With this current unprecedented global situation, I’ve put together some thoughts for you about how to operate business from home during these times of isolation. Since we are experiencing a re-organizational phase of our entire routine and what has always been “the norm”, I think it is necessary to keep focus and adapt to changes.
First, we are in this together. The entire globe has evolved into one huge community and there is not one single soul not aware of what we go through. It certainly is a time of change, which in turn, requires a lot of flexibility and creativity.
We are apart from friends and some family. We don’t go out for dinner. Shopping is reduced to the essential. The office we have shared with colleagues is now silent and we are not able to meet up in the kitchen for a coffee, chatting about last night’s hockey game, before going back to our desk.
Now we have to wisely plan our schedule and possibly consider to be there for others who need our help.
And we have to rely on our own self-induced responsibility and the one of others for showing up – online.
Here are the three main factors you should consider when it comes to working from home:
Working from home means being reliable and holding yourself accountable since nobody is there watching over your shoulder cracking the whip and telling you what to do and how to do it.
So, it starts with the people, taking themselves into responsibility and being available as if they were sitting in the office. There is nothing right about spending your day in a park and having the phone at home during business hours. You are responsible and so are your colleagues and co-workers.
Schedule meetings online, prepare your day as a business day and get your work done by the end of the day.
One very positive thing about home office is that you can for sure do other necessary things apart from work in between, as long as you get your tasks done by the end of the day.
Instead of the usual, endless water-cooler conversation breaks, use some time to move around and do stuff around the house, then get back to work refreshed.
And just because we are not in a physical office space, we are still acting on behalf of the company, which means that there has to professionalism in communication and appearance.
Even taking the step to dress up as you would be going to work or expecting your best client at your door at home. And no, there is no way you should define your daily clothing as “daytime pajamas” and “nighttime pajamas.” If you don’t think so, try it – you will feel more comfortable and focused in your normal work attire in front of your online meeting and there is a certain relation between dress code and productivity.
2. Your Workspace
Make sure that your home office is not a spot on the couch with a hunched back and in front of a TV.
Your workspace needs a designated worktime and deserves a designated work area in your home.
Get an empty bedroom turned into an office with a solid desk and a good quality comfortable desk chair. Don’t have a spare bedroom? Rearrange some other space to provide a specific work area. If necessary buy a large monitor so you are not straining on the small laptop screen. This makes it easier for you to switch between virtual windows.
Plants are proven health enhancers and they certainly make a great visual workspace companion.
And please, keep your workspace clean and tidy. Research shows that tidied desks are improving focus and concentration.
Since you are shifting your professional work environment into your home you should be able to seclude yourself from personal distractions, such as family (as far as possible, for the parents of little ones out there), pets and noise. At least for certain blocks of time that you dedicate to work.
This space allows you to fully function and focus on your tasks. And in return, the time outside this space should be dedicated to everything else, but work. 😉
3. Your Productivity
You might feel overwhelmed with this new situation of self-organization when you were not used to work from home. Self- and time-management are crucial, not only when it comes to remote work, but always. It just weighs factors more heavily when you don’t have the same structure in place that you have at your actual workplace and when you don’t get directional pushes from your work environment.
Generating focus becomes now even more important.
Make priority-lists, schedule work- and personal time, block time with no distractions and show up on time, dressed up, and ready for your online-meetings. It is recommended to use video instead of audio only to keep people accountable and close.
Emails should be reviewed with more awareness since people might have more questions versus when you are collaborating in person.
The upside of the fact that we are isolated is that there will be less interruptions in our work when no one is walking into our offices with the famous sentence “Do you have a minute?”. We are in control of what we let interrupt us and what not. And this is where the circle to self-responsible work closes.
You see, there is a lot of positive things to look at when we think of the shift we are new experiencing in dealing with a very different situation than we have ever had before. One thing will be the proof that working remotely works. We will see it. It will make leadership think about work policies when it comes to productivity.
Further, (remote) leadership styles will more and more change from control to collaboration.
And who would ever complain about reduction of costs after the global mindset shifts towards increased opportunities to work from home with having happy employees and more retention. This new model of workforce management means less replacement costs, reduced facility costs and last but not least, enhancing way more productivity.
>> What do you see as the most challenging part of a home-office? Let me know and get some advice.