Remote Working: Part 1 – Finding Your New Normal
Last Monday, Simon brought his 8-year-old daughter to school after weeks in lockdown. Guilt and relief were competing in his paternal heart. Over the next few weeks, we will see a lessening of the stringent rules that most of us have been experiencing since March. The sudden shift to remote working has put immense pressure on the shoulders of many, especially those parenting and living in small spaces. While the urgency has lifted some constraints, the New Normal will demand more sustainable working-habits. These will be even more imperious as a recent study across 9 European countries has shown that teleworking can lessen efficiency and hurt team cohesion¹.
The first article of our series “Remote-working” explores simple ways to
- maintain your energy level
- reinforce trust and team spirit despite personal and cultural differences.
Maintain your energy level
Whether you are a newbie or a relaxed veteran, the Remote-worker’s Checklist will help you achieve the balance you need in material needs, working habits, physical needs, and psychological needs. Which boxes can you tick off already? In which areas are you already comfortable? What can benefit from some attention? Are some of your needs missing from the Checklist?
Navigate personal and cultural differences
The Checklist is meant to help. However, it is essential to remember that each of us reacts differently during disruptive times. Personal and cultural traits are at play. Have you noticed, for example, how introverts feel more comfortable away from the buzzing offices?
Like any skills, mental ones can be strengthened through consciously directed efforts and close monitoring. Whether you feel isolated, annoyed, or highly-stressed, share your thoughts with colleagues to build trust in your team. Meanwhile, in your organization, showing feelings might be considered unprofessional. Before introducing new practices, test them first with trusted colleagues.
Last week, I asked some colleagues-turned-friends what the crisis revealed to them. Several mentioned home-sickness and how closed borders made them feel guilty towards their aging parents. The conversation not only offered comfort but reinforced trust and cohesion. Subsequently, our creativity during the following work session sparked.
In case displaying your feelings is barely thinkable, practice some daily reflection by journaling or, as Marshall Goldsmith² suggests, assessing with a scale from 1 to 10 how well you did during the day in such targeted skill. A reflective routine will result in wonders. If, however, after several weeks, there is no improvement, refer to a specialist.
And for you, what did the crisis and remote-working reveal to you? Whether you have already cut your coffee consumption, reassigned a visitor-room as a home-office, or started journaling, tell us your story and share other tips with us. In the next article, we will have a closer look at language and communication during online meetings with your global team or with international partners. How do you make sure that the communication is still fluid?
van der Lippe, T., & Lippényi, Z. (2019). Co-workers working from home and individual and team performance. New Technology, Work and Employment.
Triggers: Sparking positive change and making it last, 2015