Written By Hanayyah Sutton
Working from home arrangement is usually preferred by working mothers. Before Coronavirus it had a negative stigma attached. People often sent emails just to prove they were ‘working’. Today we are all been forced to work from home and productivity levels have not plummeted, people are not skiving, managers are learning to manage based on productivity and the email traffic has reduced significantly.
While so many more people are experiencing working from home due to the Coronavirus lockdown, we are not experiencing a true reflection of working from home. Leaders must be flexible, sympathetic and understanding of different challenges people may be facing during lockdown.
As a leader managing a team of different both men and women it has been important to understand the different circumstances of my colleagues and their respective challenges such as home-schooling, lack of equipment, slow wi-fi and mental wellbeing.
Although I have worked from home for over the past few years it has been intermittent and not a constant. I have a change of scenery, going to the office, working from a coffee shop or visiting the local library. We do not necessarily experience whole organisations and households across the country competing to use Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Streaming Services at the same time, slowing networks and the dreaded screen freeze. A key challenge for me personally has been discipline and mindset. When working remotely, many people struggle with the lack of distinction between work and home life and right now, those boundaries are increasingly blurred as we are confined to our homes.
So rather than try to achieve the impossible, we can look to integrate work and life more successfully and achieve a state where they sit harmoniously together, even if not perfectly balanced.
Define your hours- These can be flexible; organisations and leaders understand the challenges you are facing and need to adapt to measure based on outputs/ productivity rather than hours.
Daily exercise routine– Make sure you get at least 20 mins of daily exercise.
Create a distinct workspace- This is only for working, step away from it once your work is done.
Mental Wellbeing– If someone you know lives alone reach out to them, check they are ok and try to make time to just talk. Listening to the radio, podcast and e-books are another proven method to boost mental wellbeing.
Whilst we still do not fully understand the impact on the workplace due to Covid-19 we do know it will not be the same again. It is important to make the best of the situation and try to find the best in these difficult circumstances.
Lastly, I will end on a saying that resonated with me recently-” Most people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a lifetime.” Use this time to reflect on what’s important to you, there is always time.
Hanayyah Sutton is Head of Business Strategy, Planning and Support – Past Finalist