We all know by now that any actions taken today will have a long-term impact on the culture of any business. The new reality of working from home takes some getting used to. Hiring managers are looking at morale-boosting and productivity ideas, for candidates it may mean starting a new role under alien circumstances, for leaders it means planning ahead for what it really means to work from home.
How do you set policies under pressure where decisions to work from home have to be turned around fast? With realities of working-from-home setting in, here are some tips from our team to help you make the best out of the working situation.
1. Set work triggers
According to Bloomberg, the U.K alone has recorded working two hours longer per day since new COVID-19 measures were enforced. Where some may feel working from home will create lazy teams and the idea of freedom may distract and procrastinate those easily; the reality is remote workers tend to work longer hours than shorter ones.
The work and home environment have blurred.
Simply creating work triggers in your mind can help; traveling your work commute, grabbing your morning coffee, working in a designated space. When working remotely start your day in a similar routine. If you drink coffee at a certain time, update yourself on the news or go for a run, continue to create this routine. Get yourself ready to go to your own home-work space.
For non-work related distractions - maintain a schedule and share this with others. This can help hold you accountable for the day and let teams know when you are contactable and when you are not. That laundry can be finished out of office hours. If you have children, factor care and any other commitments you have.
Setting a clear work-play schedule helps you create working hours for yourself but also sets expectations with colleagues, family, and friends.
2. Create clear expectations
The reality is everyone in the team is navigating how to reach the server or figuring out which channel is best to contact someone specific or even learning new tools that were introduced recently to ensure ongoing communication - the truth is there's a lot more going on than only navigating your job at home.
By giving your teams clear objectives and being clear about which channels of communication for what, will help give structure to anyone. Continuing progress and focusing on career goals doesn't need to change in this new environment.
It's important at this time to set clear feedback to keep your team's motivation going.
3. Finesse team collaboration
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” - Dean Karnazes
Idea sharing by the coffee machine, two mins for input over lunch, that quick proofread of email; take this away and working from home might feel like we're all on a solo journey.
That doesn’t mean your teams have to feel like that.
Collaboration is deemed the biggest struggle for those working from home. So it's important to take regular mental and physical check-ins with the team.
Just like your work schedule, managing team dynamics and boosting morale is just as important. If you need to pull others into idea generation, consider video calls. Talking face to face about something small, consider apps like Slack. Or try some of the following for regular communication and helping with team rapport;
- Set a team happy hour (coffee or water break chats),
- Share music lists and podcasts for daily inspiration,
- Stretch and exercise as a team (lunchtime yoga classes).