Remote and flexible working in business is not new and it has been predicted that in the next decade more and more people will move to this way of working. The pandemic has accelerated this and many more people have an office base at home. Until self-isolation arrived, using Skype for coaching or discussions, going to cafes and WIFI hotspots for meetings or a ‘get out the office’ slot, has been a way to develop good habits for a working at home job role.
Here are five things to help make home working work:
Work space boundaries
Set and stick to a space that is devoted to being your work space. Perhaps you have a ‘box room’ in your home which can be set up as a designated work space. You can shut the door on it. This creates a boundary for you and everyone else. Everyone in your household needs to know and respect the work space/boundary. Invest time in organising this space so you have everything you need around you.
Get up, get dressed and go to work
The jokes about sitting in your pyjamas regularly do the rounds. It is important to separate the fact you are ‘going to work’, you are at work even though at home, and so getting up and being dressed is important. It is also the psychological separation of work and ‘other time’. And no sitting top half dressed in front of a webcam!
Contact with others
- This is important, especially if you’re used to being in a team environment, leaning over a desk to ask for an opinion, having an in the moment coffee catch up. Now we need to self-isolate, this is not going to happen anyway so get used to harnessing the power of technology and using your phone especially! Speak to people! Do it online or via the plethora of tech available. It will become the new normal in the long run.
- You can still hold meetings. Have you ever felt that you attended too many face to face meetings that seemed pointless or wasted your time? Meetings can be smart and shorter, with actions and outcomes. You will actually start to like them! Using technology such as Google Hangout, Skype or Zoom is smart for meetings when people are dispersed, and perhaps whilst everyone is in isolation it will motivate us into all using it far more. Your contact with others will be a good thing, so stay in touch.
Technology is your friend
Embrace it. We’ve mentioned a few already, but add Facetime, WhatsApp groups and Go to Meeting. See this as a chance to train yourself up and add to your CPD plan. They all have online tutorials and videos.
Work on your resilience
Resilience is the ability to learn from, change and even be transformed by adversity. Practice resilience skills or learn some new ones to help you stick at things in the weeks and months ahead. Resilience is something that is from ‘within’ and we are all capable of being resilient. Two parts of resilience that are worth working on are confidence and asking for support.
- Confidence. We all need to ‘top up’ on our confidence now and then and research confirms that a good approach is to work on the thing (or things) you find most challenging and to keep learning new skills and knowledge. This is because overcoming challenges and reflecting on success gives a boost (it’s easy to get sucked into only noticing what went wrong), and because confidence comes from being skilled or capable at something. Improve your skill and your confidence will go up.
Action point: what skills and behaviours will you work on that will boost your capability?
- Support. The part of being resilient about asking for support is because nobody is supposed to do everything on their own. Ask colleagues, your manager, friends for support. Giving support is a boost too, even if it is just talking something through with someone, de-briefing at day’s end. Research by Robertson Cooper expands on this idea and their model includes ‘Social Support’ as one of four foundations of resilience.
Action point: identify who is within your circle of influence, those people in your network of connections and people you trust, who you can build time into your working week with to give and ask for support.
Working from home is a chance to press pause from the treadmill and re-shape life work balance individually, as a business and as a working nation. Things take a little while to settle down but some new habits will emerge for all of us. There are positive changes and opportunities to come from home working.
Make a plan
- Take away three actions to help you move forwards.
- Tackle both the practical aspects and something that requires a bit more thought.
- Commit to changing one habit or introducing a new one that will help you work better at home.
Ideas and resources
Complete and download a personal resilience report from Robertson Cooper https://www.robertsoncooper.com/iresilience/