In light of the current Coronavirus crisis, many employees are finding themselves suddenly needing to adapt to working from home. More and more organisations are closing their offices and asking employees to work remotely during the outbreak. We understand that if you’ve never worked from home, this can be a challenge. In the home office, it is easy to become your own worst enemy, and to lose focus and morale. Some common challenges of working from home can include:
- Defining clear team rules
- Maintaining concentration
- Structuring the work day
If these issues are hitting close to home for you, we have some useful tips to help you to make the most out of this situation.
Defining Clear Team Rules
A good place to start is to know and understand your employer’s remote working policies. The company HR team may have authored a handbook or guidelines on working during a crisis. This may include policies, procedures, and expectations. Now would be a good time to read this.
If your team has not provided any guidelines, send a quick email asking for a summary of expectations during this time. This not only shows initiative, but will also give you and your colleagues clarity. This clarity will help avoid any ambiguity and potential conflicts or miscommunication while working remotely.
Difficulty communicating is a common challenge for people working from home. When working remotely, body language and bumping into people in hallways no longer exists, so communication becomes key. Here are some tips to successfully communicate while remote working:
- Over-communicate: The default rule of thumb is if you question whether your colleague will want to know something, share it.
- Note your progress: It is particularly important to be proactive and alert while working remotely. For example, you may choose to send a daily email detailing the advancements you have made that day.
- Promptly return communications: Fair-or-not, colleagues will likely expect quicker return times for calls and emails while you’re working from home. So, do your best to respond to coworkers as quickly as possible, and if you feel response expectations are unrealistic, have a direct conversation about it.
Use effective tools to communicate: There are plenty of useful digital tools to manage remote teams. Read more here.
It is no surprise that it is harder to concentrate on work while you’re at home. Whether it’s your kids at home, the new show on tv, or that snack in the fridge that is calling your name, everyone has to battle with the home-distractions that are inevitable when working remotely. Here are some pointers to help you stay focused:
- Choose a dedicated work space: Just because you’re not in the office, doesn’t mean you can’t have your own space to work. Choose a specific room or surface in your house to work from.
- Remove the distraction of social media: Social media is a powerful distractor, even when not at home. So, one way to combat this is log out of your accounts during work hours, or remove them from your browser shortcuts.
- Work when you’re most productive: There is no doubt that some people are morning people, and some people definitely are not. You know what kind of person you are, and when you are at your most productive. Make sure you’re working in the hours that you are most efficient, to maximise your productivity.
- Communicate expectations with anyone who will also be at home: At present, most of the family will probably be social distancing, so there will likely be other people in the house with you when you are trying to work. While this may be an added challenge, let everyone know when you will be working, and when you are free to have a break & chat.
Structuring the Work Day
As we know, remote working can blur the lines between personal and professional. Here are some ideas you can implement into your daily work life to retain some normalcy:
- Get ready like you are going to the office: When working from home, try and do all the things you would usually do to prepare for a day at the office – set an alarm, make your much-needed coffee, and get dressed for your day. This should contribute to the mental association of work and the office, and can enhance productivity.
- Plan out your day: Make a physical plan of what you need to get done in a day, and any calls or meetings you may have. Try to solidify your schedule the day before, in order to make sure you are not wasting time figuring out what you need to be doing, so you can get straight into it.
- Take clear breaks: It is even more difficult to be productive in the workday if you don’t have dedicated break times. Having these scheduled will allow you to focus more intensely on the work at hand, and will break up your day. Use your breaks to get out of the home office and refresh.
No one expects things to be exactly the same as as they would be in the office, so it is also important to cut yourself some slack. While you’re taking a moment to give yourself a break, remember that your colleagues are in the same boat. It is important to be kind to each other and check in on your coworkers frequently.
Here at Relogo, we want to voice our solidarity with you at this particularly challenging time. If there are any special services our team may assist with please feel free to contact us.