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How can I start working from home today?

Part Two: Creating a healthy headspace and collaborative virtual workplace

At Job Pair we’re committed to helping Australians work flexible arrangements, including working remotely, in all sorts of positions and professions.

With the World Health Organisation declaring Coronavirus a pandemic, governments and organisations are taking precautions to keep our communities safe. Social distancing and working from home are some strategies being used to reduce the risk of Coronavirus spreading. Some studies show working from home can reduce the overall risk of infection of a virus in a workplace by 20-30%.

For many roles, working remotely is a responsible and necessary way to do your bit — and the good news is that it doesn’t need to be as daunting or isolating as it may seem.

So if you’re being advised to work from home, how can you start today? With more than a decade’s experience in working remotely and our team currently working from home, we share our top tips for creating a positive, healthy headspace.

These tips focus on adjusting your mindset and maintaining your emotional wellbeing while you work from home. For setting up your physical home workspace, see part one.

1. An open and positive mindset

“You can do it if you believe you can.”

— Napoleon Hill

The key to making working from home achievable is your mindset. It is different from working in an office. Believe you can work well from home and you’ll find that you can. While your workplace’s current situation might be highly disruptive, there are also great benefits to enjoy from working from home: no commute time, less interruptions, more focused work, greater flexibility in your work hours.

2. Trust is a must

Working remotely takes trust between you and your team. If you’re a team manager, adjusting to a remote workplace means trusting your team to independently do the work that is required. Trust and good communication go hand-in-hand. Having regular ‘team time’ video meetings to discuss daily tasks, weekly goals and long-term outcomes is one of the most effective ways to keep yourself and your team accountable.

3. Stay connected

If you enjoy a team environment, working from home can feel lonely. A regular ‘team time’ video meeting can help you to feel not only accountable but connected with your colleagues. Engage in office chit chat and relationship building, like you would in the office but via video calls, email, phone and instant message. While you might be experiencing feelings of loneliness, technology that enables social interaction are important tools to take advantage of during this time. There are many ways to stay connected with your team and customers including the tools mentioned in part one of 'How can I start working from home today?'.

4. Let go of the ‘guilty’ mentality

Working from home might make you feel like you’re slacking off. If you are used to a culture of hours in the office equals hours of output then it will likely take some adjusting. But this traditional attitude of ‘hours in the office totals output’ doesn’t automatically equal productive outcomes. Focus on your output, not the hours of work or time virtually meeting with others, and assess your productivity from there.

5. Feeling overwhelmed

With everything going on in the world right now, many are feeling overwhelmed. Switching to remote work, worry for loved-ones, unrelenting media coverage, disruptions to regular routines or even running out of toilet paper can all cause various levels of anxiety.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, establishing a new routine could be a helpful way to overcome some of these feelings. Read part one of this series to find out the physical tools you need to work from home. Aside from a regular work schedule, set aside times to talk with friends and family via video calls. You might find they also appreciate talking to you about how they feel.

If your mental health is suffering, seek support. Online counselling services like MindSpot (1800 61 44 34), Beyondblue (1300 22 4636), and Lifeline (13 43 57) are available.

6. Remember to switch off

If you’re not used to working from home, the line between personal and work time can become blurred. You may have sat down to work for the day and suddenly find it’s 5 o’clock. Set time frames for tasks, schedule a lunch break, and stick to them. Once you’ve finished for the day, small acts like these can help you separate your work and home time:

  • Make a physical “home time” by packing away your laptop and closing the door to your home office.

  • If you have a garden or balcony, get some air and soak up a bit of sunshine.

  • Move your body. If yoga is your thing, find some online tutorials. Or if the area you live in is less restricted, go for a walk outside and see some nature.

  • “Come home” by taking a shower or getting changed out of your work clothes into the relaxing clothes you wear around the house.

For tips on setting up your physical workspace, see part one of Job Pair’s ‘How can I start working from home today?’ series.

We're here to help employees and employers navigate implementing working from home and creating a productive, flexible workplace so if you have questions or need help please don't hesitate to contact us.

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