3 Challenges that come with Working From Home, and how we overcame them
Here in Hong Kong, the coronavirus outbreak has had a huge impact on everyone’s lives, one of those being how we work. A lot of companies, and even the government themselves, pushed out work from home schemes to better protect their employees.
But with no real transition period, a lot of people have been forced to adjust with working from home and collaborating with remote team-members for the first time. While some people have adjusted quite well, others have found it quite difficult to stay focused without supervision.
For us, since we work with teams from our Kuala Lumpur office on a regular basis in addition to having flexible work-from-home policies, transitioning to working at home from a full-time basis was relatively smooth and easy for us.
But getting to that point was a series of trial and error through obstacles. Here are 3 challenges that we faced, challenges that you’re probably facing right now if you’re working from home for the first time, and measures that we took to help overcome them!
Challenge #1: Getting in a working mindset while at home
When you’re at the office, you shift into work mode. Part of it is because your boss is looking over your shoulder, but another important part of it comes from the environment being centred around work. When at home, there are going to be a plethora of distractions available to deter you from actually focusing.
When working at home, get into the habit of creating a space where it’s dedicated to working, free from distractions. The more you optimise this space for work, the harder it will be for you to be side-tracked.
It might even help you to wear what you normally wear for the office before entering this space if you are someone who benefits a lot from structured routines.
Challenge #2 Keeping track of workflow processes and what everyone else is doing
For starters, like every other business on the block, we recommend using productivity tools to keep track to keep track of what team members are doing and when you could expect to have them submit deliverables.
However, productivity tools aren’t a magic solution. For us, keeping tracking of workflows and what everyone was doing wasn’t just a matter of choosing the right tools, but also making sure that a sense of self-accountability and constant sharing was part of our culture. This means that we hold regular “stand-up” meetings, meetings that are short enough that they can be held “standing” up, where everyone would give each their teammates updates on what they were working on. No matter where we were working from we would all at least be on the same page. We use the remote collaboration software tool, Remo, to hold these stand-up meetings. The software comes replete with webcams, chat boxes, and whiteboards for drawing and brainstorming, all on top of a fun background.
Challenge #3 Social Isolation and lack of teambuilding opportunities
If there is one thing that the entirety of human history and the explosive success of social media can tell us, it’s that we are social creatures. For us, this was a particularly difficult problem to solve because while most companies would host company events and dinners for team bonding, we all know that workplace relationships aren’t forged in those situations. Workplace situations are slowly built at random watercooler conversations and lunch gatherings.
So how did we get through this hump?
We mentioned that we used Remo earlier for meetings, but we also use Remo for random “watercooler style conversations”, particularly Friday’s. We also have a WhatsApp chat for relaxed company conversation, where generally anything goes.
Everyone in OMHK also games! Whether it be board games or online, we find ways to bond outside of work. Whether it be League of Legends or Monster Hunter World, OMHK finds new ways to create and strengthen bonds outside of the workplace (OM Malaysia had a Minecraft server!). While it might take some time for you to get used to, over time these activities will become more natural and less contrived.
Share With Us Your Ideas!
Are you reading this article while working from home? Share with us how you’re keeping productivity and sanity levels up while working from home!
If you are more of the sort to “work from home” at the Peak, you may want to consider someone to manage your social media presence. Consider OpenMinds!