I have been working from home since my first corporate job at Accenture in 2010 so I understand the expectations from a organisational and a personal perspective. But there are some of you out there who have never had to work from home and believe me, there is a way to work from home (WFH) successfully.
The difference being, in pre Corona Virus (Covid 19) times many organisations had begun to incorporate WFH into the lives of their employees with remote working and hot desking infrastructural changes. So what is the difference now?
Well, many organisations and schools are having to implement work from home infrastructure at speed without much warning or preparation and with the potential addition of a quarantined situation. As a result the reality of working from home has been intensified, to which effect I wanted to provide you with some of the tips to help you succeed whilst working from home;
1) Act As If You Are Going Into The Office
Working from home once in a while is a luxury and most people are excited by the prospect, however here we are presented with the reality of working from home being imposed upon us as a full time obligation.
That doesn’t mean you need to break your usual routine, yes you might have some more time in bed as a result of a reduction in your commute. But it is important to get up, get ready for work and set up a space that you can work from comfortably and hopefully ergonomically. That means, not setting up shop in your bed or from your sofa, but actually sitting at a table to ensure you have good posture.
(So yes that does mean getting dressed, even if it is just your top half for video calls)
Get seated at your desk and ready to go at the start of your working day, with a clearly defined purpose!
2) Have a Healthy To Do List
Structure your day, when you are working from home you have to be your own manager and therefore you have to manage your productivity (and potentially those in your team if you have to manage others).
At the end of each day, write your to do list and goals for the next day so that you have clarity/ focus and you do not have to waste time in the morning.
Segment what you will do and when you will do it over the course of the day ; provide yourself with breaks so that you are able to keep focused and avoid burnout.
Without office based distractions you may actually be more productive!
3) Think Like An Entrepreneur
As the Corona Virus pandemic affects the global economy, I believe it is on each of us to look at how we add value to our organisations, teams or suppliers.
Think – what can you do to define the problems and seek out the solutions to help your company to stay above water. It is on all of us to go over and above, to rally together to make sure the business survives.
Thinking ‘intrapreneurially’ is essentially having a entrepreneurial mindset within your career and therefore looking at your programme, project as if it is a your own business. What would you do to help, how could you add value – if your job was on the line how would you approach each problem. This current pandemic calls for more than ‘thinking outside of the box’, it calls on us to throw away the box!
4) Stay In Contact
In an age of technology, working remotely or working from home does not have to mean working in isolation. If you would typically have a weekly team meeting, you can still have the team meeting via lots of different technology (eg. Zoom / Microsoft Teams etc.). If you don’t usually have a team meeting, well it is time to start having one.
Usually when working from home, I would have said that changes to your environment are important which might have meant working from a local coffee shop or hot-desking office but if we are in lock down that might not be allowed.
So, why not keep the team spirit going by scheduling calls and meetings as normal, checking in your colleagues to see if they are coping OK or if they need your assistance. Go on that online course that you have been pushing back but that would make you stronger or add to your value when things are back to normal.
You might even find that you are able to increase your productivity at home and have more meetings without the office distractions.. oh but then we need to consider the at home distractions…
5) Accept Distractions
You are at home so there will be a myriad of distractions that you are faced with :
- The Doorbell / Deliveries
- The Washing
- The Kids
- The TV
- Social Media
- The Partner
Lets accept that some of these distractions can be prevented and some cannot, and the distractions are a reality – so long as they are not taking over the whole working day. I saw an organisation saying online that if children are coming into the room you are working from whilst you are on a video call, let them say hi! Now this might not be acceptable in the average industry but in this situation, if the schools are closed you have a good reason for your child being at home. Try to adapt and explain to to your children as much as possible what your working time means – but children will be children. If your company understands then even better.
The others, try not to order up a storm just because you are home but a good work schedule with clearly defined breaks will make some allowances for some of the above.
With that said try not to get absorbed into the TV or social media, it isn’t productive and really you want to prove to your organisation that post Corona Virus you can be trusted to continue to work from home on occasion.
The final point on this;
6) Get Some Exercise
…and fresh air (if you can find it), if you are used to a daily commute you may also be used to a little walking, cycling etc. so where possible try to feed a little of this into your daily routine. Even if it is a walk around the block, in your garden or to your local shops.
If you are working from home and struggling with the feeling of isolation, remember to reach out to others. I am sure they are feeling the same!