Fist bumps and elbow high-fives, friends.
Things have certainly changed a lot in the past few days, haven’t they? Just a week ago, we were all excitedly preparing for upcoming conferences, getting ready to work on new projects, looking forward to meeting new clients.
Fast forward to today, and just like everybody else, we’re dealing with closed schools, daycare, working from home and making sure everybody is safe.
Luckily for us, many of our employees are already well set up for remote work. But for others, it’s a new concept. And even for those of us that have worked from home for years, it does not mean we are well equipped or even ready to work in the current climate, often with kids running around.
Our very own Director of Innovation, Martin D’Souza, was invited to Global News to give his top tips on how to manage the new Work from Home reality, and we thought we’d share his great advice here.
1. Find and set up a dedicated office space
Find an area away from the central location where everybody congregates. You don’t need anything fancy! Just a simple desk, and hopefully a second monitor if you can. A basement is perfect if you have access to one, but if not, try to find a quiet space in the house that you can call your own.
2. Try to keep a regular schedule
If you normally get up at 6am to go to work, stick with that, even if you no longer have that long commute. You can use the extra time to get a head start on your day before things get hectic later on (good morning, kiddies!).
Try to set a regular schedule, and… stick with it if you can! While this won’t always be possible, routines are particularly important when starting something new.
3. Set expectations around kids and pets
If you expect to take calls, or participate in video conferences, and have kids, pets, or both (bless you) at home, mention it! Sitting there, hoping and praying you don’t become BBC guy, is just asking for a lot of stress.
People will understand! And who knows, they might actually welcome a cute little distraction, especially if it’s the four-legged, furry kind.
And just because I personally cannot get enough of this, here’s BBC guy from a few years ago. You’re welcome.
4. Leverage technology to keep up social interactions
We are social beings, and one of the best parts of work, for many of us, are the social interactions we share with our colleagues. Beyond having to adapt to a new work environment, some employees now run the risk of becoming lonely or feeling isolated.
Insum already has a remote work culture, and we’ve recently implemented weekly ‘virtual coffee chats’ where 4 people randomly connect via Microsoft Teams or Zoom to talk about anything except work. Think of it as a virtual water cooler break! It’s a great opportunity to get to know your colleagues and goes a long way towards reducing that feeling of loneliness or isolation.
Make sure you reach out to colleagues, and turn that camera on! Seeing friendly faces, and talking face to face, will make a world of difference. Your colleagues are likely feeling the same thing and will be grateful for it.
5. Take breaks
Feel like you’re fighting a losing battle against distractions? Take a break, go outside, get some fresh air. Acknowledge it, deal with it, and you are likely to come back feeling energized with a new sense of focus.
Beyond just dealing with distractedness, people working from home often short change themselves when it comes to breaks. Take your lunch hour, away from your desk! And regular walks are important too.
6. Be flexible
While sticking to routine as much as possible is important, the reality is, we’re dealing with things none of us have had to deal with before.
Accept that you might need to adjust your schedule, either to deal with unforeseen circumstances yourself, or to allow a colleague, employee or fellow team member to deal with their own.
Doing work earlier in the day, or later in the evening, is a great way to get your work done, but also cope with some of the things that are likely to crop up for yourself or others during these trying times.
7. Don’t stress
Things won’t be perfect. There will be a hiccup here and there, but try not to worry about it too much.
These are uncertain times, and nobody likes uncertainty. It’s scary, which explains why so many of us are stocking up on toilet paper of all things. Toilet paper! Our grandchildren will be studying this in their history, philosophy and psychology classes, one day…
But friends, we’ve got this. We’ll get through it together.
APEXionately yours, but from a safer distance than usual,