Scientists identified key factors to successful transition to working from home

COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us many different lessons. One of the main important ones is working from home. For some people it is easy, but many struggle to maintain the same motivation and productivity. Now scientists at the University of Waterloo identified three main factors that are important to young people who work from home during the coronavirus pandemic: socialization, productivity and meaningful work.

Nice, cozy working environment is very important for productivity during the COVID-19 mess. Image credit: Michel Temer via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

For this study scientists conducted structured interviews via video conference with 50 Waterloo co-op students. They had to answer questions about challenges they were facing working from home, skills and their general perception about working from home during the early stages of the pandemic. And results were generally positive – 87 % of participants had a smooth transition to working from home, even though this was an abrupt change.

There were many positives that young people found in working remotely. For example, they liked flexible working hours, they enjoyed relaxed dress code and an increased sense of independence. However, there were some negatives as well. Judene Pretti, lead author of the study, said: “We also learned that they particularly missed the informal and social aspects of connecting with colleagues in a workplace setting, and in some cases felt that they could be more productive and could make a more meaningful contribution”. In short, students missed the opportunities to collaborate with their colleagues and the social aspects of going to work. And, inevitably, there were some technical difficulties as well, especially in the beginning of the lockdown period.

But how do you transition to working from home smoothly? Well, scientists identified three main factors – socialization, productivity and meaningful work. This means that you need to maintain constant connection with your organization and colleagues. You also need to adapt well and don’t stress it too much to maintain productivity. Finally, it will be easier if you will see the value of your work. Even though you are not going to the office now, it doesn’t make you replaceable. If you’re the boss, make sure that your employees know and understand that. And, as this study has shown, most people made a very successful transition.

It is important to optimize your home office setup not only to maintain, but to increase your productivity. Many people are going to lose their jobs because of COVID-19 pandemic. But if you’re one of the lucky ones who will be able to continue working, you should make the best out of it and use it as an opportunity to improve yourself.


Source: University of Waterloo

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