How to rule home office

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Sticking in home office can have advantages as well as disadvantages. While we have employees working remotely on a regular basis, for the majority of our riskbusters, working just from home is a new challenge. Currently it is a mandatory action taking place during the Coronavirus crisis, so we have no other option now.

And while this can mean having meetings in your PJs and listening to loud music while working for some, for others it means struggling work and taking care of their families at home at the same time and in a proper way. For everyone it means depending solely on your personal workflow, determining your daily schedule in absence from your colleagues and not having the office atmosphere to motivate you. So, how can you handle home office the best way? We have some tips for you:

1. Stick to your routine

It is mandatory that you stick to the routine that you usually have when going to the office. Take your breakfast at the usual time, don`t read work-emails while eating your lunch and make sure to leave your computer after work for the day is done. Take care that your workday time schedule is not varying too much from your home office work schedule.

Sticking to the routine guarantees that you still take that shower in the morning to wake up, take care of your health by taking proper breaks and really end the workday when the work for the day is done.

2. Put on normal clothes

This might sound silly in the first place but doing your work in your night clothes simply adds a different attitude than working while wearing normal clothes. Of course, it is easy to just jump out of bed and sit right at your desk, but when putting on proper clothing you get into the work-spirit easier and therefore can be more productive, since your whole attitude is different. That does not mean that you should squeeze yourself into some uncomfortable business clothes if not necessary, just wear something else than your night gown. You will feel fresher and more focused and work will just be done easier.

3. Stay connected

Staying connected to your colleagues is crucial. It doesn’t matter if they are on the same team or just in the same company, it is important to stay connected with the people that currently experience the same as you do. And when you do, take time to chat about the good things happening in your life at the moment. Tell them about the flowers you got or the funny story you heard from your neighbors. Talk about the project you are proud of and the task you have accomplished. Whatever you want to talk about, do it. Just stay connected. Chances are, your colleagues are missing the social contact as much as you do, so make the first step and give them a call, catch up and then go back to work. It will give you energy, make you feel understood and enhance your motivation.

4. Have that one fixed place in your apartment that you use for working

Working on the couch in the morning, at the desk in the afternoon and finish the last emails of the day in bed sounds comfortable – and it may be so. But it is not good for the brain. It does not do your brain and therefore also mental health any good if you work from all different places in your apartment. Chances are that you will soon just think about work and unfulfilled tasks that you still need to take care of, wherever you go in your flat. Which can be demotivating, because it can give you the constant impression of work not being done, even when you were supposed to end your work day hours ago.

Having one fixed spot in your apartment not only adds structure to your day but also to your brain. It helps you focus even more when you are sitting at this certain spot and at the same time and it helps you get your mind off from work, whenever you are not sitting at the specific working spot.

5. Make screen pauses

Home office makes it so easy to answer that one email while lunch is cooking, finish that project up while the washing machine is almost done and take that one call while walking the dog. You will mix your private life with your work time, which will eventually lead to an unhealthy work-life-balance during your home office time. That is something you do not want to happen, because home office should not differ from office-life regarding working time. Your normal work-life-balance should not shatter while being in home office.
 

6. Don’t forget your team

Without being able to see your team mates daily, don’t forget about them. When being in the office, you get to talk to your team members whenever possible. But being disconnected in home offices can lead you to skip this or that question and shy away from just asking how they are, because you don’t want to bother them. But think further. A lot of people are alone in their home office time and they would love for you to check in on them, as you would do if you saw them on the hallway on a regular office day. Maybe you can not have that regular morning chat at the coffee machine anymore, but just move that to the digital place, give them a call, share a coffee and then start your day. It will add to your routine, make you and your colleague feel valued and connected and empower you to move on with newly won motivation.

Besides of calling specific colleagues, try to have team calls and give each other a short intro in the beginning of each day, update about what you have been working on yesterday and what will be on the agenda for the day. You will get profound insights on your colleagues’ work, you can chat about how the past day was, ask questions, collect energy, re-connect with your team and start your work, feeling valued, heard and motivated. What more can you ask for?
 

7. Keep up with your normal events

Being in home office gives you the option to reconnect virtually, not only within your team but also with the rest of the company. Even with colleagues being at the other end of the globe! You can have lunches with colleagues in different offices or share a coffee break. While you would have an afternoon beer on a Friday in the office, you can do that virtually now! And who wouldn`t love a happy hour, even if just virtually, it is still a great thing to do for team bonding!

Further think outside the box and try doing sports together. You used to do yoga together every once in a while? Why not keep up with this!

It doesn’t matter if eating together virtually, meeting in teams together virtually or doing sports together remotely: together is always better! 

By Julia Forbes, Specialist Talent Management & Employer Branding

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