If you're new to working remotely, trying to balance home, family and work priorities might feel overwhelming. However, with the right tools and planning, you can find ways to stay healthy, connected and productive as you navigate this new way of life.
We've put together these tips and suggestions to help you find that balance.
Put the right groundwork in place
Manage your expectations
Working from home is a new reality for many people, so it's important to manage expectations with yourself, your team and your family. Bear the following in mind.
Be realistic, but also be kind to yourself
Let's face it, no one is a perfect multi-tasker. So acknowledge the fact that you're just not going to be as productive as you would be if you were focused solely on work. But give yourself a break. Set achievable tasks and goals each day, and if it goes well gradually make them more ambitious. Make a list of your projects and work with your manager or supervisor to decide what needs to be prioritised.
Stay connected to your team
Communication is key when teams are remote. It's important for each team member to be aware of each other's projects, timelines and goals. There's a good chance that some, if not all, of your teammates are also working from home, so syncing up on responsibilities and deadlines is key to managing projects and making sure that everyone is getting their work done. Consider staggering schedules or working flexible hours to make your week less stressful.
Set expectations with your family
If your partner or children are also at home, get on the same page with schedules, quiet spaces, homework time and, for older children, when it's OK to interrupt. But don't forget to take time to get some fresh air or have a little fun. Most importantly, be flexible and continue to make sure that it's working for everyone.
Put the right groundwork in place
Remote working doesn't have to mean feeling disconnected. Putting the right infrastructure in place makes all the difference for productivity and well-being. Make sure that you have the tools you need to communicate and collaborate effectively.
- Hardware (computer, microphone, camera) and necessary software
- High-speed Internet that supports video calls
- Quiet and secure place to work
- Comfortable, ergonomically supportive workspace
- Easy access to team groups or shared drives
- Mobile phone contact information for your manager, team and key partners
- Document preferred working hours shared with your team and partners
- Document goals, deliverables and timelines
Build a routine and practise good self-care
Create a routine that helps you get your work done efficiently and effectively. For some people this is about rebuilding their office environment at home. For others, it's about establishing a new routine.
- Set reasonable boundaries. Working remotely on projects can lead to feeling ‘always-on'
- Prioritise breaks in the day and be aware of potential signs of burnout in yourself and others
- Stay connected. Connect with your social communities, including business resource groups and work support groups (on Workplace, Facebook and Instagram), and as it makes sense, meet for social chats or even just virtual 'coffee chats' to stay close to colleagues and friends
Stick to your meeting schedule
Working remotely doesn't mean you have to make yourself available at a moment's notice. Push back on last-minute conversations and spontaneous meetings that crop up or change – particularly if they're not related to your priorities.
Set boundaries with your workspace
Try to carve out a space, zone or approach to work that can be kept separate from family members when you need privacy or will be on a call. This could be a physical area in your home, but it could also be a signal, such as wearing headphones or a sign on the back of your chair/monitor
Plan and prep meals or snacks in advance
Right now, the idea of meal planning may sound like just another to-do in your already busy schedule. But now that you're not commuting, consider using that time to prep your food for the day. Try using your mornings to line up snacks or prep for lunch, or better yet, use some of your weekend time to make and freeze meals that you can reheat throughout the week. This can also be a great way to get children involved and families cooking together.
Socialise with colleagues
Feeling isolated is a common problem when working from home, which is why it's never been more important to come together. Try creating and participating in chat threads where team members can talk about common interests. Video calls are an even better way to connect with your colleagues, even if it's just for an end-of-day watercooler chat. And for introverts who would rather do without socialising, periodically connecting with your team will help keep you, and everyone you work with, connected both to the work and your company culture.
Communicate with positivity
Working from home means it's even more important for the tone of your communication to be really clear. Stay positive, especially over email or chat, otherwise you risk coming across as cold or indifferent. Find your favourite happy emoji, share fun photos and be generous with compliments and recognition. It keeps morale up and builds rapport.
Make sure that meetings have a clear goal and agenda, and that pre-reads are set out in advance.
Balance your working from home with your well-being and family. Stay connected, empowered and productive with your work and home families. For more resources on being apart together, visit our Work From Home Hub.