I have been mostly working from home since late early 2017 since our first child was born, very prematurely. Due to the help and support that my wife needed at home and with frequent hospital visits, I decided to convert a small area of our home into a full-fledged executive search office desk not realizing that 3 years later this experience would be much needed. I worked from home for 2 years and so I absolutely understand what it takes to have to work from home. I had to do it out of necessity while now we have to do it because of social distancing and COVID-19 protocols. The outcome of my home-based recruitment work was that Genesis Executive Search grew slowly and steadily gaining clients, building relations, and increasing our revenue streams with the help of a small yet resourceful team. Believe me, there is a way to work from home successfully.
Pre Corona Virus many companies had begun to incorporate “work from home” for a few employees to keep operational costs lower. So what is the difference now?
Well, many companies and institutions have implemented work-from-home infrastructure at speed without much warning or preparation and with the addition of a quarantined situation. As a result, the reality of working is now the norm. I wanted to provide you with some tips to help you succeed whilst working from home;
1) Act As If You Are Going Into The Office
Working from home once in a while is a luxury and most people were excited by the prospect, however here we are presented with the reality of working from home being imposed upon us as a full-time obligation.
You may not need to break your usual routine. But it is important to get up, get ready for work, and set up a space that you can work from comfortably and hopefully ergonomically. That means, your bed or your sofa is not your work desk. You would need to get a proper work desk, an ergonomic chair, and the necessary infrastructure to get you going. Remember you save at least an hour to two in travel time, the cost in car maintenance and fuel paid parking in the office, etc. You can get a lot more work done or be able to use this as home distraction time if at all.
2) Dress the Part and Plan Your Day
Dressing the part, helps you get into the role. I learned that in drama classes. Dress for office (you need not have a tie and blazer or suit but at least a semi-formal or smart casual attire) to get into the responsibilities that you need to be accomplished. You would not want to have a video call with a client dressed in shorts or with a very casual background. Clients will understand but they will be impressed when they see you in a home-based office.
Structure your day, You are now your own manager and therefore you have to manage your productivity (and potentially those in your team if you have to manage others).
At the end of each day, write your to-do list and goals for the next day so that you have clarity/ focus and you do not have to waste time in the morning.
Segment what you will do and when you will do it over the course of the day; provide yourself with breaks so that you are able to keep focused and avoid burnout.
Without office-based distractions, you may actually be more productive!
3) Think Like An Entrepreneur
As the Corona Virus pandemic affects the global economy and worst our household income, it is on each of us to decide how we add value to our organizations and teams.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The company will watch how you think out of the box to make things happen while those who take it easy in a comfortable work home base, will risk being “on board the titanic” situation. You and your team will make sure the business survives.
Have an entrepreneurial mindset as if it is your own business. What would you do to help, how could you add value - if your job was on the line how would you approach each problem?
4) Stay In Contact
Working remotely does not have to mean working in isolation. Team and client meetings can be held on Zoom / Microsoft Team, Google Meet, Webex, etc. You now have more time to get work done from one place.
I would have said that changes to your environment are important. Meeting a client at their office, or working from a local coffee shop or hot-desking office but if we are in lockdown that might not be allowed.
So, why not keep the team spirit going by scheduling calls and meetings as normal, checking in your colleagues to see if they are coping OK or if they need your assistance. Go on that online course that you have been pushing back but that would make you stronger or add to your value when things are back to normal.
You might even find that you are able to increase your productivity at home and have more meetings without office distractions. I am into my second month of digital marketing and yes, I am absolutely enjoying learning SEO, Content Marketing, Link building, etc., and looking at ways I can implement it in my work area. So do visit us on www.genesis-executivesearch.com or like us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
5) Accept Distractions
You are at home so there will be a flood of distractions that you are faced with :
· The Doorbell / Deliveries
· The TV
· Social Media
· The Spouse
Some of these distractions can be prevented while others cannot. Do not allow distractions to gobble up your whole working day. I spent a lot of time with our babies, nights were sleepless and tiring and I still managed an 8-hour workday 6 days a week and I enjoyed the time with my babies. I had a schedule and ensured I got to spend time with them and give my work a break – 3 times a day. At two and three years old I could hear my toddlers say to each other “dada is in the office…sssh” (I work from a bedroom converted part office).
While TV time is completely eliminated, I use it as an exclusive spouse time from 09:15 PM to 10:30 PM daily.
The final point on this;
6) Get Some Exercise
I have always found the best time to pray and exercise is early in the mornings. A quick set of stretching exercises, some sit-ups and push-ups...and fresh air. If you have the opportunity to walk or cycle or even a quick run in the parking area, jogging track, etc., and establish it into your daily routine, it would be great. Even a quick-paced walk around the block will add value.
If you are working from home and struggling with the feeling of isolation, remember to reach out to others. I am sure they are feeling the same!