For many of us the concept of working from home is new. And potentially horrifying. At Creative Coaching we have been giving thought to the loneliness and potential sense of isolation that may come in being prevented from going to our usual places of work as the lockdowns become tighter and tighter in the face of the spread of Covid-19.
There is a sense of connectedness and camaraderie in being in our workplaces and we wanted to share some tips and viewpoints from a business that has operated virtually with all our associates and support team being remote since our inception in 2005. Hopefully these ideas will help those of you who may, are or will be facing home working for extended periods of time if it is a new experience for you.
This is how we do it…
1) Get up and ready for your day
Most of us get up, perhaps take some exercise, shower and get dressed for a day of work, even if it’s at home. Somehow, this sets the psyche for the day ahead differently than if we decided to stay in our PJs. Staying as close to your normal routine is really important.
2) Have a daily plan
What are you setting out to achieve today? Like a usual day in the office — what meetings do you have and what needs to be done in between them…? Careful planning of your day helps it go smoothly and allows you to remain involved in what’s happening with your colleagues.
3) Stay Connected
Be deliberate about arranging regular times to connect with your colleagues. Perhaps arrange daily check ins via Skype/Teams/Zoom (for example) — ask how others are, check on project and programme progress, offer support — perhaps even have extended project development calls. Use video — to feel even better connected. Human contact is necessary so create space for as much as possible.
4) Meetings as usual
Plan for business as usual as much as possible. It’s easy to think that meetings can wait until you are face to face. Actually, they can’t and won’t so make sure you fix meetings as you would if you were in your place of work.
5) Email less — Phone more
Email is always faceless and one potential positive to come from working more from home is the opportunity to speak to our colleagues more. Rather than pinging off an email — pick up the phone instead. It creates deeper connections and potentially will get problems solved more expediently!
6) Take breaks
Go for walks in open spaces (assuming we’re allowed to). Eat lunch away from your computer and phone. Be more mindful in the time you allow for yourself. Concentrate on your breathing and relax — look outside your windows — watch the birds, or the clouds, or the changing of the weather … making sure to change the rhythm of your day in your break.
7) Problem solve together
Even though you may feel alone, you are not. You still have the power of all your colleagues at your back. Take time to share the challenges you are facing with your work and projects. Arrange times to connect to share thinking and be creative together. Think of different ways you can engender innovation while being remotely located from one another. Share mood boards, scratched out drawings on your iPads, text photos from books that inspire you — there are many different ways to create solutions even though you are not gathered in the same space.
8) Plan a stop time for your day
It is not usual to finish our work — so it is important to be disciplined to call a halt to your day so that you have time to relax in your evenings. This is a real discipline and essential so that your time does not blur with your work in your home. This is especially important if you don’t have an office set up and you are working in your kitchen for example. Finishing work and packing it away gives you back your home.
We hope these ideas are helpful. You will doubtless have more. Please share them with us and we will share them with all our readers — in these extraordinary times — let’s be conscious of supporting our community!
Tania Watson is the founder of Creative Coaching and an executive coach, organisational consultant and leadership specialist. Creative Coaching is a successful company dedicated to the development of senior leaders in organisations through one to one coaching, intact team development and group facilitation. If you or someone from your organisation would like to have a no obligation conversation about how Creative Coaching may be able to help, please email Tania directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.