How to build a working from home culture.
With the UK in a no-nonsense lockdown, you’re almost certainly at home trying to adjust to the new normal. But working from home isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially if you have pets or children that need attention.
Whether you have kids, cats or noisy neighbours, there will always be something you need to deal with that you wouldn’t have to worry about in the office.
In this blog, we are going to explore tips for new remote workers and managers who want to share helpful advice with their teams as they adjust to the new normal.
Be more social.
Loneliness is going to be rampant during isolation so it’s super important to maintain connections with people. Your colleagues will be feeling the same so try to communicate with them throughout the day.
If you do something great, tell someone. If you’re having a tough time on your own one day, send someone a “hey, how’s it going?”.
During times like this it’s important to be there for others as much as for yourself. Check in on your colleagues every now and then to see how they are doing. Just try to chat about things unrelated to the virus. If you can’t steer away from virus chat, Trump’s latest baboonery will likely get a laugh.
Remember to be positive. Even if you like succinct and clear messages, others might mistake this for rudeness so it’s better to crack out the exclamation point and ready the emojis from time to time!
Here are a few things you can do right now to keep you sane and connected with your colleagues:
- Morning group calls to kick the day off
- Daily riddles/10-minute challenges
- A weekly quiz night via Zoom
- Play online games together, like:
- Host a Netflix party after work
Create the right environment.
Creating the right work environment is an essential part of working from home successfully.
Keeping a dedicated office space will develop the right thoughts and feelings when you sit down to work in it. When your laptop is plugged into the monitor and your wireless keyboard is out, it’s work time. When you’re sitting on the couch and your laptop is on your lap, you’re relaxing. You must be able to distinguish easily between your workstation and your quiet space away from work.
If your new home office environment is missing something, speak to your employers. By now your company should have assessed your working conditions to ensure that you have everything you need. Most organisations that are accustomed to people working from home often have a budget for home office equipment. So, if you don’t have the right monitor, keyboard, mouse, chair, software, etc, you should be open with your employers about what you need. You may also be able to request a work phone during the isolation so you can keep your work and life separate.
During this time where home and work are merging together, it’s easy to forget to give yourself adequate time to walk away from your screens. If you’re not on your work laptop, you’re on your own or your phone. You should schedule a few breaks throughout the day and make sure you take them.
We’re in this for the long haul so your work days will become more manageable if you break them up and maintain focus over shorter amounts of time.
Take advantage of the perks.
There are two things everyone with a long commute will enjoy during the isolation period: their mornings and evenings.
If your commute into work usually takes an hour each way, you suddenly have two hours of the day to do something with. You can do some indoor exercise, cook, or create some art. Anything that you wish you had more time for at the beginning of the year.
Now we’re in full lockdown mode, you should spend as much time in the fresh air as possible. That means taking your daily exercise if it is safe to do so and sitting in the garden for 15 minutes every few hours.
If you don’t have access to a garden and your local park is shut, make sure you have fresh air circulating. Otherwise you can start to feel groggy and negative. Opening the windows for just 20 minutes can help alleviate the negative energy of sitting indoors all day.
Also, don’t sit down all day. Stand up, walk around. Motion creates emotion and sitting down all day leads to… bad things.
This is where the importance of routine comes into play. Without structure we can get a bit confused with what to do next which leads us to feeling lost and a bit empty. So, even if your morning routine is just to wake up, make a coffee and get out of your pyjamas, stick to it. But make sure your routine ends with you starting work.
Come up with a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Having clear guidelines for when to work, when to have a break and when to wrap up for the day helps most remote workers maintain a good work-life balance. Otherwise you might find yourself drifting in and out of work, making the work day drag on.
Also, be sure to set some boundaries with the people you share a space with. Whether it’s your flatmate, partner or children, set some rules while you are working (easier said than done). They need to be clear about what they can and cannot do while you’re working, especially if you have to speak to clients or customers throughout the day.
There are many more challenges for those who have children living with them. Read this excellent article from MindGenius that looks a bit more at the options regarding homeschooling and work/life balance.
Conclusion – make it personal.
These are some of our suggestions, although some may not work for you. You have to find out what works best for you and stick to it. Creating a routine is vital, but so are enjoying the perks and maintaining normal levels of communication.
A final piece of advice – don’t be too hard on yourself! Everyone lets their attention drift from time to time; it takes a lot of self-discipline to get the same amount of work completed from home as it would in the office, especially in such a unique situation.
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