This post was written by Tania Romano, one of our team absolutely flourishing in WFH life.
TOPIC: Working From Home INTERVIEWEE: TANIA
1) Firstly, what did you like and dislike about WFH?
- Flexibility: Working from home allows some flexibility in the way you structure your day and work hours, so if something comes up like an appointment or a certain circumstance, you can attend to it as you’re there, and still continue with your work later on in the day.
- No travel time: Cutting out travel time has saved me a lot of extra time in my day, allowing me to get more sleep and make more time for things like exercise, helping me feel more energised and rested. It has also helped save money on public transport.
- Less distractions: Being in a quiet environment on my own has helped me focus.
- Not seeing work colleagues: the main thing I miss working from home is seeing everyone, including our chats and jokes all day.
- Ideas: Sometimes in the office you need a quick idea or inspiration from someone, which can be tricky from home.
2) In what areas of work did you find yourself excelling when WFH? Were there some hurdles too?
I feel like I’ve excelled in a lot of my individual work, so for example writing media releases, or creating social media content, as being on your own at home allows you to focus more and get work done. Having more quiet time has also allowed me to think more thoroughly and creatively. Hurdles of working from home would be communication. It’s not as easy to just ask a colleague what they think about something, or to have a discussion, especially when you don’t know if they’re at their desk, or may not be working on a certain day.
3) How should check-ins happen? As a group? In one-on-ones? Via phone calls? Or video chats?
I think it’s good to have a mix of the above, depending on the situation. It’s great we’ve been able to use video chats as I think it helps you feel more connected with your team when you can actually see them. I think video calls are good for group situations, but phone calls are good enough for one-on-one catch-ups. We’ve been doing a main group check-in every morning which I think is a great way to ensure everyone is present and ready to go with the day, and one-on-one check-ins when needed are useful.
4) How would you suggest a business maintain a positive work culture when WFH?
I think it’s important to keep up communication as best as possible to maintain a positive work culture, whether this is via video calls, phone calls or emails. As I’ve mentioned, having a full team morning check-in is a great way to start the day, getting everyone together and checking in on how everyone is. This can also be a great chance to address any issues or anything people might need from one another from the start of the day.
I also think it’s great to try and maintain the Friday night drinks culture (virtually) and have a chance for everyone to chat and have a laugh. We have a weekly wrap meeting on a Friday night which involves a video call with the whole team, wearing something ridiculous to suit our weekly theme, along with a drink in-hand. It’s a good time to again check-in with everyone to see how they’ve been through the week, and to try and bring back some normality and cheer.
5) How can a business prepare themselves for a sudden transition to working from home?
I don’t think anyone could have ever thought something like this would happen, so it’s important as a business to look back and learn from it. I think one of the most important things is communication. Think up a plan to ensure everyone will be across what they have to do at home, and can communicate with one another if they need to. So for example, if your business doesn’t have a team video-chat platform, downloading something like Zoom and ensuring everyone can use it would be useful.
Then it’s important to ensure everyone can physically do their work at home, that they have access to tools, work files and equipment to get the job done. We’re lucky as our transition was quite easy in this regard. However, if it isn’t like that for your business, I think it’s important to recognise what’s happening and act quickly. So this could mean getting equipment for your employees or giving them time to get themselves set up at home, and also taking time to work out a system that will allow workers to access required files. So this could mean your employees may have to work in the office for a little longer at the start than others, delaying the transition, but allows them to do this for as long as necessary.
6) And finally, for those who did not work from home during COVID-19 and aren’t accustomed to it, what tips would you give to help them prepare?
– Create a space for yourself that you find comfortable to work from as you’ll be spending a lot of time there.
– Listen to music to boost your mood and keep you company as it can be pretty quiet on your own (as long as it’s not distracting).
– Keep up your communication with your colleagues, especially if you’re struggling as no one can really know when you’re on your own at home.
– I’ve found putting on make-up and a nice outfit like I would usually for work helps brighten my mood, feel more normal and productive.