6 Lessons I Learned While Working At Home
As a professional working in the fitness industry, at the beginning of 2020 I, like most people, had no idea the changes my day-to-day work experience would undergo with the arrival of Covid-19. When you found out earlier this year that remote work was your new reality were you A. stricken with fear, B. excited at the thought of commuting to your spare bedroom, C. worried about how long this would go on, or D. all of the above ? I think it’s safe to say most of us are in the “D” category. So how have we managed and how will we continue to manage? Well this process is just that, a process of examining how we work best and how to make the most of this phase in our careers. Below is a list of lessons and tips I have learned along the way. I hope this helps even one person reading this blog to solve an issue or a struggle they are having...we’re all in this together.
- Be more vocal. Whatever that means for you. In meetings, emails, increasing your phone time wherever you can. We’re not able to casually converse in the way we used to around the office. Contact with our teams has been replaced by brief snapshots in time..which make those meetings, emails, and phone calls the time to really express your ideas and opinions for the benefit of yourself, your colleagues, and your business. Not all comments must be gold but discussion is much more important than remaining silent. Give yourself the confidence to find your voice.
- Be empathetic. I don’t think anyone out there would classify this as an ‘easy’ time. Working from home is still a work in progress for many. Your teammates, business contacts, and customers are all dealing with situations you are not aware of. Take the time to find out more about their situation and offer support rather than jumping the gun on a less than timely response or unfinished task. Teamwork is how we will all win.
- Take breaks and give yourself grace. Many of us are clocking in early, clocking out late, or both, which over time can actually be counterproductive. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for stepping away from your computer to clear your mind, give your eyes a break and get some fresh air. I’ve even found that a quick, 10 minute workout (situps, crunches, and push ups) helps to clear my mind and put me in the right headspace to get back to work. Our mental and physical health is important now more than ever. People matter, and that includes you! Make working from home an asset, not a punishment.
- Block your time. Funny how when our environment changes the normal routine of our day seems to change as well. Set a schedule for yourself and name the type of tasks you will commit to working on during those set time frames. This helps to remove the guesswork and make your day more efficient. You will find you are getting more done than you thought possible. While you’re at it add in time for those breaks and some ‘free time’ for a project that needs some extra attention or some ‘on the fly’ phone calls. Set reminders, alarms, whatever makes it happen and gives you results!
- Be patient but not complacent. If you don’t have what you need to succeed, find a solution. Maybe you are finding a consistent lag in information or correspondence, speak up! If the customer is feeling ignored or forgotten they will not hesitate to look elsewhere and will most likely look directly to your competition.
Remember your passion for your position. Your “why”. Paste it on the wall in front of you as a reminder through your day. You are greater than this moment, day, or week. Don’t let the outside world dictate how you handle your day. The sun will come up tomorrow, make your mood positive and forward-thinking to match.
Working from home can actually be an asset. We can use this time to identify our work habits, weaknesses & strengths and make strides to improve them. Analyze your process, write it down, and make a plan, it’s never too late and if you need help ask a friend or co-worker for advice and open up those lines of communication. As Art Williams said, “ I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it. “ Accept the challenge!