In our current climate, the demand to work remotely has increased. We see our home as a place for relaxation and rest, and work can at times be associated with stress or tension. How do you fuse the two to create a conducive working environment without overwriting the benefits of home?
Communicate, communicate, communicate - We cannot stress enough the importance of communicating with your team whilst you're working remotely. You're no longer a few desks away from your workmates, so seeking clarification, collaboration, and letting your team know how you're tracking is now more important than ever. Don't forget to schedule in regular meetings, and 1 on 1s with your peers through videoconferencing. Platforms such as Google Hangouts and Zoom are great tools for this. This not only benefits you, but will also assist your colleagues, and maintain positive relationships within your team.
Curate your workspace - We would all like to think that we can sit in bed, cosy under the covers and get the same amount of work done as we would at our desk, but the reality is that we can't. When deciding where to set up your workstation at home, consider an environment that you feel motivated in and that has limited distractions. Try to implement some of your work-desk features into your new working environment. One of our team members put an esky on a dining table to mimic a standing desk! Get creative when curating your home working space, and if an environment or room isn't working for you, change it.
Figure out a schedule that works for you - Working from home can mean some of us take no breaks, and others too many breaks! It can be easy to be distracted at home, or to feel compelled to work longer because you're not in the office. At the beginning of your day, set the tasks you want to complete and allocate coffee and lunch breaks. Scheduling is a great way to check-in with yourself throughout the day and ensures that you're being your most productive self.
Don't work in your pyjamas - It can be easy to slip into the mentality that working from home means you can maximise your comfort. Think of the connotations you have surrounding your pyjamas. You're thinking along the lines of cosy, comfort, sleepy, aren't you? Now think of what you wear to work - corporate, professional, business. The term "dress for success" definitely applies here. The mindset you adapt in different clothing heavily impacts how you approach tasks, so when working from home take the time before you start to get ready for work. This is not only a physical exercise, but also a mental one. Getting ready for work is a very important part of our day, so when you're working from home, don't deny yourself that preparedness exercise.
Check-in with your emotions - When tensions are high, it can be hard to focus. Take some time throughout the day to check-in with yourself. Common emotions evoked under these conditions are frustration, worry, anger, and disappointment. If you're experiencing this, take some time to stop, step away from your workstation, and evaluate how you're feeling. By recognising and acknowledging these emotions and resetting rather than "powering through", you're setting yourself up for a more productive day.
Bonus tip: Overall, be kind. To yourself and to your co-workers. Everyone will cope differently. Now is the time to practice empathy. At our company, contentgroup, our values are be kind, be curious, and be remarkable, which now are more relevant than ever. During a climate like we're currently experiencing be mindful to exercise kindness to others and yourself, be curious and informed about your surroundings, and be remarkable in the way your carry yourself throughout these trying times.
- Ruby Cooper is a communications intern at contentgroup, a Canberra-based communication advisory company.