Working from home can be great, especially when it’s a choice. But unfortunately, a lot of us are in a situation where our jobs have been converted to WFH. There are other concerns, too: are you living with family and/or roommates who are housebound with you? Are you living alone and the places you relied on for socialization are closed for the foreseeable future?
In short, there’s a lot going on with quarantine WFH efforts than would normally be associated with a WFH role. I’ll be talking about a few concerns: isolation and conversely “family time,” how to handle home distractions, and how one can help his teams through all of this.
First Things First: You’re at Home
Depending on your situation, you might find yourself sometimes very isolated or getting a little too much “quality time” with loved ones. For me personally, I am WFH now with my family, and my loved ones are now experiencing furloughs and layoffs. Spending a lot of time under this kind of stress can definitely spike anxiety and depression, especially in those who already have it. So how do you deal with it?
Get started early.
During regular work in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to work by the time you get to your desk. At home, however, the transition from your pillow to your computer can be much more jarring.
Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Simply getting a project started the first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day. Otherwise, you'll prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.
Have a dedicated work space.
Just because you are not working at an office that does not mean you cannot, well, have an office. Rather than cooping yourself up in your room or on the couch -- spaces that are associated with leisure time -- dedicate a specific room or surface in your home to work.
Save calls for the afternoon.
Take advantage of morning hours to crank through meaty projects without distractions, and save any calls or virtual meetings for the afternoon.
If You were not managing a remote team before and are now, you’re up for some challenges. Even pre-existing remote teams are going to encounter new pressures. Few tips may help you transition to a new workflow.
- Keep a list of “what I expect them to do” and “how I expect them to do it.”
- Over communicate is a key. One of the big ways to issues is to communicate the right things effectively, sync early and often, and don’t wait until the last minute to deliver news
- Be flexible and have alternative schedules. Employees/Resources may ask to work on a split day. Create a safe space for the employees, and be as accommodating as possible.
It’s really hard to focus on work when you might be feeling existential about life in general. Finding ways to self-care and manage work might not be enough to soothe your synapses. A lot of changes may happen because of the pandemic—not the least of which is how to work together while apart. It’s important to do what we can. When the opportunity arises for us to live in our new normal, we should try to include more people who were previously excluded.