By now you have probably been working from home for about five to six weeks. While it may not be the first time you are working from home, you may be feeling even more lonely, stressed or anxious. Living through a pandemic is stressful enough then adding in that extra layer of bringing everything in your life into your home can add to it. Some are juggling running a company, homeschooling, raising children and taking care of a household while others haven’t talked to human a real human in weeks.
Even before stay-at-home orders were placed, a Cigna study revealed that 61% of Americans were lonely in the workplace. Which could contribute to the work-life imbalance, but working from home doesn’t help the cause. Homeworkers reportedly have a harder time separating their work and life needs, creating space for their work inside their homes and creating boundaries around when to turn off work. So how can you stay positive while working from home and how can leaders create a culture of positivity?
“Working from home has always come with it’s own set of challenges and especially now when many of us are juggling house chores, taking care of our kids, cooking, laundry, homeschooling all while attempting to work from home … the challenge is heightened, and that is an understatement! The most important one is trying to remain open, flexible and compassionate with yourself and those you are isolating with,” says Dr. Deepika Chopra, OPTIMISM DOCTOR®️, Professional Psychologist + Founder of Things Are Looking Up™️. Having said that here are some suggestions that can help to increase positivity and productivity.
Establish Open Lines Of Communication
Ali Grant, founder of Be Social, has found establishing open lines of communication as a leader to be vital to her team while working from home. “To be frank, it is difficult. This is an incredibly challenging time for many, both professionally and personally. I’ve been focusing on leading with compassion with a concerted effort on transparency. Your team is looking to you for the next course of action and there’s an overwhelming amount of uncertainty, so open communication is key. Keep active in Slack channels, hold weekly conference calls, encourage one on one conversations and just keep the dialogue going. The more accessible you are to your team, the better,” said Grant.
Additionally, Grant has started every work week with an all-hands conference call to set the tone and have select members share an inspirational quote to boost the morale. “We’re trying to get creative in adjusting our normal weekly meetings as they tend to quickly feel lackluster without in-person dialogue, so we’re starting with changing the formats, adding video, and allowing everyone have some floor time to speak. Communication is key, so have set calls weekly and agendas set beforehand,” she adds.
Bond With Your Team
If you are an executive or manager integrate fun virtual activities where your team can still bond and keep work relationships. Raina Penchansky, Co-Founder & CEO of Digital Brand Architects, has found staying connected by creating time for her team to bond has led to a culture of positivity. “The DBA team is incredibly connected during normal times so it was really important for us to immediately identify ways to stay connected virtually. For me the key to positivity is the balance of honesty and empathy. Some days aren’t going to be easy and it’s important to be honest with yourself and the people around you in those moments. Always be empathetic, you never know what someone else is going through and I think being kind and compassionate to people while creating that energy of good will is the best way to keep things positive,” says Penchansky.
Throughout the week Penchansky frequently sends out emails with stories, quotes and anecdotes along with featuring DBA team guest editors who share their personal experiences around strength and positivity. “We do weekly live work outs as a team often led by one of our clients on Instagram Live. Every Friday our team is randomly separated into different groups where they get to know each other during a virtual happy hour. This week we’re launching the DBA office party where we will have 14 different zoom office parties at the same time as a way to connect with people outside our own team,” Penchasnky explains.
Tap Into Your Community
In times of isolation, tapping into your community is more important than eve