Not too long ago we were all still enjoying the warm weather and our unchallenged freedom. Blissfully unaware of the challenges we might face very soon. we were reading about the virus and talking about the virus but not really preparing for the virus. In a matter of 3 days, all of that changed. Suddenly we were taking our office assets home, the monitor, the keyboard, the laptop stand, everything that is meant to optimise your output, promote good posture and provide sufficient comfort.
Comfort… What is comfort when all of a sudden you have to work from home when previously you did not have a home office setup. Not only will a monitor, keyboard and laptop-stand suffice, but you need a desk, a proper chair, possibly back support and good natural lighting. Mostly, one would have these items, but not 2 of each. Leaving your significant other to use a foldable/collapsible aluminium table, set up in the bedroom with a camping chair which is sometimes swopped for a plastic kitchen chair and other times the recliner. Let’s just say, one of us plays musical chairs in our house as often as needed for best possible comfort, fortunately that’s not me.
With the fun facts out of the way, let’s talk about four benefits of working from home under lockdown as well as the newly acquired and improved skills.
In our team, I feel we’ve grown a lot closer and learnt a lot more about each other.
- We have Improved Productivity tremendously. The explanation as to why this happened is vast – but the main driving force or let’s call it incentive – I would describe as FEAR. If FEAR hasn’t settled in yet, now would be a good time to consider it. Improving productivity and driving your own delivery standards is such a vital need for financial survival right now. We should all be fearful of under-delivery, because if we’re not delivering high-quality service, why would a client continue to invest in our financial stability. So, our team is fearfully protecting our financial stability by providing our best possible productivity.Improved productivity is also a result of fewer interruptions, fewer friendly coffee breaks with colleagues and less trips to the shop for snacks and lunch. Having said that, the team members with larger households are experiencing a very different scenario and possibly trickier balancing act. They might be missing the office set-up much more than we can imagine.
- Increased Job Satisfaction = Improved Productivity. Again… This is a very powerful motivating factor. What increases job satisfaction? Flexibility. With Flexibility comes longer hours, but that also means more breaks in between. More breaks in between mean that we are moving more, though we get up, take a walk around the house, we don’t really stop working, we’re thinking. You’re thinking about a solution for a problem you’ve been stuck on. At the same time, you’re getting fresh air, breaking the cycle that causes fatigue and getting some good and necessary vitamin D from the sun. When you get back to your workstation, you’re ready to tick off a whole list of tasks.
- Structure – I believe that if we weren’t this blessed to have full-time employment continuing through lockdown, we would all go to pieces. I experienced this when we had 2 extra days over the weekend and all I wanted to do was nothing. The sun wasn’t shining as warm and bright, so being outside in the garden didn’t seem so inviting. Spending time in the kitchen would mean having to clean the kitchen again – not an option. LAZY was the word. Lack of inspiration was another. I was looking forward to getting back to my routine, spending time at my home office desk, checking in with my team and making sure that we meet our deadlines. In lockdown, I have a newfound appreciation for structure which results in the implementation of plenty of new procedures that has since been put in place.
- Team Communication and Accountability = Improved Productivity. My team had to step up our communication skills, we also had to step up our listening skills. One of our key action plans we set in place for the lockdown was to always ensure that instructions were communicated clearly and that you explain everything as detailed as possible to avoid leaving your team unsure of what the task requires. So every day we have a stand-up call and discuss what we did the day before, which roadblocks we experienced, raise a hand if you can help with a teammates roadblock and then we list what we plan on doing for the day. Doing this we commit to being accountable. Being accountable improves productivity and directly works toward reducing the ‘fear factor’ we talked about.
Finally, we can also contribute great productivity to overall positivity and vice-versa. Having a sense of pride in being able to deliver your work whilst in lockdown helps to remain positive and harbouring positive thoughts assist in keeping the productivity levels up.
Just imagine – proving you can remain productive whilst working from home now, could help motivate later that you could be working from anywhere in the world (of course in a safer time when the world is healthy and striving again.)