2020 has been quite an exciting ride, hasn't it? In the last 10 weeks we saw more telecommuting or work from home arrangements than we have ever had before.
Suddenly work for home is possible.
However, one of the things that we have noticed as we work with our clients as as they send their talent pool back home to work from home in a hurry, there were many, many things that we realised now that we need to go back and take a look at.
One of the first things that we did know our clients did was they simply worked in double quick time to give access and equipments and sent the staff off to work from home.We know from our years of practice of advising organisations on flexibility on remote work and tele work that the most important thing, actually, besides the technology is the human interface, the human pieces.
I want to share with you three key areas of focus for individuals to be successful in telecommute or remote working. Yes there are parts where the managers, or the leaders need to take note of, there are things that as an organisation culture we need to take evolve, but I think most importantly and where there is a sphere of control, is that with the individuals. So today I want to share with you three things for you to keep in mind because working from home is not going to go away, working from home is an option, that’s going to stay. And even as we get into the hybrid way of work as the next new normal, where working from home, will be one of the opportunities depending on the role that you undertake. These are my three for you to consider, for you to be productive and for you to not feel overwhelmed.
One of the outcomes we thought we would find as people work from home, is that they will feel isolated because they don't have their colleagues/clients around them. There is no pantry chats, etc. But the biggest complaint or the biggest issue that we hear is actually, “I feel overwhelmed”. Why is that so? The office used to be a place which used to be our safe haven from home. Or for some of us home, used to be the safe haven from work. But now they're all in the same place work and home in the same place so we feel overwhelmed, there is no where to be at. We deal with this, particularly if you are a caregiver; whether you are working mom, or you are working when you're working from home and you are having caregiving duties.
These are the things that I want you to take note of for you to be successful, productive and energised, in spite of working from home.
#1 Structures in place
1.Embrace a structure, have a routine. Take it as if you are really going to work. Even though the paces even if you're working from home. This means having a set workspace, if you like having a set start time, having a set routine so that you tell yourself, your brain, and others that you are at work.
Because now there is no line to say when it's work and when it is not. You need to be able to exhibit that from a physical perspective, whether it is through artefacts, or it is just timeline routines. Set up those structures.
What does this mean? Perhaps it is getting up and dressed for work. It sends a signal to yourself and to the people around you. Another structure could be setting up routines as to when you're going to connection with your team, when will you get on your socials to check things out, when will you get on to check your emails and so on. so that you do not get overwhelmed. With a set routine you know it will be covered. Regardless whether you're back at the office or working from home, these are habits to cultivate right now.
2. Another form of structure is practicing blocked time. Yes, this helps for you to get to do some real work/deliverables beyond all your zoom calls. Productive time to be producing what is necessary as an outcome. That's very important. One of the performance outcomes for individuals who telecommute is exactly that, what are the outcomes. This work arrangement needs to be outcome focused. Some of my clients I work with, block time such that they are “done by one” which means by one o'clock, all the key pieces of deliverables are done, then they do their zoom calls and any other work as necessary so that there is a true measurable output and not just a day full of meetings, which brings me to the next point.
Have less Zoom meetings. Instead have few productive Zoom meetings. Just because that we are not in the physical space together, doesn't mean that we need to be together all the time via zoom and have meetings after meetings. Ask what is the meeting for? What is your contribution to the meeting and what do you want as an outcome of the meeting so that you are tight with your time spent on zoom, which can be very tired. They don’t call it Zoom fatigue for no reason.
3. The final piece around structure is schedule in breathers. When you are working in a physical workspace, out in your office somewhere there will be times when you get up you go to the pantry get your coffee etc. Do schedule that specifically because you can be sitting in your study you can be sitting in your home office or working from your dining table for the longest time just they can cause up the cost of the cost. So make sure you schedule time for you to get up and have some movement as scheduled breather time. My preference, as I advise my clients is every 45 minutes or so get up and have a breather.
That is the first area to setup to be successful and manage the overwhelm from working from home.
#2 Shared Responsibilities
The second thing is to be able to have shared responsibilities. Worklife used to be the term where one navigate work is at work and at home as different spaces. Now, it is within the space space. When you work from home, it doesn't mean that you are the one who needs to make the meals. When you work from home it does not mean that you are called upon to go get a bottle of milk or something which might add to your overwhelm or distractions.
How do you have shared responsibility?
1.Acknowledge that it is alright to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, Sometimes asking for help is not a sign of, “I can't cope”, but “I'm doing my fair share. Everyone else should too.”
2. Ask of your partner or your spouse to practice shared responsibility, particularly if you are caregiver - you’re working mom or you are your caregiver to an elder who was at home.
Ask for help from other people in the household. I've got three boys. I will go crazy if I don't ask for help from them to make their own beds to do their lawn to do the laundry, to be able to go run out and get lunch, etc. Be able to assign and delegate appropriately. When you are working from home. You don't have to do everything just because you are home.
3. The last thing is to be able to release the guilt, as far as shared responsibility is concerned. Often we feel overwhelmed because we have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders and some of the responsibility, we do not need to take it on but we take it on, assuming that we need to because we are home base.
#3 Self care
To have successful telework is #1, Structures and routine. #2, Practice shared responsibility. The third big bucket is self care.
1.It is even more important now for you to be able to schedule in self care because for some of us commuting to and from work, is our own time. It is our me time. Our self care time. This is when we put on our favourite music and be able to enjoy that 20 minutes, or 45, minutes, train ride or drive to and from work. Schedule that, as if you are commuting, be able to schedule that for your own self care.
2.Another item on the self care list is movement. As shared earlier, every 45 minutes or so, get up and have some movement. Move around and be able to reconnect with your body, because when you're home, you might sit and do your work from the morning till whenever your calls end and and not move a single bit. That is not the way that you would have functioned if you were in your office.
3. Hydration is also often missed. Just because you are note heading out to the sun or you may not feel that you nee. Replenishing water is definitely needed.
3 areas to focus on as you make work from home productive, not overwhelming and be able to manage your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
If you like the ideas from this article and want more plus you desire to build these habits, I’m running a Overcoming Overwhelmed; 5-day FREE Challenge. Sign up here.
I welcome you to join me and individuals around the world for this Challenge. Working from home is a reality and will stay as one of the options as we go into the next new normal of hybrid workplace. I want guide you with the way forward to be successful in telecommuting and manage any overwhelm. I look forward to seeing you at the challenge. Sign up for the free challenge here.
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