4 Simple Things to Do to Making Working from Home Easier
Working from home is an ideal that many people have longed for, but the reality of it can be disenchanting. The process of transitioning from an in-office position to working from home full-time can be pretty challenging. This is especially when you’re expected to keep the same hours and workload — all while other tasks like caring for the kids and managing the day-to-day household duties. Let’s just say it takes some special skills to make it work!
But, don’t fret!
We’ve got four simple tips for things you can do to make working from much easier on everyone. If you lead a team or you’re the owner of a business, you have some additional challenges when heading up a remote team — especially during a global pandemic. We’ve got some suggestions to help with that, too.
4 Simple Things for Employees
If you're an employee that's new to working from home, you'll benefit from the following tips
Create Your Own Space
People are getting really inventive with their home offices. If you're one of the lucky ones, you already have your own office space with a door and a lock. Unfortunately, many of us have had to improvise which can make staying on task and productive difficult. If that’s the case, do what you can to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle, whether that’s converting a walk-in closet or a balcony/porch into a home office.
If you don’t have any private space you can take over, carve out a little section of a public area. Even if it means setting up camp at the kitchen table, having a designated space will help you feel more settled so you can focus better. Plus, it will help family members or roommates understand that you’re working and limit interruptions.
Start or Continue a Morning Ritual
It's likely if you worked outside the home that you had a morning ritual. Maybe it was stopping for coffee every morning; maybe it was getting up and exercising before work. Whatever your morning ritual was, continue it.
Your body and mind have become accustomed to these rituals and sees them as signifiers that work is about to begin. You will feel more on schedule if you keep them up. That being said, the rituals may need to be altered for our current reality. For instance, if you always have a cup of coffee on your way to work, make a cup of coffee and take a moment to enjoy it.
If you didn't have a ritual before, now is the perfect time to start one. The extra time you have from not having to commute can be used to do some stretches, enjoy a cup of coffee, or spend time meditating. Having an effective morning routine helps to put you in the right mindset and sets the tone for the day. Not to mention, we can all benefit from a little me time!
There are two schools of thought when it comes to working from home. There are employers that expect butts in seats for a certain number of hours. If they try to reach you during those hours and you are unreachable, this will cause a problem.
Then there are employers that are measuring productivity, not hours. That means they are concerned about what you're accomplishing, not the hours you're working. This is wonderful for parents of small children because it gives them flexibility. They’re still getting their work done; they’re just doing it according to a schedule that is convenient for them.
When making the transition to working from home, it’s important to understand which of these categories your boss falls into. That way everyone is on the same page when it comes to expectations. If your boss doesn’t mention specific hours, be sure to ask so there are no misunderstandings.
Come with Solutions
For a majority of employers, this is the first time they are offering remote work. We haven’t faced a pandemic like this in the age of technology. There are going to be hiccups along the way. Instead of complaining about the things that aren’t working, share ideas or suggestions to make things work more efficiently. Your boss will likely appreciate the feedback, and it creates a line of communication that may not otherwise be available.
4 Simple Things for Employers
If you are the boss, there's a heavy weight on your shoulders. You're likely worried about the future of your company and wondering what that means for your employees. How you manage them during this crisis can be a turning point that improves company culture and morale. On the flip side, it could leave people feeling disengaged and not wanting to be a part of your organization in the future.
You’re trying to avoid the latter, right?
Here’s how you can create a positive remote work experience for your team.
Let your team know upfront about what you need from them. Are you going to hold an 8:30 AM virtual meeting every morning? Do they need to check-in when they clock in or out for the day? What are their daily deliverables? Being clear about the expectations from the get-go will make the transition smoother for everyone.
While not everyone on your team may need social interaction, some will. Some employees may struggle with the stress and feelings of isolation on top of managing a regular workload. Be understanding that everyone will handle the situation differently. Making time to have fun with your team is an excellent way to combat feelings of isolation. Host a virtual happy hour or a virtual team lunch to keep them feeling connected to one another.
As the leader of your team, you can’t adopt a “doom and gloom” mindset and expect to keep up morale. While you may not feel it all the time, try to be as positive as possible. Adopt a gratitude mindset and try to find the good in the current situation. However, it’s also important to be transparent with your team. If you’re struggling with a concern, consider sharing and crowdsourcing a solution. When people help find a solution, they’re more likely to support it.
Be Open to Change
One of the biggest challenges associated with the pandemic is that everything needs to remain fluid. Things are constantly changing at the local, state, or federal level. During this time, you have to roll with the punches and be prepared to evolve as new guidelines become available. That often means finding new solutions on the fly.
Advise your team of this early on. Let them know how important their health (both physical and mental) is to you. In light of that, you will be evaluating things on a consistent basis and protocols are subject to change. Invite them to talk to you about them and whenever possible, explain the why behind your decisions. People are feeling uncertain and scared during this time. If you fill in those blanks they won't need to imagine the reasons behind them.
Looking to the Future
Remember, this is a difficult time for everyone. We all need a little more patience and understanding. Consider this a time of reset that may affect the way we do business and educate far into the future. Even after the danger of the virus has passed, there is a good chance that what we are learning about virtual work and schooling will create a much different workforce mentality after the virus than what we had before. We're going to learn a lot about ourselves and our businesses.