Working from home has become the new normal for many Australians, including the Walker Hill team, as a result of social distancing measures brought on by Coronavirus or COVID-19. While many are enjoying the increased flexibility and lack of commute, getting the balance right to maintain productivity, while battling the challenges that come with working from home, such as feelings of isolation, can be a challenge for employees and business owners. As there is no set end-date for this isolation period, we have put together our three tips to successfully work from home. These tips have been tested by the Walker Hill team and are some of the measure that we are taking as a firm to continue to make it count during COVID-19.
This may seem like an obvious tip, but the temptation to relax into a sloppy routine can be strong when you no longer have your work colleagues in the office keeping you accountable. To combat this, simply create and maintain a new work routine. It may be a slight variation on what your in-office work routine looked like or it may be completely new, but the main point here is to keep it consistent to get yourself in the right headspace to work.
This may include having a coffee while checking your work emails, taking advantage of your work calendar to time-block big tasks or keeping to your usual in-office routine, such as getting up at a certain time, doing some exercise, getting dressed and heading to your work station. Also, scheduling in certain times to start, have lunch and finish will help you to get structure to your workday overall, if these times are not already defined by the business. Furthermore, if you are used to an open plan office, you may find it easier to concentrate with music in the background if your new office space is quite solitary to help create that in-office feel.
The last thing you want when working from home is for people to feel isolated, especially during a pandemic where interactions have been limited so drastically. Help to prevent this by building, maintaining and encouraging the use of a virtual workplace network. Depending on the size of your team and the capabilities you require, you may find Microsoft Teams a great tool to do this through with creating team and one-on-one chats and video conferencing perfect for team huddles and meetings. For larger organisations or meetings, Zoom is a great option for video meetings and webinars. Also, keep communication higher than usual and set up regular touch points with your team. Try to use face chats rather than phone calls where appropriate to help maintain connection, motivation and keep the workplace community strong.
If you are working from home, you will need to ensure that you have access to the tools you need to continue to work. Depending on the business, this could be as simple as a steady internet connection, a mobile phone with signal that you can switch to private when making business calls and access to the tools that you need to continue to perform your role, such as emails and business programs and tools. Aside from having the physical tools that you need, it may be worthwhile creating a work station to spend your working hours at to help separate in work and outside of work hours.
As a business owner, you may also want to check your insurance for the work equipment that your team is using to work from home with to ensure there are no gaps in your insurance coverage for work-related items.
If you are continuing with business as usual during this COVID-19 period, then working from home may be an option that you have opted for. It is also a great time to block in some time to work on your business, especially if working in it has been restricted. One way to do this is with our Business Continuation Pack which has helpful tools, tips and checklists to help you continue to help make it count throughout this period.