The new working from home
Within the last year, if you have managed to keep your job, first of all, well done.
With the Covid situation, it has hit everyone in different ways. Whilst many are striving to survive, others are flourishing and with one of humanity’s greatest strengths, we have all had to adapt.
For the traditional office worker, a key adaptation is to work from home (WFH).
For many years, having video calls with colleagues who are in a different office from yourself has been around. Back in my corporate days, the amount of conversations I have been part of to ensure the latest and greatest video conferencing tools has been many. In today’s world, technology, accessibility and price of one-to-one video call capabilities has greatly improved and is now widely accepted as the norm. Whether it is Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft’s Teams (yes I know there are others).
Because of Covid and the accessibility to technology, part of an individual’s daily routine is to have many video calls with colleagues, clients or partners etc. This has had an exponential impact on the way in which we work. I know of businesses that have halved the office space they rent or completely shut down satellite offices, simply due to the new norm of working from home, which in turn has saved the company substantial rent money.
In my view, going forward, people will want to have a balance of where they work from (two or three days a week at home and the remaining time spent in the office). For some companies, this is going to be easy peasy and they will embrace it. For others – hmmm more difficult for many reasons. For example, some office cultures expect staff to be seen at all times (which by the way, companies like this, in my opinion will lose out overall to staff pressures and or staff retention rates will be very low).
So, to help with working from home, below are some tips.
Get a morning routine – I initially thought this was a load of old rubbish, but I tried it after reading an article on the subject, and voila I find it works. Try it and see how it works for you. Part of my regime is to ensure I get away from the screen to avoid screen fatigue. Luckily I have two dogs, so getting out to take them for a walk a few times a day, is a real bliss. It allows me to reset my thoughts and priorities for the rest of the day.
2. Set boundaries
This can be a sensitive one (but important). If you find yourself living with a partner (you could also have kids) and you are all now at home, do you need to set some boundaries? Think about your working style and what you need to get the work done. For example, you may like peace and quiet but your partner likes the radio blasting 80s classics. How do you get the balance? What boundaries do you need to discuss and agree?
3. Get comfortable
If you can, try and make sure you are super comfy at your workstation. This is important for your physical and mental health. Having a crappy old chair will hurt your back which will only disrupt your life in many ways. You’ll get resentful at home working. Maybe think about your company – would they be willing to buy you the right desk and chair? My partner’s company just sent her a super duper chair for her to use (which reminds me to unbox it and set it up!).
4. Reflect on your day
With WFH, you can feel isolated in your thoughts because you are not physically being with other humans. Screen fatigue can kick in and you just can’t be bothered with another video call.
Keeping a daily journal can help with what was good about the day (celebrate any positives) and what was not so good. With the not so good, what action(s) do you need to take to improve the situation? Just by writing it down (for me that is just typing my thoughts into a Word document) can help from moving the not so good out of my brain and into my journal whereby I can go back to it when I need to. It helps give the not so good a home.
5. Think about your future working habits
We are coming out of the Covid situation (well in the UK we are) in the coming months. What does this mean for your work? What are your expectations when it comes to your working location? What is your employer’s expectation – have you asked them? Start thinking about this – better to be prepared than sorry! On this point, you may have deeper thoughts about your future. The last year or so has turned us all upside down. Working with a life coach can help you work through your thoughts and new desires.
How has your WFH experience been?