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Top 10 tips on working from home

Today’s post is a little different. I’ve been speaking with my co-workers to offer a different voice, new tips on cleaning and everything else we’re all experiencing at the moment. Kate Winter-Hutton is our MOLLY MAID Business Advisor. She works closely with our local MOLLY MAID franchises on how to grow their business and recently, she’s been closely helping our franchisees on how to make the transition to working from home.

MOLLYMAID is a company that does ‘working from home’ really well.  Many of our franchise owners have made the change from an office environment to running their own MOLLY MAID businesses from their kitchen table, so we know how difficult the transition can be, especially with the current uncertainties Here are our 10 top tips for getting through the lockdown lows while working from home:

  1. Get the right mindset – firstly, it’s important to face that fact that conditions will be suboptimal, but that it is temporary.  Understand that making this transition is going to look different for everyone and that there are going to be kids, animals running through the video conference screen and other distractions that all add a layer of complexity to the working day.  Also understand that this is OK!
  2. Create your environment – find a quiet space and claim it.  Studies have shown the impact that a clean and tidy environment has on your mental health and this is no different in a work space.  If there is just one item you can change in the room to help with this, the benefits will be great.  You will find you are able to focus better, be more organised and maintain a sense of calm as you work.  To avoid cabin fever, make use of different areas in your home, for example I’m at my desk for focussed work then move to my patio to make a block of phone calls.
  3. Create your routine – to help you feel a little normality, try to keep a similar routine to what you had at the office, for example timings of breaks and lunch.  Be a little flexible and work around your families needs but also manage their expectations, for example I say to my kids ‘Mummy is just going to really focus for 1 hour and then we can go outside and kick a ball in the garden’.
  4. Set boundaries for yourself – make sure you step away from the desk or computer at lunchtime and decide on a time you will end your working day.  Be disciplined in not checking your work emails before bedtime and spending quality time with family.  You will find your productivity will increase during the time you have set for work.
  5. Set your goals for the week and day – what would you like to achieve by the end of the day? organise your schedule into segments of time for each activity for example phonecalls, focus time, video meetings, project time and set realistic goals for each one.  Think about the time of day you are best able to best focus to complete focused tasks and the time of day when you are most creative to complete creative projects.
  6. Stay connected with your team – a positive business culture will help you and your team remain engaged and motivated.  At MOLLY MAID we like to think of business culture as ‘the unwritten, unspoken norms that drive behaviour of how people work together, coexist together and get things done’.  We have daily video update meetings with the team as well as one to one conversations which are helping us stay connected and continue to ‘live’ our organisational values.  What activities can you simulate in a remote environment?  One company I know even created a ‘virtual retreat’ event where participants could join different activities via video conference for example, book club, pub club, or a joint yoga session.
  7. Communication – Be intentional (like a discipline) about communicating with each other.  In a co-located work environment, so much of the information is passed on through osmosis, i.e. a conversation at the water cooler or hearing a conversation between others.  In a remote working environment, one must be very intentional about communicating that information.
  8. Celebrate successes – both your own as well as others.  If someone has made a great contribution to the team, tell someone about it or put it on your companies virtual bulletin board.  
  9. Look after your mental health – Imposter syndrome is very common in a remote working environment.  You are not getting the continual validation you would be getting from your manager like you would in an office environment, so you begin to ask yourself: ‘Am I contributing enough? Am I pleasing the leadership enough?’.  You begin to overwork and before you know it you are up at 11pm in your pyjamas at your laptop.  You will start to lose productivity.  Learn to recognize this happening in yourself and take care of your mental health.  As a leader, learn to recognize this in your team and take steps to provide the validation / contact the person needs and encourage breaks.
  10. What is on your Wishlist that you wish you had time to do normally?  Now is your chance to start that project!