Working from home is becoming the new normal for everyone

April 14, 2020

“Technology now allows people to connect anytime, anywhere, to anyone in the world, from almost any device. This is dramatically changing the way people work, facilitating 24/7 collaboration with colleagues who are dispersed across time zones, countries, and continents.”

Michael Dell, Dell.

Remote work is a trend that is gaining momentum fast, and it’s changing how the global workspace operates. In economies around the world, employees working from home or on the road are only part of the story. Consultants, contingent workers, contractors, freelancers, self-employed, and additional professionals make up the fastest-growing segment of the workforce today, and unconventional workspace arrangements have become routine. KVALITO Consulting Group has been working almost completely remotely for several years. All our associates can work from home and have the drive, flexibility, and expertise to provide excellent support to our client projects.

We want to share some of our home office experience with you and provide some tips to help you to make working from home a more manageable, effective and rewarding working model.

Clean up your planning and become flexible (if you haven’t done so already)

Compiling a quick “To-do” list the evening before your next working day is a great way to plan your tasks ahead of time and start the day with a clean, structured approach.

Support your partner who may also be working in a similar set-up. If you are both working take a flexible approach with your working hours and clean up your attitude (during this special Coronavirus situation where schools, Kindergartens and nurseries are shut). Childcare and the housework must somehow be done together, between alternating work efforts. There will be many overlaps of competing tasks from work and family which are bound to be stressful. Being patient and keeping your sense of humour (do not direct your stress on to your family or others) will work wonders for your family relationships, even if the dishes stay dirty for a while.

Gear up the communication

Just as it is important in the office, it is equally vital to communicate frequently with your boss. manager, and your team members and knowing exactly what you need to deliver.

A ten-minute meeting each day really helps focus on your tasks and allows you to discuss any complexities or set a list of priorities.

When you do communicate with your colleagues from home, it helps if it is “richer” communication, as in real-time and face-to-face using for example Teams video calls, Skype, or Zoom.

So, to avoid falling into deep space isolation of out of sight, out of mind, the home-worker needs to be pro-active. The most successful remote workers will routinely reach out to co-workers and managers through a variety of tools, to stay connected.

Set up an appropriate working space

Dedicate a space in your home exclusively for work. This doesn’t mean you need a whole office, simply a quiet area where you set up your computer and monitor so you can work productively. Remember to consider ergonomics so you are sitting correctly positioned (arms, back, etc. You can refer to your employer’s Health & Safety manual for support.) Inform your family or housemates to respect this area to minimize disruption. This is easier said than done with children of course but try and set a boundary where your family respect that when you are working there, they should not interrupt you.

With a defined workspace where you can concentrate, it becomes easier to realize the advantages of remote work. No commute, fewer office politics and limited interruptions from colleagues, can enhance productivity and make home-office a great working model.

Act like you’re preparing to leave the house to go to work

Another useful tip. For example, just because you can shuffle around in your pyjamas, it’s not a good idea. Not only will taking a shower and getting dressed wake you up and motivate you to take your remote working set-up seriously but your clients, team members and your manager will also thank you for it. If possible, it is useful to go for a brisk walk around the block before returning to your home office, so your mind shifts from “home” to “work” mode. Treat it like a real job, because it is!

Get some exercise

Set clear times for a break and why not fit in some exercise. after finishing your workday, to set a clear boundary and bookend your work time. This is good for your health, your productivity, your morale and keeping a positive mindset. The greatest perk is being able to sit in the garden, (Wi-Fi-permitting) when the sun finally comes out!

What are the pitfalls when working from home?

  • An increase in scheduled telephone calls and a higher volume of E-mails has been noted when working from remotely, as team members cannot simply stop by at someone’s desk for a quick chat or to ask a question like in the office. To compensate for this, avoid setting up long telephone calls or exchanging lengthy Emails as these will drain everyone’s time, and these interactions tend to stray from the point. Instead, use tools like Team or Skype video (or similar) for quick, efficient alignment with your colleagues.
  • Allowing yourself to be distracted with home activities so an allocated separate working space is the best option to create a work zone.
  • Other people thinking you are ‘at home’ subjecting you to constant interruptions.
  • Over-working.
  • Work & home setting become blurred; it is more difficult to separate “private” from “work” life and it is easy to isolate from everyone believing that your personal social needs are being met by email or skype-conference, which doesn’t.
  • Forgetting to nurture a “healthy” lifestyle (friends/going out/family) which is also very important to stay happy and productive employee.
  • So, If you are not rigorous, have a disciplined schedule and stay in tune with your own social needs, it is difficult to maintain a healthy attitude about things.
  • Access to the refrigerator…!

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, there is one extraordinary element. Nursery, kindergarten and school are closed, so the kids are at home too. So how do we master this challenge to maintain our productivity whilst the kids are at home?

  • Share childcare with spouses and adjust working hours.
  • Be prepared to support other family members as they need to work home office hours as well.
  • Put in a few extra hours on the weekend

What helps us most in working fully productively from home:

  • Daily huddle video calls with colleagues.
  • Regular social video calls.
  • Discipline.
  • Daily routine and regular breaks.
  • Some of you may need a separate small working space at home. This does not need to be a whole office, but it can help to separate work from private space.
  • Professional office set-up (desk, chair, headphones, ….).
  • Respecting deadlines.
  • The Trust of our employer is rewarded with high productivity levels.
  • An allowance of flexibility by our employer so that we are engaged in our work when our focus is at an optimum level without distractions.
  • A supply of great coffee……!

Author: Lara Bartlett Digital Communications Manager KVALITO

Contributors: Clara Sayrol, Life Science Consultant KVALITO Elizabeth Brown, Operations Manager, Talent Acquisition and Account Manager KVALITO

KVALITO is a strategic partner and global quality and compliance services and network for regulated industries. To learn more about our service please visit us here: www.kvalito.ch. If you would like to benefit from KVALITO’s expert services, feel free to send us an email to contact@kvalito.ch. Are you looking for an exciting and challenging position as a consultant in Europe? Send your complete application to recruiting@kvalito.ch.

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