For many of us 2020 was the year we started working from home. My year meant switching from a role working full-time in a traditional office environment to a full-time remote working role. Transitioning to working from home meant adopting a few new habits, so I thought I’d reflect on the lessons I’ve learned.
1. Schedule regular chats
Staying connected and chatting regularly definitely helps to boost moral. Schedule regular chats to connect with your team, friends and family and make sure that you are talking to them. Chatting regularly helps to keep momentum up and lifts the spirit. Be someone that your workmates can talk to, sometimes this is going to mean that you need to strike up the conversation first. Ask them about their life, get to know them on a more personal level. Needless to say this isn’t going to be possible for every employee if you’re running a large company, but you can do your best to know as many people as possible. Even the ones that you don’t get to know so well, you can make sure they know they can talk to you if they like. Scheduling regular phone calls will add a level of connection that email simply can’t. You need to stay in touch, chat about life as well as work. This habit helps with moral, generating fresh ideas and boosts motivation.
2. Create your calm workspace
Your working environment can really help when it comes to being productive. Many have faced challenging working situations this year, even if space is very limited you can still create a calm workspace with small daily habits. Introducing the habit of working from a designated space, like a fold out desk can help separate work and home life. Make sure that your office space is good for productivity, office interior design has a lot to do with this, so consider positioning yourself near a window for natural light, keeping your desk clear of clutter, diffuse a calming fragrance in the room and open the window regularly to let in some fresh air. Luckily I’ve been able to designate our spare room to function as a home office, which has helped to separate work/ life, I usually diffuse a lavender oil and habitually clear my desk to help create a sense of calm.
3. Becoming a better listener
We’ve all been on those zoom calls, when there’s an awkward delay. Sometimes it can be really hard to talk over video calls, although the delays and dropping connection can be a great teacher, making us listen a little more consciously. You need to be patient and listen to everything that is being said before you respond. The thing that you’ve got to remember here is that you are not listening to respond, you are listening to understand and to be understanding. If your team or friends are coming to you and talking, have the courtesy to make them feel heard. Ensure that they know you are listening to what they say, and you’re not just jumping to your own conclusions on the matter. This will make them feel more comfortable talking to you in the future. Those glitchy zoom calls can be a great opportunity to learn patience and to practice listening, consciously.
On reflection, I’m happy to be working remotely, this set up suits my introvert tendencies, it’s calm, quiet and allows me to be more productive with fewer distractions. It’s the little joys that I have learned to appreciate, like heating my lunch up in an actual oven, walking outside on my break, being warm and comfortable. Sure, it can be challenging at times, like when there’s building work going on (we’re slow renovators) or when Pickle decides to join work zoom calls(!) Challenges aside, working remotely has been a happy and welcome outcome of my 2020.
Back in August, I questioned wether everyone working from home was actually impacting climate change, sharing the many environmental lessons to be taken from this shift in working patterns. I wonder if more of us will be remote working in the future?
“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk. Use your natural powers — of persistence, concentration, and insight — to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems. make art, think deeply.”– Susan Cain