In recent weeks many of us have experienced smart working for the first time, a new way of working, also called “agile” or, simply, “at home”.
For many professionals, this is the habit, but for many Companies, this method is usually applied only for limited periods, or only a few days a week.
Also here in Fandis we have experienced that, and we have collected some suggestions from our employees and collaborators to make smart working really smart.
Unfortunately, we know we have to spend a lot of time at home, so the first advice is to delimit, if possible, a well-defined space where you can place your computer, telephone, agenda and any other tool that may serve your work. Choose a well-lit room, near a window, so as to limit the sense of imprisonment, and… a suitable chair! The temptation to work with the laptop on the sofa will be high, but you will only be uncomfortable and more easily distracted.
Hours, breaks and weekends
Try to keep your usual working hours and communicate them with precision to the other inhabitants of the house, asking not to be disturbed… even if it will not be so easy, we know it well!
If you used to have coffee with your colleagues in the office, in the morning or mid-afternoon, do the same, perhaps by having a chat with your family, taking advantage to call your friends, or maybe your colleagues. You could even make arrangements by email and find yourself virtually for a coffee break!
Don’t make the break last hours, however, or you’ll pay the consequences at the end of the day.
Then, rigorously, turn off your computer at the set time, silence notifications to emails even on your mobile phone, and try to keep these good intentions even during the weekend. By setting limits, you will work with more concentration and the next day, or on Monday, you will start more easily.
Priorities and distractions in smart working
Give yourself an agenda and priorities: this is a good rule to keep in mind even when you will return to your office. If your duties allow you, dedicate the first and last half hour of the morning and afternoon to emails, phone calls and planning the day, distributing the tasks by priority or by the variety in the remaining hours. Without constant notifications and distractions, you will work with more concentration and the variety in the tasks will make you less bored. If you are used to working listening to music, do it, but it is recommended to keep the TV off!
Smart school vs. smart working
Children and teenagers are not going to school and many parents are working from home. It is, therefore, necessary to share computers, internet connection, and spaces. And those with more than one child must equip themselves with PCs, tablets, smartphones, printers to ensure access to video lessons, e-learning platforms, electronic registers where assignments, handouts, audio files, etc. are loaded, supporting the younger in accessing new technologies. How to survive both smart school and smart working? According to many parents, the first few days were a real delirium, then slowly a balance has been found. Also in this case, a good organization is needed so that the experience of agile work is positive for family management! We don’t pretend to know: among the real heroes of this period there are also smart workers mums who, in addition to work commitments, are divided between household activities, meal preparation, homeworks and platforms for distance learning, all without neglecting the emotional and entertainment component of children: in short, a real challenge! Let’s remember more often to lend a hand, and to applause them too!
Staying at home, with the inability to move and go to the gym, necessarily leads to getting lazy. If you have never been a sportsman, there is no need to become one these days, also risking painful muscle contractures! Rather, choose to dedicate at least part of the time you normally used to reach the workplace for light physical activity: set the alarm clock at the usual time, and do some stretching or yoga to start and end the day well.
If you are sporty types, however, you will already know that there are many gyms and professional coaches that offer online courses and challenges to not lose good habits!
Smart food vs. smart working
You will have noticed that food is taking on fundamental importance these days! Given the need to stay at home as much as possible, a good meal planning will also be useful for making a more intelligent and lasting shopping. Calendar in hand, refrigerator and pantry open, let’s program all the week, distributing food by type of conservation and expiry date, trying to give as much variety as possible to your days. Above all, plan healthy, nutritious but quick lunches that will not let you fall asleep in the afternoon and that don’t take you too long in the kitchen, leaving your culinary experiments for dinner. Then, avoiding unhealthy snacks should always apply, not just in quarantine!
Leadership and responsibility
If you play a role of responsibility, you will have noticed that it is not so easy to maintain leadership at a distance. Don’t overwhelm your employees with emails, requests, surprise calls and deadlines. Establish a weekly plan, perhaps through a scheduled video conference, which also gives space for non-verbal communication, rather than an aseptic list of tasks, and assign measurable objectives. Although it will be difficult for many, delegating and trusting your collaborators will make them work more serenely and with greater responsibility, specifying that you will still be available to give help or clarifications.
In a difficult moment like this, let’s not forget that empathy and listening can be very important to strengthen working relationships, therefore, also allow yourself a space to socialize or simply to ask “how are you?”. And respect for working hours, even if there is confidence.