a. “ME” time)?
- How do I maintain areas of my life that I was dependent on others to provide a service (i.e. beauty treatments, meal time, schools)?
- How do I create a balanced schedule to incorporate all of my daily activities? My solution was to think in terms of a 24-hour work schedule versus an 8-hour work schedule. For example, when I tell someone that I will have a deliverable to them by the end of the day, I mean 12 midnight versus 5 p.m.
Working at home isn’t for everyone, but I have witnessed many converts. I am hearing stories where people have been able to eat healthier, lose weight, and save money as a result of changing their old ways and habits. The transformation in the business world created by the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged and motivated people to live a more focused, healthy lifestyle.
How has remote work worked for you?
About the Author
Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Dean of the School of Business at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.
Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and strong leader, manifesting people skills, a methodical approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.