The new normal

Global companies, from the UK to the US, Japan to South Korea, have recently rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies amid the spread of the new virus.

Working from home will become the new normal for many. Some employees will be working from home for the first time, and need to figure out how to stay on task.

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The key to working from home is clear communication with your boss. Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually or may not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers.

To prevent a breakdown in communication, you need to know exactly what's expected of you from day-to-day. Ask your boss for a 10-minute video call to start and end the day. Reach out to coworkers and managers regularly so that you won't get forgotten.

  • Don't lounge around in your pajamas. Treat it like a real job.
  • Create a space exclusively for work that is removed from distractions, just like you would at your office desk.
  • Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand when you're 'at work.'
  • Bookend your day. If you can't enter and leave a physical office that creates more precise boundaries, use psychological transitions like a 20-minute coffee in the morning, then exercise right after work.

The abrupt shift from an office to a home environment could leave you struggling to get used to the sudden change.

Try to sustain a semblance of normalcy. Try virtual pizza parties or remote happy hours. Celebrate birthdays, give public praise for goals reached, and projects completed. Make time for casual conversations.

These are stressful times. You may worry about negative headlines or sick loved ones and put off communicating with your colleagues, contributing to feelings of isolation, which may lead to depression.

Solutions to this include as much face-to-face interaction online as possible through video calls, regular manager check-ins, and regular meetings with no agenda, like grabbing coffee or a drink.

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RELATED IDEAS

Longing For The Office Culture
  • Earlier a privilege for a few, work from home became a norm for most office-goers due to the ongoing pandemic and is likely to remain for the rest of the year.
  • The shift towards work from home, which became necessary for most companies, was thought to be blissful in the minds of employees, while the bosses viewed it with suspicion.
  • Employees are slowly finding out that it is lonely sitting in front of the screen at home and are missing the office culture, the sharing of ideas and socializing with fellow employees.

4

IDEAS

Most organizations were at level one prior to the new virus outbreak where nothing deliberate has been done by the company to support remote work.
  • Employees can still offer a good service if they're at home for a day.
  • Employees have access to their phone and email and can even attend a few meetings, but they put off most things until they're back in the office.

You won't have the same cues as you do from your workplace to remind you to get up or get lunch. When you lose the pace of your day, everything can start to blend together.

Treat your exercise, meals and stretch breaks as you would any other meeting. Put it on your calendar, at least to start.

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