Despite coming as an initial shock, people are beginning to embrace working from home (WFH), reporting higher productivity, reduced stress levels and enjoying more time with family members. With office space representing a significant (and perhaps unnecessary) cost to many businesses in the current climate, it’s possible that WFH, in some flavour, could be here to stay. For good.
This will not be the case for all companies, and adjusting to the events of the last few months has been easier for some than others. However, businesses across all sectors can effectively welcome life offsite.
Adopting the right mindset is crucial for adjusting to any change. Even if remote working is only a short-term shift for a business, setting up an environment for the long term can do great things for productivity. Finding a bright, quiet space away from possible distractions, and spending time making it comfortable and stress-free goes a long way.
Choosing a spot away from the places you’d typically relax and socialise helps in creating effective boundaries between work and personal life.
Understandably, the team dynamic can change when going remote, making effective communication all the more important. When interacting with colleagues via email or online chat, it is always best to assume good intent. In the absence of cues such as body language and tone, it can be easy to jump to conclusions about the other person’s intentions. Keeping assumptions positive can help avoid unnecessary tensions.
Remember that it’s not all about work all the time. Many key interactions for fostering effective work relationships happen in the moments around the work itself. Setting up regular virtual events or “water cooler” chats for all non-work-related updates can help foster team bonding from a distance and keep spirits high. Organising frequent check-ins with your team also helps to ensure that nobody is feeling disconnected.
Burnouts are not restricted to the office environment. In fact, it can be easier to lose track of time at home without interruptions from colleagues or a strict close on working hours. Including short breaks throughout the day can improve productivity by keeping your mind focused on the task at hand.
Whether remote working is here to stay or not, embracing WFH with the long term in mind can transform the way businesses adjust to this new normal. As with all change, there will be challenges, but by mastering a working environment, staying connected with colleagues, and prioritising opportunities to pause, many businesses and their people will be able to effectively master life offsite.
Josh Lynas, agile coach at AND Digital
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