Odds are, 90% of the people reading this blog post are now having to work from home due to ‘safer at home’ orders. And while we all agree that these are necessary and important rules to abide by, they are certainly bringing both challenges and new opportunities our way as people trade in their office desk for their at-home set ups.
Since we’re faced with a lot of negative feelings right now, we want to focus on the positives. Can I get an “amen?” :)
Let’s look at three benefits to working from home:
- Flexibility. Employees now have more freedom in choosing how, where, and sometimes when they work. If you are more creative in the early mornings (which would have typically been when you’re having to get the kids off to school or drive to work), you can now choose to work and double-down in some earlier hours. If you’re able to still get your work done while also experiencing some new flexibility in your routine, that sounds like a win to us.
- Focus. This may seem counter-intuitive but there is some truth to remote working fostering more focus. How many times do you get tapped on the shoulder by a coworker to tell you something irrelevant to what you were working on? As research and experiments have shown, workers get interrupted as often as every 11 minutes during the workday, and it takes 25 minutes to refocus after each interruption. So, while office comradery and community is a wonderful thing, during this season, we’re surrounded by less workplace distractions.
- More Margin. Now that people aren’t spending as much time getting ready, taking kids to school, and commuting, many are gaining more time to spend with family or more hours to be able to devote to getting their work done for the day
But as you’re experiencing, leading teams, ministries and nonprofits virtually is tough. In order to reap the true benefits of the above opportunities, leaders and employees must continue to display intentionality and a high work-ethic. Here are some quick tips to ensure optimize your leadership and working-from-home life in this all-digital era.
Still invest in culture.
Your teams still want to hear from you. They want to continue hearing you cast vision and how they can be a part. Remind the team of your values and find new ways to put those into practice each day.
Clearly communicate the new expectations.
There is uncertainty swirling all around us. Your employees and teams are feeling the same thing. While some of their roles feel less important or needed during this time, it’s up to the leader to clearly communicate what their role consists of, and what a win looks like for them during this quarantined work life.
Turn off push notifications while you work.
Notifications and personal emails on your phone are the new “shoulder tap” distraction. Since you’re so accustomed to home being the place where those things are normal, it’s important to do your best at keeping those separate or leave for when it’s time for a quick brain break throughout the day.
Utilize video conferencing.
Since there is limited face-to-face interactions, if you’re having a company-wide meeting or even a one-on-one meeting with one of your ministry leads, opt in to a video call instead of a phone call. This will help people feel less alone and bring some normalcy to interactions.
Create a separate work space in your home.
When you work from home, it can be easy to work from the couch, the kitchen table or wherever is central and comfortable. And while that may work for some, there are some great benefits to being able to section off a space meant just for working (even if it's makeshift and you have to move a card table into your bedroom). That way, when it’s time to finally relax at the end of the day, you can leave that space, and enter into the communal spaces of your home that signal “you’re off.”
We’re so grateful for all you’re continuing to do through your causes and businesses during this difficult time. We hope that you can find ways that working from home can shed some bright light that everyone so desperately needs right now. Keep up your great work.