With most of the world leading a battle against the dreadful Covid-19, we are advised to play our part by staying at home, and thereby preventing the spread of the coronavirus. One by one, countries are implementing preventive measures to secure the wellbeing of its citizens and control containment rates. And while the health of our loved ones and ours is the biggest concern for all of us, companies around the world are stepping up by introducing remote working.
Earlier this week, we spoke about the organizational tools that can help you and your team organise better while working from home. We discussed organisational issues that might arise and presented their solutions.
Here at .ME we are well versed in the art of working remote, so we compiled a list of things to pay attention to.
1. Establish office space and time
Possibly the biggest advantage of remote work is that you get to choose the place where you’d like to set up your office. Due to the virus outbreak, dreaming of a sunny beach or a local cafe are most likely just that – a dream. Since during the crisis such as this, staying at home is imperative, we assume that your kids, partner, flatmate or roommate are at home with you right now. If so, establish some ground rules. Introduce your household with your working hours and make sure your kids or flatmates know that while you are at home, you are also working.
Choose a space and time frame where and when you’ll work, and make sure everyone is on board. If your first thought was hurdling with your laptop in bed, we ask you to reconsider. Regardless of how long the remote work period will last, and how the 14 day recommended incubation period might change in the days to come, making a decision to work from bed can have consequences on your sleeping dynamics, leaving you wide awake at night.
How to establish office hours and working space?
We recommend you pick a spot with enough light and remove everything that you might find distracting. Place your work-related belongings around the laptop or your PC, to simulate the set up you have at your office. Your desk should be wide enough for you not to feel cramped in. Pick a chair that is comfortable, the one that will not leave you with a backache after the second day of remote work. Or, step out, get yourself at the balcony and enjoy the fresh air while doing your job, enjoy the sun but don’t forget to put yourself on mute while you are on a conference call.
Take breaks, make yourself some coffee, tea, juice or snack, but make sure you don’t overdo snacking and have actual meals. The flow of your workday should not differ much from what you are already used to. Instead of finding new ways of working, adjust your habits to your ‘home office’. But remember, it is impossible to translate all your in-office habits directly, so remain flexible, and don’t get frustrated if it takes you a bit to get a hang on it. Distraction is a normal thing until you get used to.
2. Set a Schedule
While work from home can be fun, and every day can be no pants day, it would be wise to take off those pyjamas now. We are serious. Put actual clothes. You don’t have to be in a pantsuit, but make an effort, since this will set the mood and you’ll focus more easily. Your body will figure out that you are in the working mood, not chilling at home.
Don’t neglect your personal life. When just starting to work from home, it’s easy to have the lines blurred between your professional and personal life. Unless you set the boundaries in the beginning, you might end up underperforming or overworking yourself. In order to have a healthy life balance, we advise you to set your schedule and work accordingly.
Don’t forget to move around every now and then! A quick stretching session or even a stroll around your apartment will do! Analogue breaks are a must!
If we weren’t in a situation such as this, you’d have a coffee break with your colleague right around 10 am? Great! Make a coffee, give that colleague a call, switch on your cameras and have a chat – it’s important you unwind.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
The easiest thing one can do when faced with working from home for the first time is to neglect their mental health. The stress of communicating exclusively online, not being surrounded by your coworkers, and waiting in line for your turn to speak, can put a strain on your wellbeing. The best thing to do is to adopt instead of resisting.
Patience is the key. Slow down, there is no reason to speed up the process of adjustment, especially when remote work trains your patience. Learn to listen and prepare yourself for conference calls, because they can drain your energy and exhaust your patience – particularly if you are accustomed to having these discussions face to face.
Best way to prevent remote work from putting a strain on your wellbeing, is to prepare as much as possible. Don’t forget that this working situation is new for everyone, and that your coworkers are facing similar adjustments.
4. Conflict handling
Conflicts, while you work remotely, can hurt your team more than COVID-19 virus ever can, so don’t allow a way in for a conflict to influence your teams and your productivity. Recognise the first signs of conflict before it reaches the unstoppable phase and react.
Pay close attention to situations such as a slip of inappropriate communication, employee anxiety, how functional your online meetings are, a rise of repetitive arguments and disagreements. These are all warning signs that allude to communication, trust or workflow issues. Instead of glazing over these signs, address them in the best way possible and do not let the conflict guide your team.
One of the most common origins of conflict is the lack of effective communication. When you get used to being alone a lot or become proficient at working in isolation, it is easy to forget that the people you work with might not know what you are doing all the time. Tell them. But also check-in with your colleagues, make sure they are aware of what you are working on and be in the loop with regards to their progress if it concerns your work.
Before You Go
With the sudden changes that are occurring throughout the world, we are asked to do our part and contribute the best way possible. For companies that would be adjusting to the concept of remote work. Regardless of the level of organizational skills and readiness, this process can be straining on employees. Whether you are an employee or employer, make sure to take the necessary steps and deal properly with the stress of adjusting to fully working from home for the first time.
.ME wishes that you and your family stay safe and take care of yourself and loved ones during the Covid-19 outbreak. Take preemptive measures and play your part by staying at home and socially distancing yourself.