Rewriting the WFH rulebook

dad and son sat working side by side on computers

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little bit of ‘tip fatigue’

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.

That’s no longer the case; there’s now no disadvantage to be seen

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.

How do I know this? Because I did just that. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.

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.

I work, exercise, and enjoy father-daughter time. What’s not to like?

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.

But don’t leave it shut for too long.

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.

You need to break up your day – and you’ll benefit from it.

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.


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2 Thoughts to “Rewriting the WFH rulebook”

  1. Guleid

    Hi,
    I feel like we may share similar experiences working from home because the business that I used to work for which was British gas. when lockdown was imposed all employee myself included were deployed home to work but because I was an agency employee I was not given the technological recourses such as work laptop and a work phone, therefore I had to use my personal laptop and my own phone to work, the kind of job which was taking calls as a customer care professional. On a daily bases took a number of calls per day as well as being monitored for key performance indicator, which was challenging because not having the support face-to-face with colleagues was unordinary. However, British gas do not use Zoom calls instead they were using Microsoft team therefore I only got to see my manager and a few other colleagues that would pop up, when ever they want to say something for a question which would have either been asked specifically by the line manager or by other colleagues, but using team was new to me. Also, when I used to have challenging queries from business customers, I would have to refer to a “WFH” support group that would generally answer question that I raised, but would take a while for the “resolver” a specialist customer care professional to response to my question on the customer query, which was frustrating because my line manger would in turn put extra pressure on me to perform on call handling time, which was rightful indeed by the manner in which she would express herself was viscous by demand, without taking into account my personal state of mind while speak to a business customer at the same, dealing with her and majority of the time an angry and annoyed customer. WFH for British Gas was an unordinary and malicious experience dealing with a consumer that were illtreated previously by multiple call centre agency but instead beside that I would be their punching bag for them to express their frustration built by experience agent that I feel did not do their job right the first time the consumer contacted British Gas, but my kind words and resilience competently was not enough. Anyway Dan this was my experience with British gas which was not a nice one. Best, Guleid

    1. That doesn’t sound like a great experience. I hope you’re in an environment which is better suited for you now!

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