Working from home.. again.
Working from home.. again.
Here we are working from home again. For all those who are not essential workers and are confined to their homes, we once again face the question "how long will this last?".
It can be tricky to focus on work while at home, especially if you have small children or school-aged kids who need to be coaxed into doing their school work. Even without children, there are a number of distractions to ward off while sitting in your make-shift office trying to maintain some sort of routine.
At Jani-King we value the work/life balance and even more so while in lockdown. We endeavour to have regular catch ups with our staff, both in groups and one on one sessions, to make sure everyone is doing well and managing the extra pressure. One of our company values is "Help each other to be successful", and we'd like to help you be successful at working from home.
Below is some advice we've found beneficial for successfully working from home:
Research suggests that remote workers can be prone to bouts of poor mental health, according to a UN report in 2017, remote workers are more likely to experience high stress levels than office workers. Work and family time can become blurred and often people working from home put in more hours than when they are working from their office. And I can confirm this with my own experience!
It's important to prioritise activities, I personally enjoy playing a board game or colouring in with my kids, but anything that elevates your mood, such as exercise, anything creative or even reading. Basically find something you enjoy and make time to do it!
Living through a pandemic can be an anxiety trigger for many people, so it's important to have someone to talk through your feelings of anxiety, fear or worry. I am very thankful to my friends for always being there for a quick chat. Fear of uncertainty can be a big drain emotionally and mentally and talking with someone who can help you think rationally is important.
Try and separate your workspace at home, so you have a clear work area. This will simulate the difference between your work environment and home life, making it easier to transition from your work day into your normal family routines while working from home. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it also helps your family members to understand that it’s your space of work.
Another reason to create boundaries is to avoid distractions. Trying to remember what you were doing at work after a colleague comes to ask you a question is difficult enough, but working from home has a number of non-work related distractions you need to take care of and this can cause frustration and pressure especially when working to a deadline. Having boundaries helps you block out the non-essential distractions that come with working at home.
Work may slow down for some people, and you might find yourself with more time on your hands. In order to stay focused on work, use this time to learn new things. Do some online training, assess where you may have weaknesses and spend some time researching and learning. Spend some time browsing the web to see what your competitors are doing, you might find some real gems that you could pass onto your marketing team.
Another way to curb boredom is to find out if anyone in your company is overworked and needs any assistance, perhaps there is something you can do to help alleviate some pressure for your co-worker. This will not only help the team, but you'll also be learning new skills in the process.
There are a few tasks that always seem to fall to the bottom of the list, like filing. In the digital age most files are kept in folders on your computer. One of the most frustrating things is trying to find a specific document in a rush and you can't remember where you saved it. Now would be a good time to organise these: using your time now could save you time in the future, when you really need it.
Dress for the Office
If you normally work in an office environment, make a point of still getting ready as normal. When we spend all day in our tracksuit and slippers, we are mentally telling ourselves we are just relaxing at home. Getting dressed for work sets the tone for the day and helps you maintain a professional mindset. There is a psychological term called "enclothed cognition", which describes the way that clothes can affect the wearer's behaviour, so dress for success.
Structure Your Day
Routine is crucial, avoid the temptation to stay up late. Make a daily list of tasks to complete the next day and at the end of each day tick off what you've achieved and make a new list. This will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Regular online or telephone meetings with work colleagues are good, however being aware of "meeting fatigue" is important. Do you really need to be in a certain meeting? If it's optional, take a break and ask to be sent the minutes instead.
Keep your lunch and tea breaks at the same time as normal, and use this time to enjoy the benefits of being at home. Have lunch with your children, sit outside or even do a quick job around the house.
Most importantly, stay safe and look after your mental and physical health! Eat healthy, drink lots of water, get plenty of exercise and good sleep.