The Home Office – a new way of working
Hear about what our team has done to thrive while working from home
A New Beginning
Once upon a time, starting a new job and working from home did not go hand in hand. Now it is the norm, the new way of life after the last 2 years of many COVID induced, fast-paced changes. When starting my career, I never thought this would be how I would be introduced to a new workplace, meet my colleagues, and receive training for a new role – all remotely.
Here are some of our experiences and learnings during the big shift into remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working from home
Making your space yours
Having an employer that ensures you have everything you need to work remotely should never be taken for granted. Speaking up if you find you need something specific to you’re your environment more comfortable. Or start a Work from home chat group where team members can share their ideas and approaches to making the space yours.
Faulty and old equipment can seriously slow and hinder your ability to work. If you think your PC is slow then there are many online computer performance benchmarks that will help identify if it’s the computer, or your wifi that is the laggard. Alternatively you can check it out yourself using Task Manager – Performance, see this article from Microsoft for more information.
Designating a desk or table, sitting outside if it is an enjoyable day, having all the equipment, stationery, and items you need easily accessible is a good place to start.
Also think about the background you are sharing with others in online meetings – you can personalize these as well to share more of your personality It doesn’t have to cost a lot to make a space your own, and conducive to being able to focus.
What benefits do you have working from home vs working from an office?
The ability to do deep focused work without distractions. I am able to personalise my workspace to a very finetuned level and decorate the way I like, and have play breaks with my dog between meetings. It has been great to work flexibly with people in different time zones.
I love the amount of focus I get when WFH. I can really get into what needs to be done without distraction; especially if I turn off notifications and block out time in my diary. I can also focus on independent project work at a time that suits me; sometimes my most productive time is first thing in the morning before the day starts for others. I love having time for the incidental household chores; unpacking the dishwasher while waiting for the kettle to boil; putting on a casserole at lunch time; putting on a load of washing as I walk to my home office.
working from home
Finding a routine
How do you separate your work and home life when you are at home?
I have a notebook where I record my day. This includes breaks and start and end time; this allows me to be very clear about when I am working and when I am not. I can shut the door to my office when I have finished for the day. I can also shut the door to the family if I am working on something confidential or private. This also acts as a physical barrier from home life.
Ensuring you have a good work life balance is essential when working from home. There is no travelling to and from work to help you decompress, no commuters to chat to or colleagues to walk out of the office with.
Finding a good way to make the switch between work and home is different for everyone – putting a sign on the door when you’re in a meeting, being in the right clothes or mindset to be able to make the distinction and reduce the chance of interruption and disruption.
Having an employer that encourages flexibility to help balance your life is particularly important. You may have the choice about how often you come into the office, the ability to set your own hours, and care for others while working. Many of our team are parents, and this allows them to step in to help when needed during the day as well as be there for school drop-offs and pickups.
For some people this flexibility of working from home gives them the chance to do chores when they need some time to think away from their desk, or move into different scenery for a break. The flexibility of working from home and working out what routine is best is individual for everyone, and to manage your other commitments and work to accommodate each other.
working from home
Culture, communication & comradery
It is a difficult balance to be able to keep a company culture strong and thriving while working from home. The Accuteque team have been very welcoming especially when we were all working from home and had the major barrier of no physical office and no face-to-face interactions.
People leaders and team members have regular one on one check ins for workloads and wellbeing, and new starters receive welcome boxes of Accuteque goodies delivered to their door. Our stance of working together virtually continues to evolve, with our whole of business meetups during quieter work hours to encourage people to attend, we also now record it for those that miss out and want to catch up later.
The new regular session of an “hour of writing dangerously” has seen some of the team drop in to a session to do some ideation, writing and complete a feedback loop, with some working together and alone while still on the call. The small things of still being respectful of people’s time is also a big factor, and having our daily stand ups give everyone a sense of who has capacity, may be out for an appt or is on leave that day which reduces issues of miscommunication and betters everyone’s level of understanding.
What sort of culture do you think Accuteque has (with) a mainly remote team?
We have become very skilled at using collaboration tools – Teams, Sharepoint, Confluence. We are not constrained with the geographical location of team members – we have a coherent group identity whether we are in Queensland, Victoria, NSW or even overseas (like our colleague who recently went on a workcation). Our staff are able to balance work and life effectively as a default rather than an exception.
working from home
Your preference to work in the office, from home or a mixture of both is ultimately up to you. Finding a job, employer, manager, and environment that facilitates, listens, respects, and helps you make that preference possible is a keeper. The new ways of working post covid are certainly making a significant impact.
Read part of this blog about our experiences going back into the office here.