6 months into this pandemic, we’re finally able to address how some of these changes in our everyday lives have been affecting us when working from home. All of a sudden, the highly discussed, yet seemingly far away distance away “future of work” became our current reality. And, in an extremely short period of time, companies had to digitalize their entire organizations. At what cost? Well, at the cost of employees’ wellbeing. As we’re starting to settle into the technological parts of our new work-life, we are also starting to see the risks of such a radical shift. Microsoft’s work trend index report shows that burnout has been increasing during this pandemic and when ranking the top stress factors, number one is the lack of separation between work and life.
The solution might be a little more complex than just copying and pasting how things were done pre-corona and throwing in some zoom calls here and there. We need to make sure that our employees have the equipment needed to be productive from home, and take into account that some employees might need an extra hand depending on their living situation. But then what? How do we make sure we’re maintaining a human-centric focus in an unstable time?
Being adaptable & flexible when working from home
Uncertain times require us to be extremely flexible, which can be challenging as people usually don’t tend to love change. This is a great time to involve the team as much as possible in decision-making. Navigating and leading people through change has one leading star, and that is to always put people first. Be transparent every step of the way and fill everyone in on details while making room for questions – even if you don’t always have the answers. The more employees have a chance to mentally prepare, the more they’ll be willing to collaborate.
Working remotely puts more pressure on an individual, period. How do we cultivate strong self-leadership? By being mindful of the choices we’re making and how they make us feel. It’s about caring for your health and making space for activities that strengthen you, implementing routines for yourself that fulfill your being, setting up boundaries for yourself, and knowing that just because you’re able to work whenever doesn’t mean you should. Self-care might not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think about self-leadership, but we’re also living in extraordinary times that are tough on all of us. Different times require different actions, to first of all make sure that you’re taking full responsibility for yourself and filling your own cup first.
Adding the human aspect
The majority of the workforce has, as we all know, been forced into working from home without the tools needed to do so mindfully. In order to build a foundation and create a new workspace with longevity, we need to use a human-centric approach and make sure we’re still connecting, even from afar. This is because when we change the way we work, we need to change the way we move through each day. First off, this change is about taking a look at the ways in which we can add human value to our remote workdays. It’s important to make sure we maintain a people-first approach and make space for human connection to occur. This could be by simply starting meetings off with check-in for everyone to briefly highlight their current state of mind, and more importantly, create space in which remote employees feel comfortable sharing. Even using apps like Donut, where employees across teams can strengthen their connection could be valuable.