I’d imagine that the majority of workers who hadn’t worked from home (WFH) before were probably quite pleased to get the memo from their boss telling them that the office is closing, and they would have to take the laptop home.
I mean, who wouldn’t relish the thought of no longer sitting in traffic during the dreaded daily commute or standing in the rain waiting for a bus that was running late? You could even spend an extra 30 minutes in bed and when you do get up you don’t have to don your best office attire, staying in your pyjamas instead– or loungewear as they’re called these days.
After all, it’s your home and you decide on the dress code. But don’t forget to dress appropriately for any zoom conference calls because it could be highly embarrassing if your colleagues found out about your tartan onesie.
The coronavirus crisis means that unless you live alone there may be more than one person in your household working from home and if you have children there will be even more demand for space, attention and the all-important access to the internet.
Strategy and tactics
This lockdown could well last a lot longer than we are initially being led to believe so everyone working together harmoniously is the strategic objective and I will break this down into tactical goals to help you achieve the desired outcome.
Create an office
Firstly, you will need to decide where at home your new workspace will be. This is important because as difficult as this may sound you will need to separate your work from your family life.
Great if you have your own office, otherwise you need to commandeer a room and transform it into your office and don’t relinquish it to your partner or the children at any time during the working day. OK, all jokes aside, in the current climate you are going to have to be flexible and respectful of your partners working needs and your children’s home schooling.
Although, do assert some authority over your colleagues, I mean family, otherwise you could find yourself being demoted and end up working from a cupboard where the Wi-Fi is patchy at best.
Structure your day
Secondly, you should try and structure your day as you would when you weren’t WFH. Stick to the same hours when possible but if space is at a premium then you will have to put together a timetable detailing who can use the room and when – remember the bigger picture is for family harmony.
Take a break
Thirdly, make sure you take breaks. Have a coffee mid-morning, lunch with your family and an afternoon cuppa too. Also, stretch those muscles to avoid any back ache. All of this will make you more productive than sitting at a desk for eight hours straight.
Fourthly, discipline is key. With so many temptations when WFH you need to have self-control. Otherwise you won’t get your work done, you’ll end up wasting time and with the proximity of the fridge, or more specifically its contents, financial worries may not be the only pounds you’ll be worrying about.
Next, flexibility is key. This doesn’t just apply to family life but also to the business you work for. It is easy when WFH to work longer into the evening or even answer a few emails on the weekend and I think this is perfectly acceptable considering the current crisis. It works both ways, there will be family distractions whilst you are working and work interruptions when you are with your family – just accept it.
Last and by no means least, set aside time to relax together as a family. Due to the lockdown you will be restricted in what you can do but make the most of your garden or play games together or watch a film – just have FUN!
Maybe, once the novelty has worn off and after a few weeks of WFH you will realise that it wasn’t as appealing as you first thought. Instead, you long to return to the dreaded daily commute, but this time you and your fellow commuters are all smiling as they escape their homes and return to the normality of work.
For further advice about WFH please visit: https://www.businessbutlerbristol.com/