Align Expectations With Employer
Due to COVID-19 hundreds of thousands of employees are now working from home. This is really exciting! Not only does it keep people safe, but it will allow employees and employers to discuss the benefits of working flexibly and remotely to best suit their needs and increase work/life balance.
Despite this good news, working from home can also be really tough – especially right now. We have put together this hopeful guide to navigate through working from home.
For us here at Resolution123, working from home is nothing new. Our team works flexibly and remotely every week and we are experts!
For others, this may be the first time they have worked from home in their careers. Regardless of your position or employer, the most important tip moving into this period is to be on the same page as your employer about expectations and responsibilities. Communication and patience are key! We recommend you have discussions with your employer about some of the following:
- Hours of work;
- How you will be contactable while working from home;
- Arrangements that need to be made for childcare or schooling; and
- Timelines for projects that may be urgent or delayed due to COVID-19.
The current environment is unprecedented and challenging for both employees and employers. Honesty and transparency are important to keep conflict to a minimum, as well as an understanding and appreciation for the uncertainty in these current times. Cooperation is key, and we encourage you to raise ideas with your employer as to how to best manage the next few months.
Make sure workplace suits you
An employer has a duty of care over an employee to provide them with a safe work environment, and an employee must also do what is necessary to assist with this. If your workplace is at home, it must be safe.
We recommend reading about working safely from home here, but some goods tips are:
- Make sure your setup is comfortable and safe, ideally with access to natural light and air circulation;
- Ensure that you have necessary equipment, and consult your employer’s policies about expenses and paying for WFH equipment. Don’t forget you can also include some working from home expenses into your tax return; and
- If your work is confidential in nature, make sure you have the appropriate precautions set in place to protect this.
Establish work patterns that are healthy and productive
Think about your work pattern during the day in a “normal” workplace. Do you stop to chat with colleagues? Walk around the corner for a coffee? Get up and stretch your legs for lunch? This little breaks in our day are important; they keep us sane and allow us to be more productive throughout.
We recommend you build breaks into your day to ensure you are taking time away from work. It may help to discuss with your employer hours that are different from 9-5pm, or to book in regular catchups with your team on Zoom or Hangouts to maintain and enjoy connections with co-workers.
Many employers believe that working from home is not as productive as working from the office. This is not true! Already, Resolution123 has heard about employers taking performance management action against employees who are working from home under the guise that they are not being productive.
Remember, in the time of COVID-19 the protections for employees have not changed. All performance management must be reasonable and done in a lawful manner. You can read more here.
If you believe there are factors that may make you less productive at work (for example, carer’s responsibilities) you should discuss this with your employer and try to find solutions to work around this.
Balance and boundaries
Most importantly, we need to be taking care of ourselves. Working from home is not a reason to work for 24 hours per day. It is important to put distance between work and home (even if that is geographically impossible right now). Rest and relaxation are really important, even more so at the moment. Do not let working from home impact on these, or get in the way of your right to not work excessive hours.
Work at maintaining balance and boundaries by:
- Regular exercise – whether in at the beginning, middle or end of the day;
- Try to work away from parts of the home you regularly relax (i.e. in bed, in front of the TV) and to keep work materials and setup seperate;
- Carve out time to spend with family and friends (remotely of course); and
- Continue to do the things you love whether that’s reading, cooking or basket weaving.