In times of crisis like these, when people are called upon to protect themselves and others against COVID-19, the majority of office workers stay in the home office. Below, we debunk the common issues you might face, and share some tips on how to work from home.
1. MAKING COLLABORATION WORK FOR YOU, WHEREVER YOU ARE
Remote working offers employees fewer opportunities to talk and network with their colleagues, and some experience it like social isolation. But, there are so many tools and benefits out there today to keep the connections flowing, that it just requires a change in thought from the physical to the virtual job.
Instant messaging and collaboration technology offer instant (video) communication channels for your employees in a secure, connected way that spans devices and locations.
Top tip: Don’t be afraid to have informal chats just like you would have in the office kitchen or at the proverbial water cooler! Or even schedule a 15-minute remote coffee break with a work colleague to catch up on your day / programmes!
2. NAVIGATING VIRTUAL CONNECTIONS
Over 60% of home workers report that the biggest challenges they face in virtual meetings are interruptions / being talked over, or technical issues interfering with connectivity. But there’s no need to let your lack of physicality impact how you would normally contribute to a meeting.
Make sure you have prepped and tested your collaboration tools in advance to avoid live issues on the job – many systems have test features for this very reason.
Top tip: If hosting a meeting virtually feels unnatural to you, start the meeting by agreeing processes or a system to ensure the people involved gets an equal amount of time to speak, and follow an agenda to keep focused.
3. MANAGING WORK-HOME BOUNDARIES
Teleworkers operating their job from a home office or remotely often find that the lack of a physical and psychological separation between their personal and professional domains can cloud the expectations on both sides.
Whilst it is an adjustment for everyone, the easiest way to approach this is to be open about your plans, so that your housemates / family / people know in advance what to expect, and that instances such as a closed door mean do not disturb while working, for example.
Top tip: Set your working hours during the week, and keep to them. That includes getting dressed in the morning, and setting yourself reasonable break times throughout the day to allow for personal responsibilities – the rest of the time is focused on your job.
4. STAYING PRODUCTIVE ON YOUR OWN
There can often be hesitation around flexible work arrangements and productivity, with managers and employers unduly worried that job performance will suffer if their employees aren’t closely monitored.
The good news is that statistics show that companies that allow remote working have 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t – so once the trust is there, it rewards itself! But if your employer or company is one of those who still needs convincing, then set up regular check-ins and KPIs, so that your productivity is proven by results rather than being “seen to be available.”
If you struggle with self-motivation as a home office worker, then try defining a ‘working zone’ – this can be your office desk, or a space at your kitchen table, or even in your garden – just somewhere that you associate with getting work done.
Top tip: Try working in a different room to where you will start / end your day, so you can have a psychological transition ‘to’ and ‘from’ work.