At the start of last year, most business leaders wouldn’t have imagined that working from home would become the norm. After all, surely we need to be in the same place to see our businesses grow?
The WFH reality is set to stay and leaders have made huge adjustments to how they run their businesses. In a short space of time the way they manage their teams and juggle work and domestic life has been overhauled, making it necessary to strike a new balance to keep their businesses in check, as well as their mental health.
Amy Filippaios, Director of wholesaler SimplyHair and mother of two toddlers, shares her tips for motivating herself and her team while working from home.
Stick to a routine
Without the usual commute, set lunch hours and added domestic distractions including childcare, it can be harder to concentrate on tasks at home. Equally without face-to-face discussions creativity can be affected. For most people, it is not possible, or even advisable, to simply replicate the structure of a day at the office. Instead, assigning slots for certain activities and team check-ins, you can create a new routine that builds in time for a lunchtime walk or having a family breakfast. Fixed schedules also help children get used to when their parents need to work and when they are available.
Focus on efficiency
Particularly at the moment, it is not possible to do everything and setting high expectations will only leave you and your team feeling pressured, deflated and unmotivated. Instead, work to streamline processes that deliver the same output in less time or with less intervention from fewer people will drive efficiency.
Working from home affords greater flexibility in working hours and allowing team members to work later in the day to compensate for time spent exercising or home schooling is beneficial for building trust and wellbeing. However, it is important to avoid the temptation to work late into the night. Business owners are used to working evenings and weekends but tiredness can damage productivity and affect mental health. Establishing a strict “screens off” time will aid relaxation and avoid other team members feeling they need to always be on.
Forge open lines of communication
Each of your team members will have a different domestic scenario and without conversation, won’t understand how colleagues may be facing different challenges and pressures while at home. Encourage a regular “Life” item on the agenda for team meetings, so that everyone can give a short update on what they are struggling with or what they enjoy about being at home. Use messaging platforms such as Slack to update team members with ad hoc distractions, such as “Working with toddlers”, this ensures they know you may not be able to take calls or respond to emails as quickly as usual.
Let go of the small stuff
Some days are going to be unproductive, we are all stressed and exhausted by life, and even the most motivated of people find themselves struggling some days. Avoid mental burnout and allow yourself to feel these emotions and be kind to yourself. Within teams, pair colleagues living in similar roles or situations up to have regular check-in chats so they can support each other or have someone to turn to. Equally, as a business owner, don’t try to manage alone. Reach out to a friend, a colleague or a family member if you are in need of emotional support, because times are tough and communication is key.