The risks of this global pandemic have led to businesses now operating from home. The situation is so dire that some employers getting low consumer traffic have already laid off a percentage of their staff.
Other employers will have to come to terms with even severe disruptions coming their way. At first glance, working remotely seems exciting. Any chance to experience how entrepreneurs and freelancers operate from home is welcome. But now with looming cabin fever, procrastination, several failed attempts at performing and stress pulling you in, this is no longer fun. It is overwhelming.
Alternatively, a massive boost in morale and productivity is much needed. This is where robust and purposeful leadership, project management apps and measured actions prevail. The truth is your customers care less where you work from but how you care for them and how productive you are. In this article, we shall offer tips on how to work from home as an employee or business owner effectively.
The positive side of remote work is that employers have taken all the possible precautions to minimize the risk to exposure and transmission of the virus among colleagues. In-person meetings and conference have been cancelled until further notice, annual leave has been granted for the foreseeable future, and employees have been encouraged to self-quarantine until the danger has been neutralized.
The benefits of remote work primarily in the middle of a global pandemic outweigh the inconvenience. As long as working from home is handled empathetically and professionally.
Here are some tips for working from home during this crisis
Establish a consistent work routine
There are numerous books written on how to avoid distractions, such as social media and Tv when working. Now to top that off with working from home where distractions are everywhere, it presents an entirely different set of challenges.
Not communicating with your colleagues must be a daunting task. This is why it’s crucial to establish a strict work routine and stick to it. Allocate time for conference calls, answering emails, lunch breaks and writing reports.
It helps you power through the moments when you don’t feel like working. If you have office space in your house, make the environment as office-looking as possible. Go to bed at reasonable hours to get enough sleep and wake up at the usual time. Do this frequently until it becomes a habit.
Set work-life boundaries
Only take in workload that you can handle. Just because you are working from home, it doesn’t you say yes to every task assigned and fill up your plate. Set these boundaries early enough since it’s easy to get overwhelmed with work assignments.
You still need to take a breather and replenish your energy. Whenever you feel overstretched, negotiate with your family at home and your boss to help ease the situation.
Maintain a work connection with staff
Keep in touch with your work community by making calls or video conferencing Distance shouldn’t hinder you from maintaining these connections. Update each other on work-related stuff. You will not feel alone.
Keep the channels of communication open and if you’re leader, give frequent updates on the work situation. In case of any changes in terms of when to report back, communicate that in good time. This is the right time to use apps such as Slack which is fantastic in messaging a team.
Use an inclusive approach when managing your staff
As a boss or leader, this could be your very first stint leading from home. A new experience doesn’t have to be a painful one. Ensure that your staff has all the necessary tools to execute their projects.
Encourage your team to provide regular feedback on any challenges they encounter or any success stories. You can video call individual employees to encourage discussions and collaborations with other colleagues and to ensure everyone is in line with the company or business objectives.
Remain calm and lead proactively
Be the voice of reason amidst the chaos and commit to listening more instead of talking. Issue clarity on which projects have been reprioritized due to the crisis just so that everyone is one the same page.
You should only ask clarifying questions before the colleagues have a chance to speak at conference meetings. Then carefully share your opinion and directive on the matter at the end of the session.
Make conversations lighter at times
Create mechanisms that foster these casual and light interactions. On your Slack app or any other messaging app you use) you can create channels where teammates share their weekend activities along with humorous encounters.
Just ensure the content is in line with the company’s culture and still fits the business context.
Use a Project Management app
These include Trello, Basecamp, Asana, Monday, Casual etc. Introduce a project management app for project workflow if your team doesn’t have one yet.
After reprioritizing your goals, you still need to link your KPIs with the target goals and your task-level work. Work should circle back to the overall organizational goals. You can choose to track your team’s time in there if need be.
Choose the apps wisely; they don’t have to be cheap. Consider the opportunity cost of project miscommunication. If the resources are available, go for the one that has better communication features.
Continually polish your skills
Continuing professional development (CPD) is essential for self-growth. You can hone your skills or learn new ones using webinars with industry experts, online courses or self-directed learning through books online or videos.
Here, you need all the time management skills so as not to be overwhelmed with work. This should be a team effort so as to apply each other’s skills to the various projects.
Dress up everyday
This is crucial more psychological than anything, as it improves your state of mind. When you change into a new set of clothes, the brain interprets it as a sign to get up and make things happen.
You don’t have to go as all out as you would for a day in the office to take on the day, but taking care of your appearance helps you feel like you’re taking care of yourself. So get up, take a shower, brush teeth and get dressed in something comfortable. Assume you will be on a video call later in the day.
NB: Staying home has so far changed the way we learn, socialize, work and play. But most importantly, it helps slow the spread of COVID-19!