Is Working From Home , working for you?
First of All, Is it working?
So… how are you doing or how is your mind doing with the transition to working from home? While some countries have experienced this change for quite a while, others are getting into it now. Either way, we are all experiencing it on some level.
Since for most of us, working from home has been forced upon us due to the unprecedented steps taken to minimise infections of the current pandemic and save lives, has this unexpected shift presented challenges to you?
Is the change in working environment working?
Having a destination to get to from Monday to Friday or how ever many days you go to work, divides the day between work and play. It gives a lot of people a break in the day between work and Homelife ; sense of purpose ; Somewhere to get to or Something to do. And now all over a sudden you have what seems like a long weekend with no structure that the office environment usually provides.
How about the distractions you are getting while working from home?
For those who don’t live alone, there may be babies , toddlers , older children or indeed other family members that demand your attention for different reasons during work hours making it harder to focus on work and the lines between work and home life get increasingly blurry. Not forgetting the relatives who visits without prior warning. As a friend once said to me, they show up at 08:00 AM and tell you, ” today i made a decision to spend the whole day at your house”. If you are not from Africa, you probably wont relate with this one.
And what about the lost networking opportunities ? – Networking events and minute ‘elevator pitch’ aspect of the work environment may either be non existent or harder when working from home. Networking gets you the right connections for career progression and opportunities. People have an opportunity to sell their skills and character in a different setting that doesn’t come through in emails or virtue meetings. How is this affecting you at this point? This leads me to my third point?
Lost opportunities in Networking , Idea Brain storming and minute ‘elevator pitches’.
The intentional social interaction and networking in an office environment, that can effectively build ideas , lead to promotions and build long term work relationships, becomes a challenge when working from home.
In addition to this, Idea brain storming that happens in a close proximity office environment won’t happen when working from home. While you are still technically part of a team, you are physically moving from sitting with colleagues where you can just shout out issues that crop up as you go through the course of work day, deliberate and resolve them in a short time. Working from home means you now have to use other forms of communication that will take longer to get to resolution point and without the added benefits of face to face conversation such as;
- Ease of convincing people in face to face conversation.
- People understanding your non verbal communication better. People often get different reactions in conversations that aren’t emails.
- Of course setting up virtual meeting is quicker than email but not better than face or face.
Another advantage of being physically in the same work environment as colleagues can be the aspect of watching peers grind hard that pushes and motivates you to do better.
So now knowing the above , is what we are facing, how do we ride the wave?
So How Can We Manage working from home?
First of all , if you are able to work from home, that should be a point of gratitude. So consequently, point number one is to view it as something positive because being able to work at all is not everyone’s reality in the current economic climate. Hospitality businesses have definitely seen a dip in revenue. I am sure that includes travel bloggers. Financial times reports that British airways intends to cut 12,000 jobs.Although, governments in larger economies are trying to avoid long term unemployment by paying staff on furlough ,when they make a claim through their employer, not all companies will make it through the crisis. So yes, consider the fact that you are still earning while at home, a good thing. I am grateful and I voice it out to myself.
Make it a positive experience.
Look at the positives. for example, while internet connection has been horrendous at home, making meeting deadlines harder and computers failures (MacBooks aren’t cheap), have presented unplanned for expenses, I have focused on positives of the experience.
I have cut down commuting time and replaced the commuting time with mental health check ins. I do this through preparation for work day using prayer , positive affirmations and exercise.
I was in a mentally exhausted state for different reasons prior to lockdown , so the change has now filled my mind with mind recharge time. Recharging my mind is part of my daily routine. So, for people still struggling with the change, consider starting with structuring your day.
Structuring your day.
As i mentioned earlier, I start my day with mental preparation. This is my structure.Even my exercise has a structure. Whatever gets your mind in positive state. I start with saying out loud, at least one thing am grateful for that day. I then say a prayer of gratitude and set my intentions for the day. Whatever works for you to start the day, go ahead rock star!
So now that we are mentally ready to start the day , here are things to consider when working from home.
Be a self starter- work as if everything depends on you
This will be different for people depending on circumstances. But generally writing down what needs to happen and at what time not only makes you accountable but helps you to actually complete everything. I am a self starter so it doesn’t take much for me to get on with things, whether am cheered on or not .I think of it as aiming to produce more results per hour in the same time frame of my average work day. I have a small white board where i scribble down the main things i have to do on the day.
A tip i learned from a podcast i listened to , is setting timers. Maybe 30 minutes at a time. when timer rings, you see how much time you are spending on one thing. Now this one is for those of us whose mind wonders every few minutes, if we are alone and we have to ensure that we are still agile.
Set up a dedicated work space
Do you work sitting on your bed? I like to have a dedicated space to sit and work. It has to be next to a window. I can not work facing a wall . I have a dedicated space for work in my home.Its small but works. It helps me to have that mental transition between work time and play time.
The gadgets – Are you working from a laptop or an external monitor? Some people prefer using a laptop. To me , it feels like I am looking into a key hole. Maybe because a lot of time I am looking at large amounts of data . So here’s what I did. I brought home an external monitor and connected to my laptop using this USB Type-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.
I use an external key board and decided to buy a wireless mouse too. Initially it was to reduce number of hanging wires on my work station and to work around not finding symbols on Mac book . Now am just just used to it
I hope you are making the phone calls, video chats etc. to stay connected with family and friends because we are all social beings albeit at various degrees. I know in some parts of the world that type of phone or video call has high data costs that you can’t afford to be spending on right now but….these are options, and it’s good to have options.
Lastly, if you don’t have an opportunity to network, don’t stress it. I have learned that such relationships come organically and your hard work will speak for itself.
All the best , and happy transition. This is the new normal.