Although many people have worked from home for many years, since 2020 it has become far more common. Home working has been a new experience for both organisations and employees.
Many people are now moving to a hybrid working model, with days in the office and days at home. This may change the dynamic for both home and work life again and it is worth pausing to reflect on how you are working.
Reflect on your relationships
Many people are now working in teams where they haven’t met fellow team members or even their line manager.
Investment in both your professional relationships and personal relationships is time well spent. Slot in regular virtual coffee breaks with colleagues as and invest in time with your team which isn’t just focused on work delivery.
Remote working can lead to less time spent on developing relationships outside of your direct team. Support your personal development by learning more about others work and looking for opportunities to network either formally through ‘lunch-and-learns’ or by contacting others to learn more about their work and to have a chat will lead to a greater depth of understanding and an enhanced organisational network.
Consider setting up a random coffee club where staff are matched together for a 30 minute coffee break. It’s a great way to expand your network and learn more about the work of your organisation”
Plan your work to suit your location
If you are working a hybrid pattern, consider grouping meetings and appointments together to suit your location. For example, a collaborative brainstorm may work well at the office but writing up the proposal following this could be a task better completed at home. This allows you to invest the time into relationships when you are together and allows you the quiet space to perhaps have video calls, undertake online training, and work on solo tasks at home.
When moving between home and office you should be provided with the right equipment to enable you to work at each location, and ensure both home and office are a comfortable working environment. Ideally, you will be able to seamlessly move between the two.
Whether you work at home all the time or mix your locations it is worth taking time to reflect on your working space, whether you have enough light, can block off distractions and can, where possible, move away from the work space when you are not working.
Making hybrid meetings inclusive
As more people return to the office its likely meetings will become mixed between those working remotely and a collection of people in the office. Discuss with your colleagues whether it would be better for some meetings to be held from individual’s desks or whether those in the office attendees should meet together with the remote workers being streamed in.
You will need to consider what IT equipment is needed to do this, like microphone extensions and a large monitor but take time to also agree the etiquette for hybrid meetings. This will help an inclusive and open working environment where everyone has the opportunity to contribute regardless of location.
Read top tips for hybrid meetings (via CIPD)
Consider when you are available
Remote working means we can access work at all times. This can increase the feeling of needing to respond instantly and encourage presenteeism. Taking time to make a tea or coffee, or a have a walk at lunch time is important. It will give you both time to switch off but also time to process what is happening at work.
With working at home, the boundary between home and work life has also become more blurred for many. Try to keep to a start time and end time for work and mark the end of your working day through routine, perhaps a walk, exercise or practising a hobby to demarcate the end of the day. Taking time away from email or instant messages can give you time to think and work without distractions. Either block time out or let your team know that you aren’t available.
I have bought a bag of duck food and take a walk every day to feed the ducks and have time away from my desk. Before I did this I was working without breaks all day’.
Invest in your professional development
Continuing Professional Development is important at all career stages, providing a structured and purposeful way to maintain and improve your knowledge, skills and professional qualities. The shift to remote working has increased the chance to engage in remote professional development. However, when logged in remotely it is easy to deprioritise time for learning. To counteract this, review your objectives for each CPD activity when signing up. By having a clear goal you are more likely to attend and learn from CPD you attend.
Finally, leave time for reflective practice for each piece of CPD. This will increase the impact of the time spent on development and give direction to your training plan.