With a growing number of employees encouraged or directed to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak, the largest work-from-home experiment is testing Australian businesses and employees.
Having worked remotely for over ten years, my team at Informed 365 have become highly skilled at maintaining a success business with high productivity. All while securing big name clients like the Property Council of Australia and Michael Hill, from our own homes.
We are fortunate that our work, which is the development of software applications in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) space, allows us to run our operations virtually. We provide software applications to organisations for ethical supply chain management (including Modern Slavery), Business Intelligence and Climate Change resilience and adaptation.
Studies show working from home can lead to increased productivity, if employees work smarter. However, working smarter can be difficult for the ad hoc home offices being set up across Australia, with countless distractions including kids, pets, television and the comfort of your own bed, all beckoning your name.
There are two key considerations when working successfully from home
A. Discipline and;
Self-discipline can sound harsh, however at its core this just means training yourself to do the right thing. We allow our team members to work by their own rules, if they are still working. This allows our staff to sign in for the hours that work best for them – this may be beginning early in the morning or splitting your day into two chunks with a long break in the middle. So long as we are seeing the team perform within these hours, we are succeeding.
Discipline also extends to distractions. As touched on earlier, there are a myriad of “things” to do at home, whether it be getting caught up in a book or “procrasti-baking”. Some simple ways I’ve found to help eliminate distraction are:
Keep your workspace free and tidy – this includes removing books, the TV remote and even your phone. The less around you, the clearer your mind will be.
Keep the TV and radio off – external chatter can cloud your thoughts and make it hard to concentrate.
Set aside clear working hours – wake up with an idea of how your day looks, whether that’s 9-5 or a variation. Allow time for one or two reasonable breaks to get away from your screen and stick to it.
Pet time is out of work hours – our furry friends can be a huge source of distraction. Try to keep your pets out of your workspace – we know it’s hard to say no to those puppy dog eyes!
Set aside time for emails and digital communication – it’s important to stay connected with your team, but emails and online chat groups can take up a lot of time. Set aside a few windows of time each day to check communication so you aren’t continuously being taken away from the task at hand.
Work to a deadline – internal KPI’s (key performance indicators) and time limits can push you to complete tasks more efficiently. Creating a checklist can help break up the day, while allowing gaps in between to go grab lunch, make a coffee, pat the dog or take a walk, so you don’t feel the need to mid-task.
Our team can separate these activities from work due to our positive and flexible culture which has been built on a foundation of honesty. The Informed 365 team respect and honour the benefits of flexible working and in turn, I know I can trust them to do the right thing. If all parties are on the same page, working remotely provides incredible benefits such as no commute to work, no office space rental costs, location flexibility extending onto the opportunity to work with staff we may not get to if we had a home base.
While the country continues to migrate home for the time being, I recommend adapting to your environment and creating a space that works best for you. Natural light, plants, strong internet access and a segregated office space will get you a little further as you fit your working life into your personal life.
About Nicholas Bernhardt
With a passion for sustainable workplaces and positive world change, Nicholas started Informed 365 after seeing a disconnect in organisation’s corporate social responsibility and the tools at their disposal to harness and understand data. Informed 365 is now the leading tech solution for over 3,000 Australian companies legally required to report under the Modern Slavery Act with high-profile clients such as the Property Council of Australia, Zoo’s Victoria and Michael Hill.