Canada's workforce having to adjust to working from home
TORONTO -- As public community spaces, restaurants and bars temporarily shut their doors amid warnings from health officials trying to slow the spread of COVID-19, many Canadian workplaces are telling their employees to do their job from home.
It’s a scary prospect for some.
For those who have never had to work from home before, it may be hard to adjust and stay productive in what is typically a leisure setting.
As much of the national workforce embarks on this new normal, experts say the key for those struggling is to try to maintain a schedule.
Josiah Gordon’s new work commute consists of merely walking up a flight of stairs to his home office.
“Extroverted people are going to have a challenge with this for sure,” said Gordon, who is a senior visual designer in marketing for Top Hat, a software platform used by universities and colleges.
The tech company is allowing the workers to do their job from home. They’ll be relying more than ever on video conferencing to make sure teams can connect and feel like they’re still at the office.
“I think it’s a good precautionary step and measure,” Gordon said. “I think that it’s better to do that than regret it later.”
Some are being faced with bigger changes than others. Amid the office move, Anastasia Tubanos has a new coworker -- an unusually tiny one.
Tubanos will have to juggle taking care of her toddler while also working from home. Tubanos’s husband is also working from home, and has chosen to set up his office space in a quiet spot in the hallway.
“It’s challenging to get work done,” Tubanos said. “She has needs and she’s a toddler -- it's not like she’s really going to distract herself for a long period of time.”
Hilary Carter, managing director of Blockchain Research Institute, has had a lot of experience with working remotely. She recommends waking up at the same time you normally would to transit to work, getting dressed as though you’re going to be heading into the office, and finding a dedicated workspace instead of carrying your laptop with you between your bedroom, the kitchen and the living room sofa.
“Don’t work in your jammies, for example,” she told CTV News Channel. “Don’t work from bed, replicate your office environment as much as possible while you are in a remote place.”
Setting up your at home office space in an area with natural light may also help with feeling cooped up.
Some workplaces are instigating only partial work-from-home requirements.
Toronto-based real estate law firm Grechi Carter says that as of tomorrow, they will be keeping just two or three workers in the actual office, and having the rest work from home. To make it fair, they will rotate the staff every few weeks.
“I’m preparing mentally for (this to be a) three to six month situation,” Daniele Grechi, a partner at the law firm, told CTV News Channel.
Experts also say that those stuck at home should avoid complete social isolation by speaking to someone over the phone or skype at least once a day.