6 Things to Think About When WFH

Olga Rankin joined the world of People and Culture in 1998 and never looked back.  She is passionate about all aspects of the Employee Experience, having worked for both multinationals and start ups across the globe. With an enthusiasm for building strong cultures across the entire employee journey, Olga understands it is essential for organisations to get it right from the start if they to develop a reputation as a great place to work.  Her latest engagements have been with organisations focused on new and emerging technologies. In these environments keeping teams engaged in highly competitive employment markets is challenging but achievable by employing a key cultural strategy, treating team members as people not numbers.  Olga is based in our Sydney office. [email protected]    


As a People and Culture practitioner, I understand the importance of feeling connected in the workplace. As human beings, we thrive off one another – from making decisions to being creative. And that shouldn’t have to stop because we’re now working remotely. If anything, it’s just an opportunity to be more creative in the way we connect.


Already we’ve seen people posting about virtual Friday happy hours to replace Friday after-work drinks. Virtual trivia sessions revealing the fastest internet connection as well as those with great general knowledge. But being connected and making your WFH experience a positive is as much up to you as it is your workplace. 


The first thing – you have to be committed to being connected and making this new world work for you. So if you’re like me and are missing the incidental conversation, coffee runs, and being in a space surrounded by like-minded people, I have put together a list of tips to help make the transition from office life to WFH life a little more seamless.  


Rethink your daily commute


The most notable change in your daily routine is not having to travel to the office. There is no commute or putting on your work “uniform”.  As freelancers, contractors and home-based businesses know from experience, having a WFH routine is crucial to getting yourself into work mode. There’s a reason why every WFH advice article will tell you to get up at the normal time and get dressed. It’s because it works. If you feel comfortable enough, take a walk around the block or sit down in a different part of your home and do something non-work related during your usual transit time. 


Create your first virtual connection


During these unusual times it’s important to bring the “usual” into your WFH routine. If you usually start your day with catching up with colleagues over a morning coffee run – then do just that. Set a Zoom or Hangouts meeting to have a check-in and chat while drinking instant coffee. It’s this social interaction and saying out loud your tasks for the day that will help set you in a good working mood. 


Embrace your workplace’s online community channel


If you weren’t a frequent user of your company’s online collaboration tool, now is the time to become one. Ask for help. Share memes. Share learnings. Communicate. One of the risks of remote working is people feeling disconnected or neglected – especially if communicating in an online forum is a new experience. Harvard Business Review has spent more than two decades helping companies learn how to manage disperse teams and they recommend managers encourage all types of virtual contact points for psychological health. And if you’re a manager, where possible, have your meetings with video not just audio and always follow-up with an email or other form of written communication to confirm what was discussed. Multiple touch-points is key. 


Take a break


WFH doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Take advantage of being home and get those tasks done that eat into your evening during your lunch break. And I cannot stress enough, get some exercise. Without the distractions of the office, your lunchtimes are free for some #selfcare. Yoga, barre, HITT. You can find almost every type of exercise online or as an app – at Simplus we like to use BOXX. Why not try a virtual workout with a colleague for extra motivation.  


Log off virtually and physically 


For those of us who aren’t used to WFH, it’s very easy to continue working well past normal log-off time. A healthy work/life balance is just as important even when you’re WFH. Have a defined stop time and if you’re working in a common space clear away items so you can enjoy your evening without being tempted by work. Take the time after you log-off to decompress, such as watching a Netflix episode or listening to music – just as you would if you were commuting home. 


Remember we’re all in this together


These are truly unusual times, and in this context we all need to give each other a little more reassurance and understanding. If a client or colleague is a little distracted because their two year old is asking to play or their dog is barking – have compassion. After all, we’re all in this together. 



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