Winter is Coming! – Ensuring Effective Working From Home

With the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in an enormous number of employees working from home, many employers have struggled to know how to best manage those employees and ensure their effectiveness and well-being.

Whilst a significant number of employees already worked from home prior to Covid-19, it was usually for the odd day of the week or month. However, Covid-19 has highlighted a number of challenges in enabling employees to work effectively from home on a long term basis.

These challenges are exacerbated as autumn sets in and winter approaches. We’ve identified the top 5 challenges that need to be overcome to help ensure your employees remain effective and productive during the winter months.

  1. More regular and scheduled contact

    video conference

    An employee not being in an office environment means much less social contact and interaction with colleagues. For the odd occasion, this isn’t a problem (and probably delivers increased productivity); however it is likely to significantly impact an employee’s well-being if it is more permanent.

    As well as missing out on the social chit chat of an office environment, they’re also likely to miss out on opportunities to ask ad hoc questions and seek guidance from their manager. These are likely to be small things that don’t merit a specific phone call or meeting, but would benefit the employee nonetheless.

    As a result, it’s really important that regular contact (ideally visual via video conferencing) is maintained or increased. Clearly the regularity and duration of each contact will be down to an individual manager and their employee, but it’s vital the employee is engaged in a way that suits them best. For example, a daily scheduled meeting might seem excessive for some, but a 10 minute session at the start or end of the day, can be perfect for others.

    Regardless of the frequency and duration of each contact, ensuring close and regular contact with your employees working from home will be critical to helping each employee feel engaged and in turn, more effective.  

  2. Well-being of employees with children 

    It’s really important to identify and empathise with the specific challenges of those employees with young children, especially if a partner or grandparent is trying to care for them in the same house. In the colder and wetter months, it is likely to be far more challenging to entertain children in the garden or elsewhere outside the home.

    As an employer, you should try to be as flexible as possible in terms of meeting times as well as not putting the employee under any additional undue pressure – they’re already likely to be under enough! Hopefully older children will remain in school throughout the winter but additional flexibility may be required if this is not the case.

  3. Ensuring warmth


    Employees working in uncomfortable surroundings will not be as effective – whether they are too hot or too cold. So as the cooler season approaches, the need for heating increases. Employees used to working in an office every day are likely to only use their heating first thing in the morning and when they get home in the evening. So working from home all day is likely to significantly increase their heating bills and, if necessary, financial support should be offered towards this to prevent unnecessary anxiety about an increase in their financial outgoings.

    For those employees who may not be working in a room with a radiator or viable heat source, alternative options should be considered and provided e.g. portable electric heaters (although again, financial support for their electricity bills should accompany this).

  4. Effective lighting

    lightGood lighting in the room where the employee is working is also a vital component. This is less likely to be an issue in the bright summer months but as the evenings draw in and mornings are darker for longer, it’s crucial an employee has effective lighting in their working environment. A lack of suitable light can put an unnecessary strain on the employee’s eyesight as well as being a contributing factor to Seasonal Affective Disorder.

    As such, providing stand-alone desk lamps or other appropriate lighting solutions for the employee’s home is highly recommended.

  5. Encourage fresh air and breaks

    It’s so much more difficult to get fresh air when it’s cold and miserable outside. However, it’s also really important for the well-being and effectiveness of employees to try and get some fresh air at some point during their day so this should be actively encouraged.

    In addition, ensuring an employee takes a short break away from their computer on a regular basis (as they should be doing in an office environment) is also strongly recommended. Many employees working from home may feel guilty about being away from their computer in case their manager thinks they are slacking off while no-one is watching but this is rarely the reality.  


When an employee has worked from home on the odd occasion, they are likely to have been extremely productive and effective during that time. However, working from home on an on-going basis is likely to see the reverse occur unless the challenges above are addressed.

Many businesses initially viewed employees working from home as a result of Covid-19 to be short term. However, the reality is that a significant number of employees are likely to continue working from home in the medium to long term as Covid-19 isn’t disappearing any time soon.

So although working from home does have a significant number of benefits, it also brings the challenges highlighted above. These should be considered and addressed by an employer to ensure their employees continue working as effectively and productively as possible.

If you’d like to find out more on how Executive Search can help you find the best Senior Talent, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0207 160 6996.

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