Updated: Feb 3
In April when companies announced work from home indefinitely, no dress-code and no commute was the dream employees looked forward to. However, things soon went south as personal and professional boundaries blurred. Instances of stress and burnout was also on the rise as was the pandemic. In some cases, work pressure may have been out of one’s control, while in some cases it was completely unnecessary. How can you therefore maintain clear boundaries while working from home? By tactfully tackling unavoidable distractions that in turn helps in balancing the employee experience. Thus, maintains a healthy work life.
It may seem trivial, but an average of 31 productive hours is lost by an employee due to office distractions. However, with work from home being the new normal, the interruptions are of a different kind. These can vary from having to make a quick grocery run in between meetings, to helping with a few household chores during a presentation. In the long run, these distractions cause frustration and lead to stress as it eats into working hours, making the employee clock in longer hours. This new challenge is another factor that is changing the overall employee experience, positioning work from home as a bane.
Since there’s no definite idea as to when offices reopen at full capacity, it’s crucial to find a balance. Here are a few effective ways you can make remote working productive while also fulfilling personal obligations during working hours.
Identify What Can Be Done
Yes, it sounds silly because the 9-6 or 10-7 schedule is already being followed. But the catch is that one becomes laxed about these official hours as personal work takes precedence. It’s essential to decide upon what kind of personal obligations can or cannot be fulfilled if you were working from the office. Ask yourself, “Would I have been able to do this in a physical office environment?” This clearly highlights what personal work can be knocked off outside and should be addressed during working hours.
Upon identifying these activities, accommodating unavoidable distractions like a personal phone call, or helping to quickly chop vegetables, or even assisting your children with their online classes becomes easier to tackle. At the end, this brings you closer to effectively managing your time as well as work, while working remotely.
Structure The Day
Meetings, discussions and other phone calls can take up a majority of one’s time, leaving you with just a few hours to ‘actually execute work’. While these are unavoidable situations, simple re-structuring of your day at the start can help.
Based on everyday commitments, select a time slot that suits you best. Ensure at least half a day that focuses solely on execution is reserved. Within this duration, concentrate on accomplishing one or two tasks that require uninterrupted attention. This could be chalking out creative strategies, designing new templates, or simply completing pending work from the previous day.
For the best employee experience, inform colleagues that you will be occupied during that period and to expect a delayed response. Next, switch off email and phone notifications, or try minimizing the use of it.
Get Off Your Phone
The pandemic has seen a dangerous spike of 86% in social media usage. Since your boss isn’t physically present to observe how much social media you consume through the day, chances are that you can’t get enough of your phone. Keep in mind that this habit contributes to the deterioration of your mental and physical well-being as work gets interrupted multiple times.
Turn off notifications to certain recreational apps during working hours and set a time limit to social media apps. Once you exceed the time limit on an app, it automatically shuts down for the day. Additionally, if you spend hours on the phone discussing work, identify if it’s really essential. Would the outcome and impact of the conversation be the same if it were a message or email?
Companies, Workshops For Employees Is The Key
Amid balancing the employee experience that encompasses completing office work at a reasonable hour, how engaged is your workforce? As the offsite season draws nearer, the buzz grows louder. Has the pandemic affected the annual offsite? Will employees get a chance to detox from work and reconnect with each other? Do managers spend enough time discussing challenges with their teams?
To break away from the monotony of work from home, organizations need to conduct creative and engaging workshops for employees. Why? Simply because it positively impacts business productivity and profits. An engaged employee is a happy employee, and happy employees give their best at work.
Work life integration can be achieved only when all concerned parties take conscious efforts in setting clear expectations and boundaries. Employees – Curb distractions and draw a line at what work should be done during office hours. Companies – Engage and conduct workshops for employees that emphasize on work life balance, well-being and collaboration. Through these efforts, let’s ensure work from home aids in balancing the employee experience and turn it into a boon.