The way we have been working for some time now, has been changing. The biggest car, hotel and publishing companies own no cars (Uber), own no hotels (Airbnb) and do not publish their own content (Facebook). In the face of a global pandemic, the workforce has been forced to progress perhaps five years, in a few short months. Working from home has become the new normal for many.
Some of the positives of remote working:
- Less commuting
- Flexible working
- Increase in empathy/inclusive workforce
- Decrease in bureaucracy
Some of the challenges of remote working:
- Concerns about innovation and creativity
- Burnout / e-presenteeism
- Difficulties with managing/leading remotely
The commonality with all the difficulties is around relationships and people. Here are four ideas to look at addressing these concerns in the remote working world.
1. Organisation and Structure
- A structure to our day can be helpful, making sure we eat at typical times, stretch our legs when we can, etc. Getting up, getting showered and dressed helps some people transition into the working day.
- The commute was a helpful tool for decompressing before coming home. Now the commute to home-life is seconds for many. Getting out for a walk before or after work can help with transitioning between home life and work life.
- Having a dedicated space with good lighting and sufficient space and organization. It can help us keep focused on one task at a time.
2. Controlling Your Technology
- These days many of us have a tendency to be on our phone a lot more with updates and news. Our attention is constantly divided. Children get a bad reputation for being glued to technology, we need to make sure we are aware of our own consumption levels. It it is something you are concerned about, you might consider taking steps to mitigate your exposure, for example taking phones out of the bedroom.
- If you find it helpful, you can consider deleting apps or turning off notifications for certain apps. It means you can check them at a designated time when you choose, rather than being constantly reminded to come back to your phone.
- Video streaming platforms encourage you to remain active, rolling on from episode to episode, these are settings you can turn off, if you wish. The CEO of Netflix has stated “Netflix’s biggest competitor is sleep”.
3. Fostering Relationships
- Humans are social beings, we need connection. While Zoom may be tricky and talking on the phone isn’t the same, making connections can be really helpful for managing our own wellbeing. One idea is to reach out and help another person in some way, to help bring about meaningful connection.
4. Managing Your Workplace
- Anyone who is back in work, or will soon be returning to their work environment, prepare yourself for things being different to how they were before. One way systems, lines on the floor, people in masks; it is not the same work place you left. When it is safe to return to work, where possible, try to ease yourself back in slowly to acclimatize yourself with the new set up.
- If you find your employer is not as trusting of your remote working, see if there is any capacity for you to lead by example and show trust in them and colleagues to foster better working relations.
- Make sure you are getting sufficient support from your manager and your employer. The goal posts for many will have moved, potentially many times, keep the lines of communication open and talking to your employer regularly about how you are finding everything may be helpful.
Remember while technology has brought us a long way from where we once were as humans, it cannot replace everything. We need to take helpful steps that encourage us to focus on ourselves and how we cope in an ever-evolving environment.
This post is some highlights from Peter Cosgrove’s segment on Aware’s webinar “The Wellness Session: Living Well for Body & Mind”, his segment was titled “From the boardroom to the kitchen table, surviving the evolution of the workplace”. You can watch it back and hear the full version, including response to questions, by clicking here.
Peter is Managing Director of Futurewise, a future of work insights company and he is an expert on the world of work. He has also published two books aimed at taking families off their digital devices.