We are officially past the halfway mark from CB so a huge congrats to everyone. Although we’ve been slowly adapting to this new normal that maybe just maybe might be a permanent structure in the future, we won’t deny it’s been a slight struggle. Thankfully (we are not complaining), the recent increase in demand for virtual team building has kept us on our feet, distracted and busy. So shoutout to our ever-supportive clients.
However, enough of our blabber and into the meat, here are 5 Common Work From Home Struggles our team has faced during this CB period and some of the ways we found to cope with it.
Working Too Much
When the Singapore government first announced the work from home measures as part of the Circuit Breaker, many people especially managers were very worried that without in-person oversight, many might slack off or productivity might drop drastically as a team.
What have we found? For most, they ended up working more because when hours, breaks and weekdays and weekends are blurred, it’s harder to switch off.
– Create a routine.
During the normal workday, set time for breaks and lunch. In the evenings after work, plan appointments or activities to (WITHIN YOUR HOME eg. cooking or exercise or even reading a book.).
PSA, in times like this, your mental and physical health is of utmost important and in fact, might help you in your productivity quest.
Getting Easily Distracted
This has been the most common one amongst our team. For many, the reality is that unless you have a private study, Work From Home tends to be in your bedroom or dining table. This means a bed and phone constantly fighting with your work for attention (on the contrary to point 1) and random family members looking for you or popping into your Zoom screen (PS. we each can now remember the voices of everyone’s family members)
– Set a sign or signal to let everyone know you are in focus mode and should not be disturb. For those with kids (Try getting them to do craft work whilst you work, we hear it’s a great distraction).
Nothing irritates someone more than when your wifi breakdown especially when you are in a Zoom meeting or trying to get an email out. With two outages by different service providers in the past month, we are crossing and praying there’ll be no more outages. Thankfully we haven’t had any computer hiccups so we won’t comment on that.
– We can’t help much with fixing your wifi so all we’ll say here is that if you do have troubles and need data instantly, try hot-spotting it on your phone but in case you are worried about a sudden data explosion, limit downloads of attachments within your emails through your mail settings and avoid watching videos.
The Loneliness & Isolation
This is probably the most common on all our lists.
a) Being cooped up at home.
b) Working alone or for some not being able to have an escape from your kids
Oh how we miss the days where we can randomly turn our back and ask a question or crack a joke.
– If you feel down, set a time a week to catch up with colleagues or check-in with them if they would like to work virtually with you. Knowing someone is there helps.
– If you’re a manager, organize a team sharing session or consider having a virtual team building session where you play a few quick online games like Skribbl just to boost everyone’s spirit. If you do want to go one step further and organize a professional virtual team-building experience, check out our very special rates we are offering during this Circuit Breaker and our Pay As You Can Initiative here.
Communicating virtually despite its perks has made discussions longer and frustrations rise and sometimes paranoia setting in.
With this, we’ll like to take a leaf out of the book (literally) from well-known tech firm founders of Basecamp Jason Fried & David Heinemeir as a reminder to all.
“When the bulk of your communication happens via email and the like, it doesn’t take much for bad blood to develop unless everyone is making their best effort to the contrary. Small misunderstandings that could have been nipped in the bud with the wink of an eye or a certain tone of voice can quickly snowball into drama.”
Our conclusion,remote communication is hard and requires time, patience and effort. Also, take note that not everyone might be comfortable in communicating through email so if they struggle, instead of being irritated, offer to help them out instead of give them space to share their views.
One final word before we end. Despite all the challenges of WFH, it’s been quite a unique and fun experience, a chance to do things differently and take a quick mental reset. so let’s count our blessings as well. Someday down the horizon, when work gets too busy or your colleague next to you is just a lil too intense for your liking we’ll probably look back and reminisce those WFH memories.