The pandemic has completely changed the environment of work and the office.
Before 2020, employees were expected to work at the company office, with little flexibility on hours and location. Hours were wasted stuck in traffic on the daily commute. Life errands were crammed into the 60 minute break labelled “lunch break”.
And then Coronavirus changed everything. People were ordered to stay at home. There was no end in sight to lockdown restrictions. But business needed to continue, and thus the landscape of work life shifted to working from home.
And so here we are. The sudden change has meant employees need to change their habits and routines, to ensure working from home is a success. Where will you station yourself to work and what equipment do you need to take from your office to successfully work from home? What hours will you commit to working, and how will you ensure you stick to dividing work and personal hours? How will you continue the path of building relationships with your colleagues and grow your career progression?
As Harris Real Estate work to ensure our staff are fully supported in the work from-home environment, we pulled together some top tips to WFH success!
- Create a dedicated work-from-home space – Having a dedicated “office space” within your home will help you mentally prepare to work from your home. It will create the mindset that when you are in that environment you are committed to working, and then when you get up and move back into the rest of your home you are in your personal time.
- Follow your normal morning rituals – Don’t jump into work as soon as you wake, follow your usual morning routine. Wake up with your alarm, sit and enjoy your breakfast, read the newspaper, brush your teeth and get dressed. This will mentally prepare you for the day ahead. Do not turn on your computer until your work hours tick over.
- Maintain regular hours – The days are long, so make sure you don’t burn yourself out. Work your set hours. Consistency is key to your mental wellbeing and also to your productivity.
- Schedule breaks – Creating your daily schedule with breaks with give you time to refocus. It is also important for your body to walk around and get your blood pumping. Schedule your coffee break, your lunch break, your “standing in the printing room” break, which at home might be talking to your partner at the island bench.
- Set ground rules with other people in your space – Type out your schedule and stick it on the fridge so everyone living in your space knows your daily timeline. It is important they respect your plan and support you as you navigate working-from-home. They can be a huge distraction if you are not upfront with the WFH rules.
- Get outside – Following the restrictions in place in your area, fully utilise the amount of time your are allowed outside of your home to exercise. Get fresh air, move your body, feel the sun on your face. It seems simple, but this outing will completely transform your mindset. In fact, you can also apply this within your boundary if you have a garden bed that needs weeding or lawn that needs mowing. Time spent outdoors is key to breaking the mundane of indoor life.
- Be honest with your employer about what you need – Don’t feel bad about your changed circumstances not completely suiting your employer. We are all in this WFH scenario together! Tell your employer if you need extra equipment, or extra help with your work. Based on how long it looks to be that you’ll work from home, decisions can be made about “getting through as is” versus investing in the work-from-home set up.
- Schedule “face time” meetings with your work team – This is important to check in on the whole team. See each others faces, engage, connect. It is important to continue on some level that feels “normal”. If you had a daily morning meeting in the office, have a daily morning Zoom hello. It is create for the social aspect, but also keeps everyone accountable to their day and their tasks.
- Interact with your work colleagues socially – When you are in an office environment, you spend so much of your day making little social connections with the people aroundyou. A joke here, some advice there. You don’t realise the impact these personal connections have on your day, until you are sitting alone and disconnect in your home office. It is so important to maintain these interactions. Text a colleague. Face time your boss to say hello. Email a friend funny meme. This is break up you day, and also fill your human nature need to interact with others.
- Still utilise sick days – If you are sick, make sure you still follow the company protocol and have a sick day. Just because you are at home and can work in you pjs from the couch while sick, doesn’t mean you should. Make sure you take these specific days off to recharge your health and so that your colleagues know not to contact you while you’re “off”.
- Remember about the “extras” like additional training and projects – When you are not in the office, you are not able to experience and grow from training and skill development opportunities your company would otherwise run in-house. So that you do not slow in your progression, look for opportunities to participate in industry learning from your home. Any courses and online seminars you come across, flag to your company and ask if you can participate during work hours from home.
- Use your phone when necessary – Sitting at the office you can talk to colleagues easily, but at home you seem to only have the screen. Yes you can email, or send a message on your company communication platform. But don’t forget you can pick up the phone. It might get your query sorted more efficiently and effectively, and also allows for a change in interaction.
- Enjoy the perks of WFH – Look for the positives and utilise them. Your sheets take 90 minutes in the washing machine, then 2 hours in the dryer. You usually rush around at night making your bed. But now you’re home all day you can take a break late morning to move your sheets from the washer to the dryer. The process is calm and methodical. And not something you are able to achieve when you don’t WFH. Find these little perks and run withthem while they last!
- End your day with a routine – Create an end of day habit. End your day at the same time you would in the office, and 10 minutes prior to this write out a to-do list for the following day. That way you can shut off your mind and disconnect for the night, knowing the list will remind you of all your tasks the following work day.
- Don’t get overwhelmed and be hard on yourself – The success of working from home lies in discipline. However, we all let our mind drift from time to time. This is a new situation with a new set of rules. And most of you haven’t chosen this path. So while it is important to commit to the work-from-home situation and guidelines, it is just as important to cut yourself some slack and not reprimand yourself too harshly if you struggle from time-to-time. Take a deep breath, refocus and then get back to work.