Working From Home, Effectively

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Working From Home, Effectively

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We’ve all discovered lots of new things through the pandemic about how we work, and they are slowly starting to show themselves. Asking ourselves what we have learned is the best way to explore this new situation and improve the way we work. If we don’t ask questions, we risk not seeing what’s right in front of us.

One observation I’ve made is the importance of ‘coffee’, and what this really means when we work in the office. A few weeks ago, after a strangely unproductive and tense conference call, I instinctively asked everyone to put a weekly coffee break in the calendar with each other.

I felt that’s what they were missing: talking about something else, about us, about nothing in particular. It’s a chance to strengthen their identities that would be shattered if they only considered work.

This is just one piece of a very complicated puzzle. How else can we work effectively from home and retain our sanity, whilst also developing ourselves professionally?

At Life Based Value, there are years of research in our training programmes that aim to harness the skills from key life transitions, and we have a new program on the horizon specifically for the return to work - ‘Lifeed for crisis’ - helping people to become more aware of the development that can emerge from this time, particularly on resourcefulness, open mindedness, and skill development.

From this knowledge, here are 10 tips for organising your ‘teams’ at home, whether that be work colleagues or your family ecosystem.

The first 4 stem from classic theory management:

  • Acknowledge that you need to reorganise to function healthily.
  • Involve everyone wherever you can. At work, this can be making sure everyone is on a daily team call, and at home, this can be making sure everyone gets around a table together.
  • Identify each individuals talent and opportunities, and where they can specifically help.
  • Empower everyone: assign tasks to them, motivate them, check and incentivise them.
  • Remember that this is a good chance to discover new challenges and opportunities, seek them out!

Then there are three things from the science that are more specific to men and women:

  • Women must not automatically overload themselves out of habit.
  • Instead, it’s an opportunity for women to delegate more.
  • Men must channel their survival instincts to fully regain their role and responsibilities that they might have subconsciously let slide.

Finally, there are 2 suggestions that are valid for everyone - sometimes we can forget them when we are running on autopilot. Now we have the chance to be able to give them some attention:

  • Whatever your responsibilities and activities are, it’s essential to recognise that you also need time for yourself, otherwise the situation will quickly become unsustainable. Me-time and self-care always come last place in our lives. But if we don’t create and defend this space for ourselves, our ability to manage other things will suffer.
  • We need to reduce physical contact with other people. But the human species needs physical contact to boost our psychological and emotional wellbeing. So, if you can, hug and love the people you’re living with even more than usual, to compensate for the closeness we are all missing at the moment.

On top of all these tips, practicing a skill we call ‘transillience’ may be the most important skill to nurture.

What is this?

Many people relate to the term ‘multi-tasking’. It’s a concept that requires a lot of effort and is really hard to achieve, and often leaves us more stressed and accomplishing less. For example, you may juggle working with being a carer, and now find yourself trying to do both at once.

Transillience is the idea that people can transfer resources and soft skills from one role to another in life, increasing their efficiency across the board. The results can be truly surprising.

Our culture pushes us to separate our different roles, identities and actions into different contexts, stemming from the concept of ‘work-life balance’.

Using the same example, we had to talk about ‘balancing’ the two different areas, with care mostly pushed into the sidelines. Now we are realising (in a painful way) that if we don’t care for each other, nothing is possible - and the pandemic has highlighted this concept.

This doesn’t have to be the case. Transilience is a way of activating existing skills and resources that may have previously been ignored in certain contexts, taking those skills from one area into another, through experimentation and adopting behaviours in different contexts.

So how can we apply transilience when working from home? Perhaps your son has been training your persuasion skills at home and you could adapt them to present your latest project to your boss.

If you’ve gone through problem complex solving training at work, the learnings could help you to calmly resolve conflicts in the family context. Maybe you have divided and shared housekeeping tasks with your partner and need to channel those same delegation skills amongst your team.

The more you use transilience, the more it will improve your efficiency and relieve your stress.

Riccarda Zezza, Founder of Life Based Value. Life Based Value is an EdTech Company that unlocks life’s learning potential by transforming employees’ life transitions into resources for business.

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Working From Home, Effectively

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