Times are tough and now it’s all starting to feel ‘real’. The UK government have put us into ‘lockdown’ and quite rightly too – I’m not sure people understand the severity of the situation. The new guidelines state for businesses to allow their employees to work from home if they can. The majority of people here at Panda Creative are from a ‘self-employed’ background, so working from home is second nature to them – that’s why we’ve drafted together this helpful guide to ‘working from home‘ and how to cope.
Find yourself a quiet corner where you can set up a temporary office/desk space to allow you to work in a similar environment to the office. It’s always better to be near a window for some much needed natural light and vitamin D! Also, make sure you have a well supported comfy chair.
Get up and get ready for work at your usual time, try to keep consistency in your working day. Make sure always to eat a healthy breakfast and have a morning coffee.
Keep distractions at bay (like the TV), put on the radio or a Spotify playlist quietly in the background. If the kids are at home too, try to distract them with some ‘homeschooling’ work, or perhaps your partner can take it in turns to work/support.
Make sure to take enough screen time breaks throughout the day to ensure you stay fresh and keep hydrated with plenty of H2O.
If you can, be flexible with your time – you may find yourself having to work a certain amount of hours, but you can spread it over the course of the day and/or evening.
Make sure you stay structured, set goals and make a plan for the next day before you finish the current day. Keep a clean working environment.
Keep in touch with your colleagues when you can via Zoom or another virtual meeting app.
Stay healthy, exercise once during the day (Government guidelines) – why not take a lunch in the garden (if it’s sunny)?
One issue commonly experienced across many companies is monthly management meetings dragging on for far longer than necessary. This is normally driven by people bringing their ‘problems’ to the meeting and using the environment as a ‘problem solving playground’.
Some research shows that the common saying – ‘Bring Me Solutions, Not Problems’ is the wrong message as it can cause employees to shut down and refrain from bringing issues to attention.
We agree (partially), and we’ve formulated a better leadership approach…
1) Encourage your team to use a red flag system and highlight projects that require input from the management team to get them back on track.
2) Once highlighted, each manager should formulate the possible corrective action with 1, 2 or 3 solutions that the management team can discuss. This will keep the meeting on track and avoid the actual problem solving being done at the meeting. Having planned corrective actions, the management team can efficiently decide on the best route for getting the project back on track.
To lighten the mood, here’s a Dilbert comic strip we feel quite fitting…
Have you ever heard of the saying “girls are better at multitasking than boys”? Well, studies show that multitasking isn’t the best for productivity. Multitasking leads to a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress and a 10% drop in IQ!
Does anyone ever settle down to get a task done and a co-worker drops by for a ‘quick chat’? Every time you’re interrupted, it takes 15 minutes to get re-focused and your head back in the game. On average we’re distracted once every 11 minutes throughout a working day.
So, we’ve established multitasking isn’t good for us. What can I do about it I hear you ask?
One way to cut through the distractions is to master a practice called ‘Deep Work’.
There are 3 methods of Deep Work…
Monastic – this practice of Deep Work involves you taking yourself away from the world completely and focus solely on the task at hand. Find a quiet place and stay there.
Bi-modal – for this way of Deep Work you need to split your day into two halves. Spend half the day battling emails, social media, and all that other annoying stuff and spend the other half with no distractions at all.
Rhythmic – this practice is best for those of us who struggle to spend large amounts of our time away from our desks. Block out 90-minute chunks throughout the week for focused Deep Work sessions.
So settle down, get focused and take some time to create something spectacular.
For some of us the struggle to work efficiently is hard. With the stresses of multiple dead lines and projects, we jump from task to task constantly switching the gears in our brains. But did you know… the high cost of multi-tasking = a 40% loss in productivity.
At Panda we live by these rules (set by Peter Fischli & David Weiss with a twist) for a better working environment…
Do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking just isn’t productive… tackle each task one at a time.
Know the problem & understand it.
Learn to listen. A lot problems derive from lack of listening.
Learn to ask questions and ask them. Don’t be afraid!
Distinguish sense from nonsense. There’s a lot of nonsense out there.
Accept that change is inevitable, it is going to happen.
Admit mistakes. Hard I know, but trust me it’s easier.