I know this may not be a popular opinion and I’m also acutely aware that I’m part of the problem! I mean, just before lockdown I was writing ‘Three top tips when working from home’. Well – you’re hearing it here first – I’m throwing the rulebook out of the window.
Where has this change of heart come from? Working from home post-lockdown is very different from the pre-lockdown experience. Writing tips on working from home used to be about how to make sure your presence was felt remotely when the rest of the workforce was in the same physical space.
It was assumed that the individual who was working from home was at a disadvantage, and required advice on how to level the playing field.
Mandatory working from home for most office-based staff has removed presence-based barriers.
There are some huge advantages to this, such as the democratisation of the voices of all meeting attendees. Everyone has the same-sized tile in a Zoom call. It’s easy to see who’s in the meeting, and who’s keeping quiet when you want to get their opinion. And if the sound is bad, it’s bad for everyone and can’t be ignored. Happy days.
So what’s the problem? Well, my fear is that people will try to maintain their pre-lockdown once-a-week working from home routine, and apply it to the current situation.
If you’ve read my old article on top tips for working from home, I’m now asking you to erase it from your memory. Don’t worry, though… I’m not going to leave you tipless.
So without further ado, here are some amendments I have for the WFH rulebook:
Use video calls sporadically
This is a big change, and I make no apologies for that. As mentioned, video calls were instrumental in levelling the playing field. But it’s level now. To avoid ‘Zoom fatigue’, I like to take quite long walks on back-to-back calls. Sometimes I’m able to time it with Xanthe’s nap time, too.
Leave your dedicated space
If you’re lucky enough to have a home office (possibly a purpose-built one at the end of your garden), shutting your door is great for that deep thinking.
Our lives and our work are more integrated than ever. Where you can, embrace that integration. It will help you feel less failure-prone in both areas.
Book non-work meetings in your diary
This isn’t a remnant from the last article – it just never made the cut. It’s easier than ever to find yourself in meetings all day, especially since those serendipitous encounters by the coffee machine have now ended.
Whether it’s lunch with the kids, scheduling a workout, or even playing some video games or reading a book: do it. You’ll come back so much more refreshed to the task at hand.
So there we have it. How have you found the shift to Covid-era working from home? I’d love you to add your own tips and comments.