There’s been a lot of content flooding our feeds about how challenging working from home is in the current environment, how exhausted and unmotivated we all are – the general theme is that, well frankly, we’re all over it.
Our environments play a significant role in how we feel and how we perform. This goes hand in hand with the fact that research has shown that employees rank their physical workplaces as the fourth most important aspect of their employee experience. Yet in recent years, the corporate environment has shifted to depersonalising workspaces – moving to the likes of hot-desking, agile workspaces and clean desk policies.
So do you want to know what we think is the best part about working from home? You now have full creative licence and the opportunity to create a workspace that inspires you and radiates what’s important to you!
Whether you’ve been accustomed to working from home for some time now, or you’ve been thrown in headfirst without choice, here are our top 5 tips to on the small changes we can make in our working from home environment to create a different narrative, to make work at home, work!
No doubt by now you’ve set yourself a “home base” – somewhere you’ve dedicated as the place you’ll do most of your work. Ask yourself this, when you take a step back and look at your home base, how does it make you feel? Does it incite feelings of pride or make you feel inspired? If your answer was no then it’s time to take some action! Clear the clutter, style the space with some of your favourite things (perhaps add some photos, some greenery, have your favourite coffee cup at the ready). Consider using all your senses; burning a candle or having oil diffusers can help you signal to your mind when it’s ready to shift into work mode.
The more connected one is to the purpose and brand of an organisation, the more they feel a sense of belonging and higher engagement. When we think about the “brand” of an organisation, it’s more than just a logo. It’s the personality, and the story of the business. In the corporate environment, this can come to life in the physical aesthetics, and then through the culture and values. No doubt you chose to work with your organisation because there was an alignment with what drives you as a person, and the personality of the business. In your home environment, consider how you can stay reminded of this connection. This might be forming new rituals with your team that specifically calls out the organisation’s vision and mission. Perhaps even some more obvious visuals cues reminding you of your clients and customers (perhaps your colleagues!) or a written statement front and centre about the contribution you are making to the organisation and your impact on the world.
Creating a sense of belonging and connection begins with being open to sharing insights about who you are as an individual and your own story and background. What better way to build deeper connections than by giving others an insight into your interests? Take a look at how you are showing up in your virtual environment. What story does this tell about who you are as a person? We recommend getting creative with your backgrounds to show off some of your personality – either using what you have “in real life” (maybe you have an extensive collection of teapots or your own artwork hanging on the wall), or through technology create a virtual background that creates a meaningful talking point in your team catch ups.
This is a big one! Yes, we’ve mentioned having a home base, but we also encourage you to use your whole house throughout the day to create both physical and mental shifts. The dynamics of our workplaces are specifically engineered to nudge our behaviours and guide our activities throughout the day. One would hope that when you’re in the office you don’t spend day in and day out at the one desk, in the same position. Not only can this wreak havoc on your physical wellbeing, but the lack of diversity in your environment could also result in reduced productivity. When working from home move between rooms, furniture and devices. By leveraging the energy that is created from different postures you can switch between tasks and bring the required cognitive energy to the activity – increasing motivation and productivity. The added layer to this is looking at your rituals, routine and pattern of work throughout the day. Acknowledge that it might be different than the routine you were used to when you worked from the office. Experiment and find what works for you in this new environment, then communicate this with your colleagues.
In a virtual workplace, serendipitous human interaction is often lost and there is a significant reduction in social connection. Continuing to build your community and stay connected is critical when you have less opportunities for physical interaction. Take a look at what activities you engaged in to build culture and connection in the physical workplace and see where you can replicate these in the virtual world. Some are fairly obvious, like maintaining social meetings (i.e. morning coffees, Friday drinks). Others you might need to get creative. Like the more serendipitous interactions, for example, how do we recreate the modern day “watercooler” in a virtual world? Both teams and individuals themselves will have different needs and requirements, so why not seek feedback on how to best stay connected. The most important factor here is that we need to be a lot more conscious of how we are staying connected. Through technology and planning we can continue collaborating, brainstorming, connecting and creating whilst working remotely.
In the current situation, there is a lot of environmental factors that are out of control, but there is also a lot that’s within our control. Let’s own what we can, and create a more positive mindset about our the current conditions!
Want to learn more about optimising you working from home experience?
Mel is throwing out the old “working from home” rulebook and shaking up everything you thought you knew about working from home. Bringing together all the insights you and your teams need to optimise your environment and make Work From Home, WORK. With the launch of her WORKPLACE DYNAMICS BLUEPRINT, NEW WORK FROM HOME EDITION she’ll unveil the philosophy and principles that exist in our corporate workplaces so you can implement the same strategies at home.