Working From Home: Well-Being & Trust

So, working from home?

Our collective health depends on this ‘new normal’ and for those that are able, working from home is now our reality.

However, we would be mistaken in thinking this new reality will be easy. It won’t be.

In order for working from home to be a success in these times, we will need to make some adjustments.

And I am not talking about the need for new digital platforms to connect us.

Working from home in a Coronavirus world is very different to any flexible working scenarios we might have ever imagined.

Tip: For wellbeing and trust, goals need to be reset

Companies who previously embraced presentee-ism and bricks and mortar workspaces now face two big challenges.

1) Wellbeing

2) Trust

Let’s talk about wellbeing first.

In the UK, schools are closing from today for many.

Parents, like me, will find themselves multitasking: entertaining and schooling the kids, trying to stay focused on work and keeping the household running.

If we don’t consider how we are going to do this, we will put pressure on our mental health.

Tip: Compartmentalise your day to relieve guilt

It’s so important that you slice up your day so you can be present.

One of the biggest challenges in working from home is always thinking you should be doing something else.

  • How much time should I spend with the kids?
  • What if I miss a work call?
  • How do I exercise and stay healthy?
  • How can I support others around me?

By slicing up your day — and sticking to those times — you can deliver on all your commitments.

You can see the kids guilt-free, grab some groceries for the neighbours, do your work and also have some ‘me’ time.

Without a schedule and giving yourself permission to be present — in whatever context — stress could build, and you may start to feel overwhelmed at the tasks in your head which compete for your time.

‘Me time’ is going to be really important too. We will be spending more time with our families than ever before, without any downtime.

Even on holiday there is some downtime.

So, take a few moments each day for yourself.

If you can, it’s a great idea to start a habit of mindfulness as a long-term investment in your wellbeing.

Tip: Agree a new normal with your boss

For a lot of people in technology, whether sales, marketing or business management — ‘the work’ we would have done previously, cannot be achieved in this new environment.

It’s not that we don’t have the infrastructure to carry on regardless — more that we are in sensitive times and our customers are grappling with many Coronavirus issues, which will mean doing business is not a priority.

‘Why reset goals though? Can’t the goals remain in place so we are ready to go in the future?’

If new expectations are set — this will give us two benefits:

  1. Managers will not need to keep checking up on what you are doing, which relieves stress and time burdens on both sides
  2. Employees can relieve themselves of the emotional burden of what should have been done in a normal world and focus on the achievable.

Tip: Don’t be a slave to email / messaging platforms

Delivery of your goals is the priority.

Rarely would delivering on your goals require you to be on email and messaging platforms for 8 hours a day.

But we find ourselves on these platforms as a way to prove we are working.

Therefore, you must have trust and understanding with your manager.

Understanding about when and how you will work — let’s face it we are all going to need time flexibility at home.

Trust that you will deliver — once expectations are reset — goals are clear for everyone to avoid disappointment.

If you can, messaging platforms should be limited to a few checks per day.

You’ll find making a daily list of your 3 biggest goals much more enjoyable than email too.

Achieving daily goals will make you feel so much more productive and less in need to prove yourself. (Worth reading Brian Tracy — Eat That Frog on this point.)

Tip: Make time to think

According to HBR in 2018, 96% of leaders surveyed felt not enough time was spent on strategy. And yet, 97% of leaders said time for strategy was imperative!

Well, we have time now.

Reflective and creative thinking gives us an opportunity to see the world through a different lens.

It doesn’t have to be a solo activity, perhaps a phone call during a morning walk, to mull over an issue.

The point is to explore a new perspective.

I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Holbrook a few weeks ago, the author of What are you doing? (Diary Detox). Paul helps managers and leaders refocus their efforts from managing detail to strategic thinking. If trust has strong foundations, managers can free themselves to take the leap to spend time on strategic thinking.

Resetting your teams’ goals could give you that freedom.

Frankly, when will we get this opportunity again?

Final tip: Give yourself a break

We need to show empathy towards ourselves and our colleagues.

Don’t burden yourself or others.

Be kind to yourself and others.

And let’s find a way to move forward, positively, helping each other along the way.

Who knows — if we get it right — this might be the beginning of a flexible working revolution.



Additional resources:

Brian Tracy — Eat That Frog

Paul Holbook — What are you doing?

Paul Holbrook’s Blog —

HBR — If strategy is so important — why don’t we make time for it?

HBR — The busier you are — the more you need quiet time