Here’s something we never thought will become such a crucial part of our lives in 2020: adjusting to working from home. Full-time. All of us.
Unexpected changes are always hard to handle, especially when they’re global (and have fatal consequences). The uncertainty is the only solid thing in our lives (aside for making banana bread), and we have no idea when this catastrophe will come to an end. But don’t you dare to despair!
Because when you do, that’s when the trouble starts. We need to stay positive, both for our own mental health and to keep the peace with those around us. We’ve laid out some used-to-be-unspoken WFH rules that will make you into a WFH champion.
Establish communication channels
Let’s not embrace the chaos. Instead, to stay in touch with your collaborators and stakeholders, ask them when and how they want to be reached.
Do your best to limit communication to email and Slack/chat platforms, instead of succumbing to the urge to call and Whatsapp. While working from home, we’re all vulnerable to the tendency to work 24/7. Help your teammates—and, by proxy, yourself—keep work to work devices and hours by being careful with your communication.
Pro tip: Set up a 1:1 with everyone you work with to talk about how you can communicate better during this time.
Respect work hours
If you’ve been in your pajamas for the last seven days straight, that doesn’t mean time has stopped for everyone else. Also, take a shower.
The days have started blending into each other, so set a reminder in your phone: Weekends and holidays are off-limits. It’s hard to tell sometimes, we know. But try to look at the clock every once in a while.
Pro tip: if it’s before 9 A.M. or after 7 P.M. it can wait.
Be considerate when booking meetings
Rule #1 of scheduling remote meetings: don’t schedule over existing commitments. Don’t put anyone in the position of needing to cancel on you (or someone else), especially if you’re their manager.
Rule #2: Avoid back-to-backs. Give your people time to breathe (and take bio breaks). If someone’s schedule is packed and there’s only a half-hour window open, ask before booking. Please.
Encourage your teammates to block off time for themselves, for lunch or fresh air breaks during the day. Once that break slot is on your calendar, make it sacred: treat it like a meeting, and don’t let anyone book over it.
Recommended For Further Reading
Leave no room for confusion
Coworking on video calls is “clunkier” than its IRL counterpart; between internet blips and the dog barking, it’s hard to get good creative work done. Instead of relying on these chats, start working on project briefs. It’s your responsibility, and right, to ask for as many details as needed so you can take project management to the extreme. After all, you are the WFH master!
So while you are managing to manifest this not-quite-ancient art of working from home, just make sure to not get too used to it. After all, this too shall pass. Hopefully sooner than later.