As the whole of the world has entered uncharted waters, businesses, particularly the SME’s RIKON typically works with are having to adapt to new ways of conducting their operations. The change can be more challenging for some than others, with many businesses struggling to survive and are forced to adapt. Although not all SME’s will have the luxury of allowing staff to work from home, it is important that where this is possible employers are aware of the challenges to be overcome.
Despite the focus on business processes, mental health is incredibly important at this time. It goes without saying, but the change in work arrangements, combined with the overall social atmosphere, can have negative effects on all of us. Therefore, it important to remember that this is a temporary stage and challenges associated with it are multi-sided. Let’s look at five factors that can smoothen the transition to working remotely:
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. It can be incredibly difficult to focus on the task at hand with all the distractions that happen at home. Accompanied by the sense of isolation, your motivation and productivity might suffer. It is certainly a big transition and it will take a bit of time for the new way of working to settle in. Don’t let it affect your mental health. Take a break if needed and gradually introduce a work routine you are comfortable with.
- Time management. Despite the convenience of working from home, this also means a more relaxed and casual environment. This can lead to lower productivity and some missed deadlines. Remember that even though you are at home, you are at work. Make sure to get up in the mornings to be at your workstation on time, be always available to be contacted, check your emails regularly, and plan out your day in advance. Take a break if you need it (and there will be many more breaks compared to a normal work routine) but try to stick to your working hours as much as possible.
- Controlled environment. This refers to the mention of distractions made in previous points. Yes, your home is not a purpose-build workplace, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it more suitable for conducting business. Inform your family members or roommates about your workhours and establish ground rules. Lock yourself in your office and stick “Please don’t disturb” sign on the door if it is required. Use your personal phone only for business. You won’t be able to eliminate all distractions, but you can make sure that there are less of them. Of course all this advice is null and void if you are caring for small children who pay no heed to these measures. But these are extraordinary times and childcare has fallen back on all workers – it has to take priority where no other choices exist.
- Communicate with your colleagues. Amanda Schumacher, a communication consultant advises…. “If you question whether your colleague will want to know something, share it”. Have your email always open and phone nearby. Schedule online conference calls regularly to maintain normal flow of work processes. Skype, Zoom, even WhatsApp can be used to liaise with your colleagues. Don’t be shy to propose unscheduled conference calls. Despite the advice for isolation, it is important to stay connected.
- Set clear goals. If you are a business owner or a manager, show leadership qualities. Let the team know what you expect of them and what objectives each one of them should be working towards during this time of crisis. Yes, there will be less accountability and productivity levels will suffer. It is easy to lose sight of goals and show signs of nonchalance but it’s your job to make sure you are still moving forward as an organization.
To reiterate once more – current situation is temporary and it is important to get through it not just as a functioning business, but as healthy members of public. This is the time where we come together as a community and make sure we are all doing well when it comes to both our health and finances. RIKON is still operating remotely and are happy to help any businesses that require advice and guidance in this difficult time. Look after yourself.