Executive Voices 3 mins read

How to Stay Sane While Working from Home

For many of you, working from home is business as usual. But for others this is an entirely new situation – business as unusual. Here’s how to cope.

Dr. Elke Frank Dr. Elke Frank

The past few weeks have radically reshaped our world, and one of the biggest changes is that most of us are now working from home.

It is one thing to have the flexibility to work from home when you want to but being forced to do it all the time is another thing altogether. I had many concerns when I moved my entire office 100% into my home: How can I support my team adequately? How will it be working side by side with my husband? What if my set-up at home crashes the entire Software AG Network!?

For many of you, working from home is business as usual. But for others this is an entirely new situation – business as unusual. But if we keep certain things in mind, I think we in HR can help our colleagues to cope with the situation.

I have gained some new insights and learned some lessons about working from home. I’m happy to share these tips and tricks with all of you to help you – and your staff – to get through this more easily.

Here is what we are advising our colleagues to help them get through this:

Go easy. Working from home can be a big transition. You may feel many different emotions at the same time lonely, isolated, stressed, frustrated, unmotivated – to possibly relaxed, energized or productive. Your colleagues are going through the same things, so go easy on them and on yourself.

Clarify ground rules. Establish clear guidance on your workspace at home. Talk to your family members or people you live with and let them know the hours you’ll be working from home. Set up ground rules to ensure you’re not interrupted during those hours.

Maintain contact. Tell your team how and when they can reach you. If you manage people, it’s important they know your preferred communication tool. Let your team know if they should they use email, Skype, Microsoft Teams, text message. It’s also important to provide the right guidance and boundaries for your employees and colleagues, especially if you work in different time zones.

To-do list. Write one each day and cross off what you have achieved at the end of it. You’ll be surprised to see how much you achieved. And remember to treat yourself afterwards (a glass of wine is my choice!).

Schedule breaks: Go for a stroll, walk around your home while chatting on the phone with a friend. Take your lunch somewhere else rather than at your desk. A change of scenery can do wonders to your motivation and your productivity.

Look the part: Wear one set of clothes while you work, and then change into different clothes at the end of your workday. Put on your comfy sweatpants, or your lounging-about-the-house clothes. This distinguishes between work and your home life.

Wake-up call: Set designated hours to start and end to your day. Set your alarm an hour before you’re due to shut down so you know this is the point when anything urgent must be finalized. Do the same for a finish time. Shut down your PC – don’t just set it on sleep mode!

Chat to colleagues: Since you won’t be able to bump into your colleagues in the office, canteen, or parking lot, try to make time for them – text them, call them, share non-related work stories, ask how people are doing.

Stay safe.