Working remotely has bought with it many challenges as well as opportunities; increased productivity, financial savings, an improved work-life balance etc. However, isolation is a growing concern with some employees feeling a disconnect from their team or the rest of the business, so how do we maintain a positive culture whilst working remotely?
We caught up with Liese Lord, founder of The Lightbulb Tree, to discuss how, we, as employees and employers can remain positive whilst working from home. Liese works with organisations to create flexible working cultures which help both businesses and individuals thrive.
1. Your Home Setup
Your productivity and efficiency are dependent on several elements, similar to that of your workspace in the office. The wrong kind of workspace setup could have serious consequences for your wellbeing in the long run. It could result in eye strain, cause headaches, backache, neck pain or even carpal tunnel syndrome due to the repetitive nature of work.
For a safe and comfortable working environment at home (and the office) which maximises productivity, the HSE workstation and display equipment guidelines should be followed. Check out our selection of ergonomically designed products here which have been designed to suit any home working environment.
2. Schedule Social Calls
It’s important to keep the social element alive whilst working from home. Arrange weekly team catch-ups and be proactive in arranging coffee breaks. Reaching out to that colleague and scheduling five minutes of downtime might just be what they need. Maintain impromptu conversations either via messaging or phone as well.
3. Positive Vibes
In these tough times, the light at the end of the tunnel is what we’re all looking for. Remember to keep sharing the positives with your team no matter how small it is. Ask your team to share a positive each time you chat.
4. Your Values
Early on in lockdown we reinforced our company values to remind everyone who we were and what we stood for. In very uncertain times this proved to be a positive message across the board and provided us with a sense of safety and belonging within the team.
5. Checking In NOT Checking Up
Implement a culture where you check in on your staff. This could be a quick 10-minute call at the start of the day to see how they are, how their evening was and if there’s anything else they would like to discuss. As an employee we sometimes feel a sense of dread when we see our bosses name pop up on screen and end up thinking ‘what have I forgot to do now?!’ – by checking in and creating a continuous conversation culture we can alleviate this anxiety.
6. New Additions
Onboarding during lockdown can seem terrifying. As a newbie to the business, it’s hard to gauge cultures, behaviours and attitudes. As an employer it’s important to keep them involved in all team activities; from daily calls to company-wide emails. Check-in with them to see how they’re doing and how, as a business, you can support them further and consider a team buddy system to help build relationships.
7. Consistent Communication
Keep your communication channels clear and open as this will enhance your approachability and allow for honest feedback which in turn helps to improve the efficiency and wellbeing of your organisation.
8. Your Mind Matters
We have all experienced significant change over the last six months. As we look to return to the office we will experience another change which can bring feelings of anxiety and often in unexpected ways. For six months we have been used to another way of working; different time pressures and environments, improved finances and most importantly knowing everyone is safe. Heading back into the office is either bound to unsettle this lifestyle or, for some people, be a light relief to remote working. Keep checking in to see how your staff are feeling and getting on, how are they adapting to being back in the office, how have the kids adapted to going back to school etc.
9. What You Do Matters
Feeling valued is one of the best feelings to experience when you’re at work. A simple thank you from your colleagues or senior management team can go a long way in feeling appreciated especially during busy periods where everyone is under pressure.
10. Trust Your Team
Having confidence in your team and trusting them is key to any successful relationship. Regular catchups through the week help aid this where you check in with your team, review yesterday and outline the plan for the day ahead. It helps provide structure and focus but also allows you to catch any issues much earlier.
11. And finally, remember to switch off
Being productive whilst working remotely has been one of the biggest positives for many organisations but remember to switch off. It’s so easy to get carried away and continue working for an extra hour because you no longer have a commute however you still need to maintain that separation between work and life. If you’re in a designated office space at home this can be easy to do, however, if your kitchen or living room is now your office it can prove to be trickier. Pack your laptop away at the end of each day and place it out of sight. That saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ speaks volumes here. This is only a small thing but you’re one step closer to claiming your personal space back.
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