Working remotely doesn't seem to come with a de facto manual on how it should be done. Our team, like many of you, is experiencing this way of working for the first time. Talking to colleagues, experts and acquaintances about this transition, we detailed in the first article dedicated to Work from Home some questions that many of us are confused with in connection with this topic.
We continue the mini-series #parteneripentruafacerilocale with a closer look at the advantages, disadvantages of working at home and some ideas of how to manage this period.
Advantages vs. Disadvantages
This change seems, at first glance, in our favor. We no longer have to go to the office and waste time in traffic. We can organize better or focus for a long time on the important tasks, that state of Deep Work that Cal Newport is talking about. Many of our colleagues tell us that they feel more efficient and more in control during their professional time. However, things and conditions come in that can divert us from our productivity and work.
- More quiet - in the office we can be distracted and lose focus because of the different discussions that are heard in the background;
- We save time from traffic - regardless of the means of transport use, if you don't stay very close to the office, the time you spend to and from the office can be quite long. Did you know that we can spend up to 200 hours a year like this?
- It's very simple – technology helps us carry out our activities no matter where we are, to hear from colleagues or to contact our customers;
- We can become happier – we are concerned about the dichotomy of work – life and how we can find satisfaction or more meaning in all our activities. Working from home, we have the opportunity to reconcile in a balanced way these two levels;
- We contribute to a cleaner environment – indirectly, because we limit our movements, we also have a positive impact on the surrounding environment;
- Decrease in productivity - this can occur because of the change in the working environment with which we have been accustomed, whether we are talking about the atmosphere or even furniture and appliances. The ergonomic chair at the office is really missing;
- Poor communication with the team - at the office, we are used to being surrounded by colleagues with whom we can communicate at any time. When working from home, the lack of eye contact and nonverbal language can make the communication process more difficult;
- Difficulty in delimiting work and personal life - because the activity is done from your own home, we may have difficulty separating the two plans (the professional one from the personal one).
- The feeling of loneliness - although social distance is extremely important to stop the spread of the new COVID-19, because we no longer come into contact with our colleagues, we can feel different emotions, alienation, exclusion or even anxiety.
To avoid these "traps" that we may face, we can use a few routines or activities that will help us make work from Home as balanced as possible:
#1. Allocate a workspace dedicated to service tasks
The temptation to dedicate yourself to other work-related activities can be great, at least at first. At the same time, if you're thinking about working off the couch, it might turn to the detriment of your health over time. The recommendation is to dedicate a space only to your work, so that you minimize distractions and keep your activities confidential.
#2. Agrees a way of organizing
Make sure that you and your team have a system of organizing and managing activities, as well as the best ways to make your work visible and contact you (video conference, SMS, email, etc. and in what situations). Many specialists recommend the development of more routines and discipline during the long period of Work from Home. For example, set Check-ins & Check-outs, which project management platforms you use, 1-to-1 weekly for priorities and progress.
In terms of your own organization, you can take into account a few aspects:
- Determine when you start and finish work
- Set in the communication platform (e.g Skype, Slack, Teams, etc.) what your status is (Do not disturb, I work on a presentation, etc.)
- Allocate a time for deep work
- Be present in time for team meetings
- Add a little things you like (e.g. Listen to your favorite songs)
It's also important that you and your manager have a good understanding of the new work label and the readiness to respond quickly. For example, if you're working on a complex material and your way of working is to devote 2 hours to this task without answering emails or making calls, it's important to pass this information on. If one of your colleagues or manager urgently needs you, such as it would be best to contact you in such situations?
#3. Video conferencing
Technology brings us quickly together with our teams, in the context that the current situation recommends us all social distancing through physical contact. Video calls, in addition to the professional role, are important to (re)establish the connections between us as a team. Visual contact is extremely important and, in most cases, helps to carry out activities.
#4. Set work breaks
You've probably already started to miss lunch breaks with colleagues or even the fast-eating menu on a busy day. Breaks are very important for good performance over time. But when we work from home, we might forget to get up from the office for a little break. What's more, we might even have lunch in front of our laptop.
The habit can be quite harmful, because in the absence of such a break, severe headaches can occur and fatigue or lack of concentration may occur. Therefore, it is advisable to set a work schedule, but also to set your breaks routines.
#5. Continue building on trust
As a team, we already trust each other and resonate at the same values. Maintaining this status quo is simpler, however, when we share the same physical space. We cannot see what we are doing, but it is important to have access to the resources we need, to ensure that we carry out our activities and that we continue to offer the best products/results of our work.
Beyond that, you can create 1-to-1 meetings with your manager and discuss issues that you think can have a negative impact on the trust area. Communication, openness and transparency become even more important during this period. Use them with confidence.