Have you been thrust into working from home? Given our current Pandemic, many of us have had to abandon our offices for our home and have had to adapt our way of working; needing to create workspaces in the home such as using our dining table as the office desk or our bedroom as a makeshift office to get some quiet away from flatmates or our children’s remote learning. This has required us to adapt and rethink spaces and indeed how we approach our daily working life.
Some may have always worked from home and already have a perfect set up, enjoying the flexibility this working way offers. Maybe we can learn from this group how to do it well!
Others may have been stood down from current positions and find they have so much time at home and have turned their attention to upskilling with online courses.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, it is important to work out how best you can navigate this new way of working and get the best out of it. When we look back before the Pandemic (oh those days!) many modern professionals would have considered working from home as a little bit of a luxury, with no commute, no rushing to reach the office on time, and no competing with others for coffees and lunch. How ideal might sitting at your computer be with your ‘Furry Friend’ warming your toes and sending you rays of love and affection, no one looking over your shoulder, no noisy colleagues distracting you with their endless chatter and competing deadlines. Also, getting a few domestic chores done between Zoom calls and emails is most appealing. However, be warned! WFH you can become your own worst enemy.
There are pros and cons to both sides. I have highlighted some of the pros, here are some of the cons. Firstly you may not have a large home so designating a space specifically for working may not be easy. Work can start to seep into your personal life so no end time or beginning. You may lack the motivation when you don’t have colleagues around you to brainstorm ideas or check-in with. You can get distracted and don’t focus as your environment may be pulling you in different directions. You miss the human contact of a work environment that can help get you through the day.
Here are a few of my top points to consider to help you with your ‘New way of working 2020’
Maintain a regular working time, that fits in with work schedules and for those around you. Being mindful of when to work and when to call it a day. Observe your working style and when you are most productive. Whilst we do not always have a choice in this matter with outside influences, we can choose when we get our work done. There is automatic time tracking apps out there to ensure you are sticking to your schedule RescueTime, is a good one to look at.
Set ground rules with the people in your space. There may be other people in your household working from home or who share your space. It is important to have conversations about how you will both manage this change. Don’t assume, otherwise your productivity may suffer, and tempers and friendships may get a little frayed!
Leave home and take a break, getting some fresh air, or getting a change of scenery. There is nothing worse than looking at a computer all day or endless phone or Zoom conversations. It can be draining and eventually unproductive. Perhaps if you do not have the time to take a break, at least try to move into the garden or an outside space!
Keep a dedicated workspace. In an ideal world, this would be wonderful, however, we don’t all live in an ideal world. Therefore, do your best to separate your workspace from your home life. If you have to work from your bedroom, put your work stuff away at night, like a hot desk. You really don’t want to go to sleep looking at your computer or filing. That’s not an image that will soothe you into a good night’s sleep!
This new way of working will be with us for some time to come so embrace it and make sure it works for you so you can become as productive as you can without sacrificing your work-life balance.
One major Australia Corporation only just last week has given the go-ahead for their employees to continue to work from home if they want to, for the foreseeable future. I suspect many more employers will make decisions like this over the coming months.
Whether we move back to the office or do a combination of the two, this has made us rethink how we approach work and above all, we have become more adaptable and perhaps even a little more resilient!
If you are, however, missing your colleagues you may want to take a listen to this to remember what it was once like!!