As an aside, I advise employees to make themselves invaluable. Showing initiative, asking for extra work or projects, and of course submitting high-quality work in a timely manner will reflect well should there come a time that employers must make difficult decisions about layoffs.
Working successfully from home requires discipline. Employees should create a quiet space where they can work each day, as opposed to moving from room to room which can be distracting and disruptive. Their routine should include set hours, fresh air and exercise, and plenty of sleep… along with regular breaks to avoid eyestrain by staring at a screen too long, and to maintain a clear head. A work-life balance to reduce stress is essential.
Still, we as a society should be wary of the downside of working from home: its negative psychological effect. We are social beings, and working remotely, if we aren’t used to it – especially for those of us who live alone – can be difficult and detrimental emotionally.
There are other, unexpected negative consequences of this crisis; one is that many businesses will discover that, in reality, they can succeed through working remotely. This success is a double edged sword, meaning that if a business can thrive with employees working offsite then commercial real estate suffers. When companies no longer require brick-and-mortar locations, a local domino effect ensues; ancillary businesses, from cafés to gyms to print shops around the commercial office environment, will subsequently close. The ripples will be felt through many other industries, including construction, transportation, energy, and retail.
Many families already are under great financial strain. In my own companies I have implemented a policy to address financial security and am providing a benefit to my employees who are ill from the virus…something I urge other corporations to consider.
Most importantly, leadership should take social isolation seriously and not attempt to circumvent state mandates by requiring that nonessential workers leave home, or by having employees return to work too early. Our employees are our most important asset, and we must protect them, along with our local emergency responders and health practitioners, to the best of our ability.