Working From Home And Being Productive During Lockdown
Coronavirus has changed working patterns for many people, in particular, for people like myself who work in digital media. Most employers were hesitant and had only a restrictive working from home policy in place before coronavirus. However, now that they have been forced to allow their employees working from home and being productive during lockdown they are embracing it and see the opportunities.
Many people who have not worked from home, especially line managers, are hesitant about the concept. They worry that people will not be as committed when working from home. They fear that employees will do other things, take longer breaks and many fear the loss of control. Many bosses will have asked themselves how can working from home and being productive work for the long-term? Can it? What are the benefits? Well, let me tell you there are a few and not only for the employee but also for the employer!
A Better Work-Life Balance
However, the positive side of working from home is that your staff will be enjoying a much better work-life balance. They will be able to set their work schedule so that it suits them. Maybe they prefer to work later or have a longer lunch break or start earlier and finish earlier. As long as this works for your job the flexibility that working from home gives you is liberating.
Being More Active
I’ve worked from home a few years ago and I used the time in the morning to go for a run before work. I felt more energised during the day and felt good because I was physically active. I’ve taken up this habit again and now run three times a week. What activities have you picked up when working from home?
For the Employer
More companies are stressing how important the mental wellbeing of their staff is to them. But then they tell you that they want you to be in the office. Why? Because they want to ensure they are in control on when and how much you work. A more relaxed and trusting relationship with staff, however, will ensure they are more engaged, focused and dedicated to their work. If your staff has more time to enjoy their free time and the employer is doing all they can to enable remote work where possible the company will ensure less staff turnover and that their workforce has a better work-life balance.
But not everything is easy and straightforward if you are working from home. There are so many challenges that you need to navigate. Some questions you should ask yourself when you consider working from home and being productive.
Do you have a proper work set up? A good chair? Maybe your employer is providing you with the equipment you may need. Ask and see what they are willing to reimburse so you can set up your working from home office and ensure you stay healthy and focused.
Are you allowing yourself enough breaks? This one is a biggie. Despite what line managers think people actually work more, longer and take fewer breaks when they are not in an office environment. Ensure you are taking enough screen breaks and consider using a timer to remind you of when to take breaks.
Looking After Kids While Working From Home
If you have kids the challenges multiply. They may not understand that you are working and no matter how often you stress that you cannot be disturbed kids sometimes change your working pattern. Maybe you will be taking a longer lunch break or start work earlier. Try and find a rhythm that works for you. Also, try and set up rules when you cannot be disturbed. You want to avoid having your kids storming into the room when you are on an important client call.
The biggest challenge I encountered was that I just worked way longer than I ever did in an office. I was doing so many overtime and no one was thanking me for it. I just got tired and ended up having hardly any times for friends or myself. The trick: set boundaries. Do not accept that meeting at 7am in the morning or 8pm in the evening just because you are at home. Whatever your schedule is that you set for yourself, stick to it!
There may be the odd occasion where you have to take a call outside of your usual hours but ensure that is not slowly becoming a routine. That is how it crept in for me. Aks for the meeting to be moved to a more suitable time. Maybe it can be recorded and you can catch up during your normal working hours. Find solutions that ensure you don’t have to work overtime. If you do have to work early or later one day, take the time off during the day and have a longer break.
Not Eating Properly
In these days where many employers provide lunch for their staff, you may struggle to find the time and prepare your food at home. You may find that you are skipping lunch if work meetings are scheduled over your normal lunch break. Block the time in your diary so people do not book meetings when you would like to take a break. My tip to ensure you have enough time is to already have an idea in your head what you want to cook during the week. A light lunch is ideal but you could also prepare some lunch options at the weekend and freeze them. That way you only have to defrost them and heat them up at noon.
Working from home is a great opportunity to increase your personal well-being. It is also a way for companies to foster a more trusting and long-lasting relationship with their employees. Working from home and being productive can work for the employee and the employer if both sides work towards this goal and are understanding of the other side.
In your personal life, you will have more time for activities that are important to you and you may find that your life slows down to a more natural pace. I’ve certainly found this to be the case whenever I had the opportunity to work from home. I’ve had more time for myself and I could be more productive in my day job.
A win-win situation for both sides. Let’s hope that employers around the world have learned their lesson and will enable more flexible working from home arrangements when the lockdown is being lifted eventually. Working from home and being productive can work!
How have you experienced this situation? How do you feel about working from home and being productive? Have you made any changes in your life? Was your employer supportive and how do they see the situation now?