Many people are working from home during this pandemic and whilst for many shifting to this alternative pattern of work can be an easy step, for others it can prove daunting. That said, even seasoned home-workers (like myself in a way!) can find this change tricky. Here’s a few observations to help your working from home more effective:

  • Speak to people. Self isolating for a long time can have a detrimental effect on our mental health, particularly if you also live by yourself. When you can, break the day up – carry out some mindfulness activities, speak to colleagues, use chats and social collaboration tools. One way I found that tremendously helped my mental health is by using FaceTime, Skype and Zoom to connect to others throughout the day as it helps replicate face-to-face conversations.
  • Don’t forget about your physical and emotional health. Although it shouldn’t come as a surprise one thing that astounded me is how very little exercise I’m doing. All the trips to the shops, walking to clients and being out and about all counted! I have now set myself some time to move/walk around or do something once every half hour to an hour. I do a quick 5 minute yoga activity, some stretching or use weights.
  • Take breaks from screens to recharge. I found that being at home I was using my devices a lot more. Although this helps to connect to others and to get the work done I’ve found it, more than ever, exceptionally helpful to take a short detox from tech. In the evening I switch my devices off read, do some exercise, be mindful of what I’m cooking/eating and do other non-tech activities. 
  • If you can, have a separate work zone. Have an area that you designate for work. If it’s in a separate room that’s even better, however, even if it’s just a corner of your living room or a small part of the dining table… it helps! It allows you to put a buffer between work and your personal life.
  • If you’re managing people develop accountability and trust. If you’re used to working in an office and now your team is remote you’re going to have to adapt how you work with them. Spend some time to identify what tasks you can hand over to the team or individuals. Let them take ownership rather than focusing on identifying methods for monitoring them remotely. Giving them that trust will inevitably compel them to be accountable and allow your business to maintain continuity.
  • Increase your support to those around you. And you can do this in so many ways! As a manager ask your team how they are doing, focusing not just on work tasks but also generally, outside of work. Support them by discussing any challenges that this new way of working is posing and try to remove any barriers that get in the way. But also outside of work check if your neighbours, friends or people close to you need any support. Stay in touch with them and offer assistance, even if it’s just to lend a helping ear.

If you need more support in developing remote working places check out our half day Managing Remote and Virtual Teams which you might find interesting. It’s a 3 hour webinar focusing on how to develop accountability, trust and autonomy to better manager your team remotely.