Working from home has now become the norm for thousands of workers across the world.
In the final part of our “maintaining a positive business attitude” series, we look at how these people can adapt to this new way of doing business.
Today we are looking at those
working from home.
Those who are working from home are an interesting group. They have some level of job security, which is, of course, reassuring in times of uncertainty. This, however, could be counter-acted by now having to juggle home-life such as child-care whist still expected to produce the same level of output their job-role demands.
For some, working from home may come as a refreshing change- a welcome breather. But after this initial novelty has worn off, how do you continue to be focussed and super productive on the work that needs to be done?
On another note, there may also be a subtle resentment for those whose colleagues have been furloughed. Paid time off as the better weather arrives while you are stuck holding the fort?
We’ve put together some tips to help those working from home stay focused and positive during this “new normal”.
This may sound obvious, but it’s so important. Allocate some space and get organised. Whether it’s your sofa, your kitchen table or if you are lucky, an office, you need some designated workspace. Make sure it’s clean and tidy and you have everything you need – access to power, stationery, files and chargers etc. Having a specific “work” area will keep you focussed – and help you switch off at the end of the day. It will also stop your kids colouring on that all-important report.
You might be able to benefit from a bit more sleep, especially if you have a long commute. That’s fine, but try not to push it – getting up at your normal time is far better for you both physically and mentally. We’d suggest starting with some daily exercise to get the endorphins flowing – PE with Joe Wicks isn’t just for the kids!
Next, get dressed. The whole ethos of working in your PJs sounds fun, but we’d suggest that getting showered and dressed as normal will subtly get you into work mode- and you will feel a whole lot better too.
Create a work timetable, based around what you’d typically do in the office. Allow a few coffee breaks and lunch away from your desk where you get some fresh air if you can. Try to work your normal hours – dipping in and out will mean you have no real cut off between work and home mode.
There are two breeds of people who work from home. The super productive – and the super distracted. For this second type, there are a million other essential jobs that need to be done (ranging from putting on a wash to sorting out the tool box) before you can possibly work, so be mindful of this. Particularly if other family members are home, it can be hard to keep your focus, so put strategies in place to stop your mind wandering.
We’d suggest turning off all social media during working hours, mute news alerts and only check your emails periodically. If possible, leave your personal mobile in another room when you are “in the office”.
Start to work in time blocks. Research shows that 90 minutes is the optimum time-frame for productive working. We recommend getting into your designated workspace, and dedicating a full hour and a half to purely concentrating on the task in hand – you will be amazed at the results and you may find than you are far more productive than you would be in the office.
Research and join online forums and groups that will keep you connected to your industry. Contribute as much as you can – you will not only make new connections, but also keep abreast with the industry, standing you in good stead for your return.
Nourish the body,
nourish the mind.
We all know to “eat our greens” however it’s probably very tempting at the moment to make best friends with the biscuit tin or whatever we can find rolling about the fridge. But remember that a properly nourished body means a nourished mind so try to resist binge eating and limit the treats. Right now it’s more important than ever to keep a healthy mindset and that starts with what you fuel it with.
You will have seen all the social media posts about stocking up on alcohol. While a drink is something that many of us look forward to, make sure it’s the same amount you would normally consume in a week and at the usual time slots: evenings or weekends. A few Saturday afternoon beers is great – but Tuesday morning Tequila? Not quite so much.
Remember alcohol is a depressant drug and is counter productive to maintaining a high focus and positive outlook.
It’s more important than ever to keep talking to your colleagues. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime are all great ways to keep in touch with your work mates and daily online meetings and briefings are a great way to keep focus.
It’s also a good time to be reaching out to customers and suppliers. Regular check in phone calls and emails will be appreciated and this support will stand you in good stead when we all get back to business.
Jump on social and become your customer’s biggest fans – engage, interact and share as much as you can to show you are on their side.
Some working from home may be concerned that their already reduced workload could dry up completely. Our advice is to do as much as you can – and more. Offer to help other team members and be proactive. That competitor analysis you have never got round to? Now’s your chance! Updating the business LinkedIn pages – offer to help.
By showing that you are focussed, engaged and interested you will fast become one of your company’s biggest assets.
Following on from the point above, is there anything you can you be doing to help ensure that the company you work for stays in good shape? Organise brainstorming sessions with the sales and marketing teams and hammer out what your customers really need at the moment – and how the business can achieve this. From online driving lessons to Facebook wine tasting sessions, many companies across the nation have managed to adapt their offerings and continue to offer some level of service at this time. What can you do?
Naturally, start by tidying up your profile – update your picture, check you messaging and ensure your company line is correct. Next, check your connections. Mentally trawl though all of your customers, clients and suppliers and ensure you are connected with them AND following their business pages. Send a brief introductory message enquiring how they are.
Research and join online forums and groups that will keep you connected to your industry. Contribute as much as you can – you will not only make new connections, but also keep abreast with the industry, standing you in good stead for your return. You’ll also be sending a subtle message to you competitors that your business isn’t going anywhere.
Easier said than done, we know. But keeping focussed, keeping talking and keeping an upbeat attitude will help massively. Sure, you will have your tough days – and when you do, reach out to colleagues, friends and family. After all, we truly are all in their together.