Over the past few weeks, many of us have been finding our rhythm as to how we best work remotely. We have been discovering the benefits of not having to travel to the office, embracing the challenges of technology, spending more time with our families and determining the balance between the different requirements of individuals in our respective teams. This change to remote working has been supported by our employers sharing techniques and skills to get our desks & technology set up for remote collaboration, taking regular breaks and providing skills to help manage your workday and stay job organised.
However, it feels like something is missing…..where are the techniques and skills on how to manage the fine balance between work and personal relationships when you’re work is located 24/7 in a shared personal space??!
Some of the challenges I am hearing from clients:
- Work is spilling over into home life and vice versa
- My partner and I have conflicting thinking and workstyles
- I can’t share my workspace
- We compete between who gets to use the better work/study space
- My partner says their work agenda is more important than mine
- I earn/work/more senior….my work at home should take priority
- Just because I’m home, doesn’t mean I’m available to…..<insert task here!!>
- There are so many interruptions – even just noise!
- All my positive energy goes in to work – I don’t have positive energy for home
- Video Conference fatigue
- How do I manage the time division of shared work…and not feel guilty e.g. Morning/Afternoon kids home from school etc
- I am quick to hold myself to professional conduct with work colleagues but not with my family
It’s not surprising tensions might be running high at home, but you are not “home alone”! For many of us it is a simple case of partners and family member interactions increasing without any adjustment prior to when we didn’t all work and live together in the same space!
Let’s talk about some adjustment’s we can make working from home, that work for everyone:
- Have an honest conversation about your differences and what this means to each of you. When conflicts arise, you’ll have a better understanding of where the other is coming from. Manage expectations and resolve conflicts early.
- Set up designated workspace that works for each of you. If you share space, then agree boundaries around what is ok and not ok. This could be anything from a clean desk policy and rotating shifts between dining room table and study/office, to wearing headphones when on conference/video calls.
- Master prioritisation and scheduling – including work, self and family time. Identifying the things, you need to do, when you need to do them is a discipline worth mastering. What does an ideal week/day look like and how can you communicate this effectively to your team to ensure you are clear about your availability as opposed to family priorities? Check out some templates here.
- Take time to reflect each day – what is working/not working? What is in your control or influence to adjust? Remember to share your thoughts with others in your shared space.
While working at home will remain a worthwhile arrangement for organisations and employees well beyond 2020, we need to be mindful that in order to gain the benefits, we need to prepare ourselves for the increased demands on our relationship skills in our home/work environment
There are many things on offer to help. If you’d like to improve the way you are working from home for everyone, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Fiona McAllister