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Wellness

Suffering from Covid-19 cabin fever? Fieldworks learns the smoooth way to work from home

Abigail Shiers
Abigail Shiers

We’re in strange, unprecedented times. The vast majority of the UK finds itself housebound and staving off cabin fever after a government order to work from home, if possible, to contain the global coronavirus pandemic.

Apart from key workers, (big round of applause for the NHS) the government says no one should be leaving their home other than to buy food, medicine or to go for a once-daily walk, run or cycle. Who knew “Stay home. Save lives” would be the biggest global marketing message of 2020?

For many of us home working is already part of our weekly routine. But for those who break out into a sweat at the prospect of maximizing productivity while attempting to stay fit and sane at home, there are some great life hacks out there.

Well, we were lucky enough to catch Klarna’s recent webinar, featuring remote working consultant Shauna Moran, on how to keep team spirits up and wellbeing in check while working from home.

Key takeaways from Klarna’s webinar included:

  • If you’re a leader set remote working expectations that make sense for your team and their priorities. Take the time to ensure all team members understand what is expected of them, such as having video cameras on or daily standups.
  • Create healthy boundaries whilst working from home e.g availability, time away from the desk, regular breaks etc.
  • Create agenda-less meetings by leveraging micro-video call syncs to promote social interactions and ‘water-cooler’ moments.
  • Set time to facilitate discussions around remote-working and self-isolation wellbeing. Normalise the discomfort that everyone is feeling now, by having open discussions around how everyone best manages themselves and their work / life balance while working from home. Preventing remote work isolation

Make yourself the priority

The first thing to focus on is yourself. This is essential if you’re going to give to others in your team and support the team around you. We can’t pour from an empty glass. It’s especially important that we look after our own wellbeing in times of uncertainty.

What do you need to prioritise correctly, how can you show up? How should you schedule your time? These are all questions you should be asking yourself.

Maybe you’re at home with the kids, sharing a kitchen table or looking after someone who is unwell. Everyone has challenges and obstacles to overcome and it’s about learning to adapt to your current environment. Suddenly we have shifted to the unknown and everything is behind the same door, work and home life. Being able to adapt is key!

Shauna stressed how important it is to practice self-kindness and think of new ways to help you work.

For example, how can you show up for your team? Do you need to go for a walk, perhaps you need to assign 20 minutes for meditation? What makes you be your best? It is essential to work out what the non-negotiables are and stick to them.

Set healthy boundaries

In order to protect us and our energy it is so important for us to set our own healthy boundaries that work for you and enable you to be the best you can be. Shauna talked about how a lot of people are struggling with this at the moment, over working and answering emails at all times.

With so much noise all the time, what are the healthy boundaries and as a leader how do you educate your team? If you’re exhausted and over working you can’t serve your clients or your team.

Another key takeaway was that although we are communicating digitally, it’s vital to show up with compassion and empathy, if not more so in online environments.

Communication, expectations and boundaries

Make sure you communicate the key priorities to your team and establish expectations. If we don’t communicate, we get very frustrated. Spend some time thinking about what you expect from your team.

Think about whether there are any gaps in communication at the moment and do they need to be addressed? Perhaps on a team level, you say no one answers emails after 5pm and no emails at weekends.

What worked in the office environment and how it will translate to working from home?

If you have daily stand ups with the team, if this works well usually, perhaps you can automate the meeting on google chat or slack. Building interpersonal relationships – one of the most important things we can do right now.

Be transparent and listen

Leaders should be as transparent as possible with challenges and lead by example. Have an open door policy and listen to employees. Remembering what’s happening and not just to do lists as people may have lost their jobs, or have children at home. It’s so important to take time to appreciate the people around you.

Although it can be really difficult with everything that is going on, make sure you’re listening and asking open questions about the bigger topics and discussions.

Company culture

Another interesting area that was covered by Shauna was company culture. What is the glue that keeps everyone together? Going back to those values and appreciating them on the day to day will keep the team strong.

Shauna gave the example of using slack as a channel for promoting kindness within the organisation, encouraging people to share and hashtag when someone helps someone else and does an act of #coronakindness. Maybe it’s time to reflect on company culture to keep spirits high.

Hold each other accountable

It’s important to hold not only yourself but each other accountable? Perhaps it’s messaging each other at 8pm to get offline.

And how can you be strict with yourself? Think about blocking out time and only focussing on one task at a time, again setting boundaries in your own diary and training your mind to focus on the task at hand.

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