How to Work from Home when you’re not ‘designed’ to
People are designed very differently and, in the workplace, there are those who need the structure and rigidity of an office environment to keep them feeling like they are working and being productive, monitored by Management; and then there are those who can work from anywhere, be it a coffee shop, from their own beds to the dining room table or the garden chair outside and they’ll be just as productive – and often even more so – as if they were in an office, being supervised by their Management staff or team leaders.
Now, in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic where the process of lock-down has been inflicted on us all, people are forced to work from home where their jobs allow for it and it’s a scary and stressful thing for some to have to do.
We know that working remotely has become more popular than ever and it’s become increasingly more and more viable and practical with the use of technology and virtual togetherness. But for some, this working practice affects their mental health and well-being negatively, resulting in stress, anxiety, a fear of being ‘left out’ and not part of the team, depression and often a lack of productivity as a result.
So how do people manage themselves when it comes to being forced to work from home when they’ve worked so hard to create a work-life balance where work is done at the office and left there and home is where they relax, unwind and spend time with their families?
Set up a good location to work from.
Find a good space to work in at home that is well lit and ventilated space, letting in natural light, with a working space, be it a desk, the dining room table or your lounge coffee table – make sure it’s comfortable for you and it’s a space where you’ll be able to work relatively uninterrupted (particularly if you have children or a partner at home) and you can set up your resources effectively.
Stick to your normal Routine/Schedule as much as possible.
Set your morning alarm as you normally would and get up, you don’t have to dress up (unless you’re conducting video interviews, meetings or conference calls) and show up – make it feel like you’re going to work, but in your home, and make sure you have a schedule for the day and stick to it. Include your breaks for coffee or a walk outside, like you would at work and break for lunch. Make sure you plan your time so that you can still have your work-life balance as normal.
Stay in Touch
With your team members and your Management, constantly. Communication is key when working remotely. This will allow you to feel less isolated and alone and still part of the team entirely. It’s easy for people to lose touch, so it’s important to set up some call times or virtual meetings with the team to touch base during the week, and the more you communicate, the more connected you’ll feel. Set up a virtual coffee break with a colleague during the day and find out where you can help one another and do the same with your manager, it promotes activity and teamwork even though no one is in the same space.
Use the technology you have to keep you working.
Technology has enabled the world to work more remotely than ever. Use Skype and other conferencing tools to still conduct interviews, hold meetings and have group discussions. Use WhatsApp groups to maintain a group presence and share information and knowledge and make sure you maintain contact with your clients and candidates in the same way. Make sure you are online for your team, your management and your clients, always.
Don’t stop what you’re doing
You’re still working, and you still have deadlines and targets to make, people to interview, placements and sales to make and working life goes on, even from home. Make sure you know what your management expects of you and meet those deadlines as you normally would. Provide management with daily updates on your progress, ask for assistance when you need it and share what you’ve already achieved and what your to-list is for the upcoming days.
It is very easy to be distracted from work while being at home. There are chores to be done, a program on Netflix you might want to catch up on or a DIY project you want to tackle. You can still do those but limit them to the times you take your breaks during the day and only during those times. Don’t let them infringe on your working time otherwise you’ll put yourself in a state of pressure and time limits when you have agreed on deadlines. Keep your focus as much as possible.
It’s easy to fall into a state of imbalance at home, working too much and forgetting you’re at home, which means you need to switch off and unplug for your family responsibility and that to yourself for “you time.” It’s important to set clear boundaries for yourself when it comes to working from home – communicate with those around you as to what your expectations are while you’re working at home and then also set your times to switch off. Make sure you still do your home workouts to clear your mind and unwind, cook your dinners and play with the dogs and the kids and then start again tomorrow.
Inspire one another with motivation and inspiration every day – use a positive quote to start the day, share your success stories, even a funny moment or two, and make sure you’re still focused on the company’s goals and objectives. Adjust your activity as you need to during times like this and make use of the time wisely!
During this time of fear and uncertainty, staying positive and optimistic is key to being successful working from home. Make sure you use the time for introspection and creativity as well when it comes to your work – you might find new way of getting things done better, you will need to nurture your relationships at work and with your clients, customers, staff, candidates etc., you will need to see the ‘good in the bad’ and use the time to develop new business and keep in touch with decision makers.
In a way, you might find the lack of the phones ringing and constant visitors, a blessing in disguise – use that time to maintain focus, gain a new perspective and shine!
Chantelle Smith – Recruitment Specialist.