Establish a pre-work routine and an after-work routine. Working in the same place where you wake up, eat, and sleep can make anyone go crazy without proper boundaries in place” – Marissa Owens


Many employers have put plans in place for their employees to work remotely but this can be a challenging task especially if you have children and family as a distraction.  Employers need the productivity to continue to bill and ensure employees get paid.  Excellent communication during these trying times is critical for both parties.  Employers are stressed with income being non-existent or none at all and employees are just as stressed with the fear of no income and not being as productive as the employer would like them to be.  Honesty is the best policy in both cases and if employees are not coping or need to change their working hours around family, this needs to be by mutual agreement.

Below are a few tips to help employees be as productive as possible in the environment they have:

  • If possible find a quiet workspace and set it up as if you were at the office.  Keep personal stuff out of this space so your concentration is focussed on what you are doing. If possible make use of a room where you can close the door to drown out the outside sounds. Should a space alone not be possible, discuss working hours with the family and get them to buy into your working hours.
  • Set work hours and keep to them as far as possible. Keep a journal or diary of time spent on each task to ensure the required hours are worked in. If family is distracting, change your hours around them as they are also out of their comfort zone but ensure you keep your employer informed and be ethical.  Work in your time when the family is busy or the children are asleep. If you are not well, inform your employer and book the necessary sick leave for those hours or days. If you cannot keep to the hours, discuss the hours not worked as leave with your employer.
  • Communication is key during this time and ensure communication with staff and management is maintained. Use platforms such as Skype, Zoom or TEAMS to keep in contact but also phone to check on staff especially those that are alone or you know have family or personal problems.
  • With your workspace being only a few feet away, work may overtake any personal time you need to take, especially for workaholics or single people. Make sure breaks are taken and keep a bottle of water on your desk. Keep office hours unless a task has an important deadline and clock out and shut down at the end of hours worked.
  • Embrace the technology around you if you have it or research what would make working remotely easier for all. Turn video’s on so you get some face-time with your teams. Keep conference calls to a smaller audience to ensure questions and answers and everyone is included in the discussion. Record the meetings so that staff can watch later or send to staff that may not have been able to attend.
  • Be mindful of missed socialising in and about the office and set up a “virtual water cooler” where staff can connect and share funny stories or have a chat. Set up an up-beat committee to keep the fun happening and try and get as much participation as possible.
  • Any negative chatter on groups should be addressed immediately and the staff member contacted to find out if the problem can be solved or if they require any assistance.

Business owners need to ensure that communication across the company is vital for survival at this time.  Positive and reinforced input is essential for employees to understand their options and where to find assistance. Should the company have access to a medical aid, find out if they offer counselling during this time or research a good counsellor or life coach that can assist staff who are battling to cope during this time.

Collier is a trusted business partner throughout every industry and we have teams working throughout the shut-down period should you require advice or assistance.

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