Flexible working expert Jane Sparrow provides advice for employers and employees on getting through the coronavirus crisis.
With all UK employers now asking people who can to work from home and many juggling caring responsibilities, business culture and remote working expert, Jane Sparrow has some tips for employers and employees alike.
If you’ve got dependents begin open, honest conversations with colleagues now on what this is going to mean for you. If you don’t have dependents but work with people who do, talk with those individuals soon. We’ve all got to work together on making the new reality work.
Involve everyone in the team to talk about the possible times of day when everyone could be available e.g. to have a team call. This might only be for half an hour or you might have to run an A and B shift to stay connected.
If you have a partner and they are working from home also, taking shifts is a no-brainer if you have caring responsibilities, including early morning and late night shifts.
Don’t try and do everything – if you’re able to, have parts of your day where you’re absolutely focused on work.
If you’re able to because there’s two of you on the job at home, create boundaries to help you focus when working.
Make individual and team plans by the day or week (at most).
That means that if you’re having a stint with the family, do that 100 per cent. When you’re working, give that your total focus (using boundaries above). You’ll feel much better for it (and get more done).
According to a study of 185 million workers, the average person is productive for two hours and 48 minutes each day. Schedule your day well and you can actually increase your output while you’re home by carving out time for deep work.
Sit down and look at what needs to get done each week, rather than each day. Break them down into quick tasks that don’t involve a lot of brainpower and longer ones that demand deeper thinking. It shortcuts deciding what’s possible to achieve, depending on the window you have.
If you work best in the morning, try and work then, accepting that in the afternoon you may not get to work as much, but you’ve made hay at your most productive time.
Working and balancing caring responsibilities is not easy. Be kind to yourself and celebrate the small wins (and stuff you got done) each day.
The current COVID-19 situation will mean that we’re looking through a new window into each other’s homes, families and wider lives. Embrace that and use it as an opportunity to connect on a more human level.
We’re all in this crisis together so there’s no need to hide your practical limitations and challenges – leaders being open and honest about their own working patterns (and limitations) can really set the tone for this.
‘Words create worlds’ and at times like this how we make people feel is everything. Remember the human beings behind the laptops, the challenges they might be facing and help each other out as much as you can.
*Jane Sparrow is founder and director at The Culture Builders who have been supporting Asian businesses through the eye of the coronavirus storm since the end of last year and is now supporting a range of UK businesses too.