The opportunity to work from home might sound like a fantastic idea. You can be comfy in your own surroundings and have grand ideas of getting “so much work done”. For some of us this may be very true. For others though, working from home can mean demonstrating discipline and creating a “new normal” as our home morphs into our new workspace.
Here’s our best tips for managing your work from home.
Technology, technology, technology:
If you’re a manager and enjoy the ability to see what your team are doing, working from home could give you a sense of overwhelm. “How do I know the work is still being done?”. Or maybe you’re a team member who just enjoys the social aspect of being in an office environment. Technology is there to help you. Explore what your organisation already has access to as part of their suite of programs. Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams and even Tasks in Outlook are all features you could use to support remote team visibility. Keep your focus for new technology on demonstrating results, rather than to “keep an eye on people”. You’ll find more uptake and acceptance from people when introducing new tech tools.
Be flexible with your work hours:
If you live with other people, especially children, working from home can be challenging. There may need to be a new routine you create in order to get the work done. For example, maybe start your day at 5am so you have a couple of quiet hours before everyone else wakes up. Not a morning person? Try working later in the afternoon. You may need to break your day up, working in 1-hour blocks over a longer period for example. Be proactive and work to suite your home schedule, rather than trying to make your office routine work at home.
Adjust your response time expectations:
Being office-based we have the luxury of sitting next to a colleague we need answers from. Just because we are at home doesn’t mean 24/7 availability. If someone hasn’t got back to you straight away it could be they have stepped away from their laptop for a break, or maybe they are preparing some lunch. If you have urgent matters that need attention, consider picking up the phone or using a web-based video chat instead of firing off multiple emails.
If there are other people you share your home with. Let them know your work plans for each day. Maybe you select a room to become your new office space. Create respectful boundaries to let other know what to do if they want to access the room or want to talk to you while you are working. Likewise, if you have created a new work routine at home, communicate this to your colleagues so they know when you’ll be available to answer any questions they might have.
Never work from bed:
When deciding on where you work in your home, try to stay away from your bedroom. Bringing work into a private space can blur the lines between work stress and relaxation time. This can impact your ability to fall asleep at night or feel motivated in the morning. Keep your bedroom as a place to unwind after your day rather than an extended office space.
Keep track of your downtime:
Taking regular breaks when working from home is important so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Time can move quickly when you are at home and its easy to get caught up in a domestic task. Keep an eye on the time you spend away from your work. Consider having a 20min alarm set, so you can get back to work and achieve those work goals you’ve set.
Socialise – virtually:
While it’s important to get your work done working from home it’s also important to keep up the social connection to your colleagues. Don’t be afraid to send chat messages to your colleagues on a social level too. Convert your morning coffee chats into online chats to keep the connection going while you are physically apart. Just be mindful of how much time you’re using for this.
Working from home can provide a great opportunity to have work/life balance. Find the best way that works for you and enjoy the experience!