Supported, connected, focused: 3 ways to work from home

Supported, connected, focused: 3 ways to work from home

It’s been a week and in that time the world where I live has changed. NKD have been lucky. We’re still working, albeit differently. We still have an office, albeit virtual. And most importantly, we still have each other.

What’s helping is an unofficial team commitment to three ways of being that I’d love to carry forward to the ‘new normal’ once we’ve made it through this unprecedented experience. For our NKD family, making working from home work for us is about being:

  1. Connected
  2. Supported
  3. Focused

Staying Connected

Our purpose is all about making the world of work better. Yet, in the (recent) past we resisted working from home because we valued the energy and creativity of having the team together in one place. I can’t imagine ever losing that appreciation of being “together together”, but it surprised me quite how connected I feel when operating virtually. 

Our team culture at NKD is the best I’ve ever experienced in 25 years of work. Even so, in a fast-paced agency it’s easy to always put client needs first, to prioritise a project over a conversation with a colleague. Seeing each other online in their own homes reminds you that life is more than work and people are more than the jobs they do. It’s a reminder to check-in with people before process, talk before task. And, of course, it’s the people that do the work. Take care of them and the work comes naturally.

That we can be connected virtually is a gift. We took a lot of care to make sure everyone was set-up to work comfortably at home, whether it’s training on the virtual office tools, supplying wifi boosters, or advice about how to keep energised or how to keep your spirits up. But what I have valued most is that we’ve considered the social, psychological and emotional impact of this change too…. 

Staying Supported

Love is more powerful than fear. Right now, I think the one thing that any team leader, team member or friend can do is make that extra effort to show how much you care. And if you think of someone whilst working from home, drop them a chat while you’re thinking of them.

To help with the social, psychological and emotional impact, we all check-in online at the beginning of the day. The Whatsapp is crazy but it’s nice to know we’re all here! We’ve set up a cafe space in our virtual office where anyone can drop-in at any time to share the moments of connection we used to enjoy over a tea in our physical office. And we have a team “chat + connect” lunch every day. Building in these social meetings is just as important as keeping the momentum of work going when you are having a prolonged period of social distance.

It’s like we have a heightened sense of empathy. Working from home is highlighting that we are showing the kind of consideration that sometimes gets lost in the office – if someone is sick we stay in touch; if someone’s status says “not available”, people don’t interrupt; and if someone is talking, we stay on mute and give them the airtime they deserve! People are more choiceful around what they can solve themselves and what they come to others for.

As people get used to working in the virtual office, people are jumping in quickly to correct each other if they use the tech wrong. That in-the-moment navigation is super helpful in getting teams working well together and something that’s important to keep when we’re back to business as usual. We’re consciously learning together, and that is something I think is worth carrying forward to our new normal whenever we get there.

Staying Focused

We’ve agreed ways of working in the digital space which helped us offset teething problems and, so far at least, seem to be maximising productivity (I’ve only been in one meeting that has over-run and most are taking less time!). But I think we’ve all found individual ways to stay energised and focused. I have some new daily rituals involving yoga, intention setting, and sharing breakfast with the rest of my self-isolating household. Here’s what the rest of the NKD team are doing!

  • Keeping to my normal routine… I ‘walked to work’ today
  • Exercising during break time
  • Shutting down and packing work stuff away when I’m done 
  • Walking the dogs
  • Creating a reward for every task completed – even just a walk in the garden or a chocolate biscuit!
  • Doing 20 press-ups anytime I go into the kitchen
  • Stepping away from my laptop and doing some yoga 
  • Making sure I have my daily discipline but also getting away from the screen on a regular basis as we would do in the office. And keeping the quick chats going with people in MS Teams 
  • Regular check-ins, proper breaks and good playlists! 
  • Classic fm in the background
  • Music! Music! Music!
  • Reading for at least half an hour
  • Stopping for a lunch break and having my lunch in a different location
  • Muting certain notifications and group chats throughout the day
  • Taking a break by doing something out of the ordinary… A little bit of karaoke or a cheeky dance goes a long way! 
  • I put on a shirt today – my son asked if I was going into the office…and I said “yes”

There’s a theme here, right? Taking care of your personal wellbeing and integrating it into your working day. Definitely one to carry forward.

Staying connected, supported and focused makes it feel like we’re in this together. I am hugely grateful to have my NKD family around me at this time and value them more than ever.  But I miss them too. Here’s hoping that it won’t be too long before we can all welcome each other with literal rather than virtual hugs again soon.