In this video, we're going to give some tips to employees who are working from home and also to leaders who have employees or teams that are now working from home.
I've personally got a lot of experience working from home over the years, going back to my mid to late twenties. And also, more recently, I've experienced being a leader, providing guidance and support to other members of my team who have been working from home.
TIPS FOR LEADERS WITH EMPLOYEES WORKING FROM HOME:
Communication and Motivation:
An important thing about being a leader in these situations is communication. You want to give support to your workers who are at home, which can be done by communicating well and ensuring they feel motivated to get the job done.
Often these people may be beside you and in daily face-to-face contact. Your employees may thrive off of the communication and support you give on a day-to-day basis in the office or on site.
You've got to think about their wellbeing when they're working at home, possibly feeling a little bit isolated. So, giving that motivation to them is a great tool and using your communication and support techniques for that.
Having the right kit:
You must also ensure that your staff working from home have got the right kit, ensure you communicate with them, if it needs to involve other technical people in organisation, please do that.
Of course, the expectation is that the individual working from home may have to be patient in certain circumstances if many people have suddenly moved from an office environment to working from home. But it is important that you check that they have the capabilities, whether you've provided them with the kit to work from home, or whether you're asking them to use their own.
And when I'm talking about kit, remember I’m not only referring to the technical side of it, I'm also referring to their set up from an ergonomics point of view.
Set Regular Scheduled Remote Meetings:
Of course, communication can be much more difficult, not being in a face to face environment, particularly if it's you communicating to many, but there's lots of technology out there, and much of it is free.
Therefore I would suggest that you use this technology to have regular, and I would even say daily calls, video skypes, zoom meetings, team meetings, just to check in and see how everyone is doing.
It also is important to have those one-to-one sessions as well. I would suggest something along the line of maybe once a week or more often if it's required.
Set Targets/Goals with Employees
Ideally, when people are working from home, they will work best if they have goals and targets to achieve and also if they have the opportunity to speak and set them with you as a leader.
Ability to discuss mental health:
You also want to give them the opportunity to chat to you, where appropriate, about any type of mental health situation they are in. So, it could be that the individuals that are working from home may be isolated, they may not have family or friends around them like they usually would.
Do make sure that these people are given the opportunity where they wish (not being pressured) to talk about how they feel about working from home, and maybe trying to give them an understanding that you're there to listen and support them.
TIPS FOR EMPLOYEES WORKING FROM HOME:
If you're an employee working from home, it's really easy to fall into some very basic pitfalls, but these tips will help you stay on track.
One of the key things is to speak up if you need help, do not sit back, and wait. Communicate regularly with your boss, your manager, or whoever's the appropriate person in the workforce that you look up to give that support.
Structure your day:
We would suggest that when working from home, you follow the same timings that you would have when working in the office.
Think about getting up in the morning, having your alarm set if it's required, get showered, get dressed as you would going into the office and have that mental attitude that you're working there.
You need to think about the structure of your day in terms of breaks and lunch timings. It's very easy to fall into the trap of spending time, possibly in front of the TV for a couple of hours during the day, and then saying that you'll catch up with things in the evenings.
Of course there are some circumstances that that might have to happen, if there are young children or other family members you have to care for, but where not, it is important to try and keep that structured as best you can.
Plan your work location:
Think about where you're working. Are you sitting in front of the TV on the couch with a laptop on your lap? It's not going to work. It's not going to be very effective.
Get yourself a structured location where your home allows it. Ideally, you want to have somewhere that's got daylight, and somewhere that you can open a window and get some fresh air.
Set Boundaries with Family:
It's also important to make sure you inform family members, and others within the household of your situation. Young children might not understand why mum and dad are at home, but they're not available to play or talk to.
Maybe your partner is used to having more time at home, where they focus on other things when others are not there, but suddenly you're there, and the children, and therefore you need to set those boundaries ensure that people understand.
Spend your breaks with Family when you can:
When you have your determined breaks,these times can be used to interact with other people within the house.
If your family or housemates know that you're available at those times, it might provide more of a structure. Of course, things can happen, there can be mistakes - children can walk in where you're on a call, that's acceptable. You've got to understand that we are in an environment that's not familiar, and we're putting others in an environment that's not familiar.
You want to ensure that you not only communicate regularly with your boss and manager, but also communicate with colleagues that you would be in the office environment as well.
Whether that is specifically talking about work, or taking some time out, just to check how they're doing, and maybe getting an opportunity to sound off a little bit about how you find things are going working from home.
Do not forget to speak up if you feel you're in a situation that's challenging - whether from a technological point of view or from an environmental point of view.
I'm not an expert in this area but having worked from home from my mid twenties, and also been a manager of many people who have worked from home, I think that it is very easy to fall into bad habits, when working from home.
My advice is to try and keep that structure that you had for your working day, and try and make sure that people around you understand that.
Feel free to share this with a friend you know is working from home who could use some of these tips!