Many global companies in the last few days have rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies amid the spread of COVID-19. And it’s realistic to assume that shifting to the ‘home office’ will become the new normal for many of us for a while, after coronavirus being declared as pandemic disease.
It would be the very first time for some employees to work from home, which means they’ll learn to figure out how to stay on task in a new environment that may not lend itself to productivity. But yet there are ways to deliver results and avoid going stir-crazy, from setting up a good workspace to the way you talk to your team in such a scenario.
Fuel your Conversation
Everyone needs to communicate effectively to ensure you achieve your goals. Effective communication can help to foster a good working relationship between you and your team, which can, in turn, improve morale and efficiency.
Whether it’s coronavirus or not, the key to working from home is clear communication with your boss – and knowing exactly what’s expected of you. To communicate with your boss and team members while working from home, it can help if as much of it as possible can be “richer” communication that’s face-to-face and instant, you can go on for the following tools for communications like Slack, Skype, Zoom or Jira.
Create your own office space
If you don’t have a home office set up, do as much as you can to create an ad hoc, bespoke space exclusively for work. Instead of lying on your bed, try something more considerable. Try to stay away and corner yourself away from the distractions, sitting in an upright chair as you would do at your office desk. Create your boundaries within your home that your family members will understand: ‘When the door is closed, pretend I’m not there.’
With a dedicated workspace where you can concentrate, it becomes easier to unlock the benefits of remote work like fewer interruptions from colleagues, minimal office politics and reduced stress from commuting.
Keep your spirits high!
Reading the negative headlines, worrying about sick or elderly loved ones and fighting the urge to go panic buying for necessity products can all put answering work emails on the back burner. But the more effort you put into communicating with your team and colleagues, the better chance you have of avoiding feelings of isolation, which can lead to depression.
Do as much face-to-face or video interaction online as possible through video calls or conference calls, regular employer check-ins – especially to those employees who live alone and might feel more isolated. It’s on you to provide clear communication and it’s also crucial to keep up morale as it is very easy for the people to feel stressed or go depressed these days during the lockdown.
Don’t be off the beaten track
Even though we have these tools for communication, still there comes a situation when the transition from office to home environment could leave some struggling to get accustomed to the change. With coronavirus, it is not clear for how long people will be at home, which poses additional problems. Therefore, the prolonged isolation could also potentially impact on morale and productivity.
Why not going for the unconventional ways to interact with your colleagues and employees, like virtual pizza parties or remote happy hours where people dial in and share a cocktail on Slack or Zoom. It’s a good way to bond with your team and employees – it’s kind of weird, but everyone’s feeling weird, so it’s fun! It may add a little bit of levity and lightness to the otherwise difficult environment.
We are all together in this!