Do It Yourself: The World's Best Work From Home Tips
Coronavirus causes global crisis. People are forced to work from home. Everyone's struggling. Kids are at home too. Bla bla bla. You know the drill. It's how almost all articles start these days. This post is different. It's what I'd like to call a ‘do it yourself blog post’ - consisting of tips from all of you - based on your real and recent experiences. Here we go...
The biggest workplace experiment on the planet
This whole ‘work from home’ experiment is undoubtably the largest workplace experiment ever. Billions of us are in a ‘research project’. The ‘why’ is terrible. The ‘how’ is really an experiment in how we cope. Could there be any positive side effects?
Progressive companies we’ve visited focus strongly on ‘experiment and adapt’. They constantly search for better ways to work. Now, everyone is forced to follow their lead. Unfortunately, this experiment is far from ideal. There was no time for proper preparation. No clear hypothesis to test. No clear metrics in place. And the fact that kids are also at home makes it at least 10x more difficult (I assume)!
However far-from-ideal this is, it is better than to never experiment at all. Let’s reflect on the experiment so far. Let’s help each other to get better at this 'work from home' stuff.
Luctor et emergo
Joost and I grew up in the Zeeland province in The Netherlands. The motto there is luctor et emergo (Latin for "I struggle and emerge"). Struggling (and hopefully emerging) is what many people are doing in this new reality. To support the struggle and help you emerge, this post is about all of you – the community – sharing insights and lessons about how to make ‘work from home’ work. So, here we go.
Crowdsourcing working from home tips
Drop your tips, recommendations, learnings, do’s, don’ts, failures, and essentials in the comment section below. Whether they are about technology, rituals, dog-walking or cat-feeding, kids, team dynamics, meetings, information sharing or decision-making, share what you’ve learned and inspire others.
Do It Yourself: The Best Work From Home Tips
Let’s crowdsource as many practical tips directly from those in trenches - you. Drop your comments below, and we’ll join in with our team as well.
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I took me several weeks to realize that what we are currently living is a trauma for everyone.
And it's just an illusion to think we can be as much productive as usual.
We need to take more care of ourselves and of our beloved ones than usual. Or the toll will be high when things will get more "normal".
Accepting that helped our family to build a common schedule more sustainable, for a longer time. It includes :
- a full day per week to chill out, for my husband and anoter one for me : no work, no 3-year-old-boy managing, no house work
- an hour per day to chill out, for each of us
- some evenings when we chill out separately but side by side (reading, play video games...)
- the other evenings we do stuff together : watch our favorite cooking show on TV, play civ 6...
Before starting home office, I go for a walk most mornings this simulating commuting. Very calm and nice atmosphere.
Still experimenting with chairs and bureau I manage to stand more often.
Standing or sitting in front of the window so I can let my eyes rest and wander on the street in front of our house.
I'm fortunate to be home with my husband, 10-year old son, and our dog. Also, I was working from home before the pandemic, logistically set up for success on that front already.
Key things that have worked for us:
1. daily schedule, set wake-up and bed times
2. long mid-day walks, regardless of the weather (the dog helps with these!)
3. daily kanban board for our son to commit to various independent activities while we are in work meetings, otherwise we split our time with him
4. family dinners together, often connecting with family virtually during this time
5. moving around our home during the day, working/playing in different spaces for a change of scenery
6. drinking lots of water (mainly to offset everything else we're consuming more of)
7. leaving space for each of us to have bad days, learning how to emotionally support each other through this, and recognizing how hard it is on all of us
...this list is mostly family focused because I found that if this bit gets sorted out, then making time to focus on work and meeting those obligations is much easier and more effective. Overall I've greatly appreciated the deeper, richer connections I've made with colleagues, another silver lining.
Don't try and do 'home schooling' and work perfectly. Do your best and tell people what's realistic. Drop the front.
Do embed a routine and use your 'fake commute' for some air whether a short walk round the block, to watch the view from your home or go for a run or short cycle. Maybe use this time to help your neighbours or people who need some extra help (morning and afternoon).
Whether introvert or extrovert you will have energy crashes. Eat healthy. Office based peeps struggle to eat well as they lack time to do so (leaving their desk to find healthy). Get some fruit in and snack on it.
Do kick your devices and anything work related out of your bedroom. Its sacred space at the moment.
I like this approach as it helps inspire me. I'm already set up to work remotely & often do it but have truly struggled this time as it's forced not through choice. I've just finished a huge project where my ending rituals have been thrown in the air. So what's helping me:
1. Start the day as usual
2. Fit outdoors activities in daily - whatever my energy levels allow
3. Have a kick ass to do list & be kind to myself when I achieve less
4. Write more & talk less (that's through necessity)
5. Limit social media to defined tasks to minimise distractions
6. Enjoy the weekends & keep them largely personal
7. Sort out the tech issues - everyone has a different platform of choice, so I've set up my systems to accommodate preferences & know my own
8. Phone is okay. Sometimes I'm having a bad hair day & I don't want to be on video (it's my bandwidth ;-).
9. Take the pressure off. So what if I come out of lockdown not having dropped some weight, read my entire bookcase or without a brand new business idea.
10. Stay curious. Everyone is having a different experience so finding out about others helps me learn and not assume anything.
Our strategy conference will take place tomorrow. It usually combines a work part with a fun part. We will start with a fun part, then work effectively and concentrated and finally finish with a fun part again.
In addition to our content-related questions, tomorrow we will play a digital escaperoom game and perform a homeoffice chocolate bar tasting using mentimeter.com.
We also have a virtual watercooler-talk channel in MS Teams and meet regularly just to chat and stay connected.
+ Having the proper technology infrastructure installed at home.
+ Having a dedicated room for virtual meetings.
+ Keeping the business rhythm as usual with monthly goals and weekly updates.
+ 1 hour walk in the afternoon works wonders for me.
+ Casual Friday afternoon talk with the entire team to end the week.
1) Start each meeting with a check-in, it's really hard to pick up signals via video-calls. knowing if someone slept bad and is grumpy because of that can make all the difference on how you interpret their feedback.
2) Walk-walk-walk. Don't forget to get some exercise in, I always start the day with a short walk or run. That way you can wake up a bit and prepare yourself to get ready to work.
3) Use a plugin for your browser that prevents you from visiting certain sites that you can loose a lot of time on by browsing them, e.g. Facebook, news or Linkedin for example
4) And my favorite attribute thusfar; We're babysitting a cat for the week. Which can be a perfect distraction to get your mind of of work!
Bags and accessories made of truck tarpaulins - that's what Freitag is known for. With headquarters in Zurich, around 250 employees work for the cult label which uses holacratic methods. They introduced a new salary model in early 2019. Pascal Dulex is responsible for Organizational Culture & Creative Direction. He spoke to us about their sometimes-painful path to a new compensation system.
We are super excited to launch the German edition of our "Corporate Rebels" book today. We can now reach even more people in their native language and share the stories of workplace pioneers from around the globe. The full title: Corporate Rebels - wie Pioniere die Arbeitswelt revolutionieren.