Understand the challenges of working from home and easily manage it with these tips.
Since working from home became omnipresent, many companies increased their focus on tracking time even more. Rules related to business hours got reinforced, or new ones such as a response time of 5 minutes on chat messages or emails got introduced. Such practices can lead to stress, frustration and demotivation because the lack of trust becomes even more visible. Furthermore, mistakes and time wasted increase due to new challenges which arise with home working, as the lack of boundaries between personal and work life.
Especially during the Corona crisis, many of us faced challenges and distractions like our families, flatmates and pets because everyone was at home all the time. People develop new routines and re-discover personal preferences like their most productive working hours or environments that help them concentrate fully.
Shift the focus on results
Due to all the reasons above, consider focusing on results instead of time. That mindset change increases commitment and motivation since working hours can be adjusted to personal circumstances and needs. Furthermore, a focus on results leads to clear goals and objectives, improving communication. On top of that, it is a lot more fun for everyone! To change the focus from time to results is only possible when everyone is committed to their work. Commitment can be created and increased with the following approaches:
Regular planning meetings (e.g. weekly) are necessary for fostering the employees' commitment. In such meetings, the team discusses goals, objectives and future work, big workloads are split into smaller tasks, and the overall focus is on results and outcomes. Planning meetings should ideally happen at the beginning of each week to add further impetus. A quick and fun check-in exercise you can do to bring the team closer together and prepare them for the upcoming week could be to share how everybody's weekend went, with all its ups and downs.
Create a To-Do List
As soon as the objectives are clear and smaller tasks are created, the team decides on the number of work items they believe they can tackle until the next planning meeting. The group pulls these tasks into their To-Do list for the upcoming week. To better facilitate the process and give further clarity, you can implement an online Kanban board. These boards visualize who is responsible for which task, and everybody can easily see the team's progress. A simple Kanban Board has columns like Backlog (for all the tasks that should be done at some point), To-Do (tasks that should be done until the next planning meeting), In progress (tasks that people are currently working on) and Done (tasks that are already done).
Regular very short sync meetings foster additional communication and alignment. In such sessions, every team member states in a few sentences their working progress and issues that prevent them from finishing their tasks on time. This short exchange provides transparency and creates further commitment. You can organize those meetings daily but keep them to a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes.
It can be challenging to shift the focus from obsessively tracking the employees' working time to achieved goals and results. However, it is worth trying because the benefits are numerous and will make everybody's job easier!