Working from home has become the ‘liquorice’ of the corporate world, dividing the fans from the critics. Irrespective of personal feelings toward telework, employees have had to conform ‘virtually’ overnight. Those who love it are thriving in their environment however, there are many who are still battling to cope.
Some employees are ‘drowning’ in isolation, whilst many others are feeling unfocused and unproductive. As many have children at home, the challenges for those having to work from home are definitely global.
“Ultimately, anyone can be productive working from home, it just takes some flexibility, discipline and practice,” advises Domains.co.za CEO Wayne Diamond.
“Of course, not all of your employees’ home environments may be ideal; that’s why employers need to know what the individual challenges are. Only then can they assist their employees in finding suitable solutions. There isn’t a business in the country that can really function optimally with a work-from-home workforce. The trick is to adapt and conquer,” Diamond adds.
For years telecommuting has been seen as ‘the Future of Work’ due to the advantages it can offer corporate and other institutions. Some of these are; a wider geographical network of talent, reduction in CTC (the cost to company) and improved job satisfaction.
Domains.co.za’s most experienced WFH employees share their top tips.
Set yourself up for success
Assign yourself a designated office space, even if you need to rearrange or move it at the end of a day due to space constraints. It is very important that you start your workday plugged in and positioned at a desk or table. Make sure you have all the hardware and software required to be able to do your job to the best of your ability.
Set goals and plans
Digital project management software programs are making it much easier to set up and manage goals, plan better and get a bird’s eye view of the progress of your tasks and projects. Use these platforms in addition to your own personal system to plan your day. Every day should have its own set of to-do’s and deadlines you need to aim to complete. Physically ticking off something from a to-do list is a mental trick that can help you experience a feeling of accomplishment. Keeping to a routine is very important. Remember to also plan for breaks and to make stretching your legs part of this daily routine.
It is highly irregular that you would ever go through an entire day without communicating with someone at the office. Whether it be face-to-face, via email, telephone or chat groups. Good communication limits bottlenecks and reduces error and confusion. Continue to use all the channels you used before, swapping out face-to-face chats with video calls. Proper communication is more important than ever before. Be precise, clear and brief with the messages you send and always practice proper Netiquette.
Perhaps best known from Stephan King’s The Shining, the saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is very relevant here. In order to make working from home less “weird” and unnatural, you should try and stick to the normal status quo as best as possible. Socialising is part of this, as all conversations at the office were not always strictly business-related. Keep it that way. Take a few minutes during your workday to socialise with your work colleagues via a video or voice call.
When you were at the office, deadlines and other working people served as good motivation to hustle. Working from home, perhaps on your own, or with other challenges at play, could perhaps affect your ability to stay motivated and energised the whole day. Don’t worry, this is normal. One of the first lessons to learn is to avoid distractions. If it means quitting certain programs to silence notifications for a while – so be it. Do what works for you. Incentivising yourself for projects completed, or milestones met, could be a useful trick.