With the global outbreak and spread of coronavirus our lives have been changed in a number of ways. As South Africans we are in the midst of a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of this contagion. In response many businesses have had to adapt overnight. There are many examples of how businesses have transformed significantly with rapid advancements in technology and information serving the needs of employees by making remote work our new reality.
Even before COVID-19, there was a notable rise in people working remotely but remote work is challenging for many. Working from home is different from being in the office. Children, partners, and many other domestic challenges can arise. With all these temptations and distractions, what do you do?
To adjust to these new and unusual conditions, it is essential to adopt some guidelines for this period of remote work in order to work productively from home.
When working from your home office, it is important to ensure that you are set up to be productive. Here at Conflict Dynamics, our five top tips include:
- Know the ground rules: Does your employer require a 9-5 commitment or is there flexibility? Do you have the appropriate equipment such as wifi, a laptop, printer, internet access, passwords, chargers, stationery, headphones? What digital tools do you need: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Facetime?
- Have a functional workspace: Set aside a workspace free from distractions. This includes having a designated workspace with the right technology and resources that you need to do your work efficiently.
- Keep to your daily routine: Have a rhythm. Take a shower, get dressed and have breakfast. Get ready for the day the same way you would if you were heading into the office. This will positively impact your motivation and productivity. Plan and structure your day and time accordingly by having a to-do list or a daily planner. Set boundaries for when your workday starts and ends as the boundaries between work and home can be blurred and employees may feel the need to “prove” that they are being productive.
- Stay professional and be connected: Be reachable and responsive. “Show up” on time when using online platforms and also look presentable. Coronavirus or not, the key to working from home is open and frequent communication with your colleagues. Stay connected with colleagues, collaborate, and have daily check-ins.
- Keep healthy: Eat well, exercise, keep hydrated, wash your hands often, maintain social distancing, read a book and meditate. When working from home it is easy to feel isolated and claustrophobic so schedule a coffee or lunch date via video chat with family, friends or a colleague to create some form of social interaction.
Above all, whether individuals are in the office or not, what holds a distributed organization together is self-discipline, accountability, trust and support. With the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 as a pandemic, it has caused worldwide fear. Instead we should stay calm and positive, avoid panic decisions and focus on what we can control.