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Being in home office for more than a decade (fully at home – 600 km away from my (no longer existing physical) workplace in headquarters) – here are some tips, to make life better during Corona Isolation

Homeoffice Tips
Homeoffice Tips… maybe beyond the typical things you read elsewhere

e.g. better food when having no/little time to cook:

  • experiment with healthy food (fast food is not a long term solution) – faster, but healthy food recommendations without cantine:
    • smoothies with fresh ingredience, nuts… (if you hate milk, use joghurt or fruit juice)
    • soups can be prepared (bigger amount) – just need to be heated up
    • wraps, sandwiches can be prepared very fast
    • salads in any kind (fruit salad, vegetable salad, fish salad)
    • try also international: couscous, sushi, tortilla, pancace/crepes, egg receipies, pies, sprouts, roots, casseroles

My Top 10 Recommendations for Home Office:

LEARN – EXPERIMENT – ASK!

  • don’t be afraid to ask for help!!!!
  • experiment – now it is the best time for throwing away old expectations!
  • don’t ask IF it will work – but HOW you/we can MAKE it work!
  • be open and learn from others – there is no shame in being curious!
  • use free time for rising your maturity – learn use the many platforms out there:
    LinkedIn, YouTube, Udemy, Video2Brain, Kahn Academy…

1. Experiment with your work setup at home

  • find a place with no window in front or in back of your computer
  • the best sitting position, is the next one – so change places frequently
  • think of cables (no one should fall) and a good table setup
  • being constantly in video conferences – think about noise or you disturbing others

2. Create Work/Life Balance Boundaries

  • Separate work and private life (not working in bed or in sleep wear)
  • Don’t work in your bedroom (if possible)
  • have a set of energy spending and structuring rituals (eating, taking a walk, gynmastic, reading, socializing)
  • Life = work + familiy/friends + you + health + learning … balance! (sort it as you have it – think about it)
  • Take care of your relationships – they are essential

3. Prepare for you meetings

  • As collaboration time is „reduced“ to virtual calls, meetings, conferences, make it valuable for both sides
  • check your tech-setup – dedicate devices only for work, to have them always ready
  • know your gadgets – in 9 out of 10, there is a solution found by knowhow, workaround, skills, asking for help
  • schedule your work AND important things in your life – plan

4. Create accountability for Yourself

  • Note down ALL tasks (Helpful Apps: ToDo App, Planner, OneNote, Evernote, Wunderlist, ToDoist, )
  • Do planning every morning and check in the evening what remained open
  • Work on your diszipline (inner accountability substitudes external force/control/rules)
  • getting things done gives you self-effectiveness and the (needed) feeling of having impact
  • Take care of distractions, notifications

5. Be visible, valuable, supportive

  • Reputation in home office works digital: sharing/creating value = reputation
  • Keep your profiles up to date (LinkedIn, Xing, Twitter, internal Kontakt platforms…) – about me should reflect what you do: promote yourself
  • Tagging your own profile with your skills, compentence, expertise, projects… helps the organization „remembering you“
  • commenting and creating articles, wikis, blogs allow others to „follow“ you: Leaders have followers!
  • Learn Twitter
  • Learn LinkedIn
  • Understand Blogging

6. Communicate clearly and efficiently

  • as time is short, think about your impact and personal (department/project) goals and how to achieve them (efficiently)
  • use the right tool/channel for the desired goal (Teams chat, Teams, Slack, Video, ESN (Status Messages, Blog, Wiki, Forum) – Slido, Mentimeter, Stream, YouTube, Zoom, Skype, Trello, Planner)
  • if more than one person involved no eMail but Group chat!
  • if need of getting diverse feedback > ESN Blog or Forum or ask your external networks (how to build a network)
  • consolidate only for you: personal OneNote, Evernote, for your Team „only“: Teams OneNote or shared files, for a greater audience (For One Another): Wiki, Blog, Platforms – be aware of what is allowed (compliance, data protection, security)
  • draft important statements and review them – maybe challenge them with others before using
  • setup a virtual coffee corner – where people can meet regularly without agenda (staying up to date on unplanned topics)
  • getting feedback in bigger teams via forms or polls

7. Protect your health

  • Sitting on a kitchen table for 8+ hours = unhealthy and very likely cause short and long term health issues
  • have regular breaks, walk around, strech, if possible work standing for 10 Minutes per hour (no problem when in a call)
  • calls without the need of taking notes or sharing your screen can also be done „going for a walk“ (in calm areas)
  • experiment with healthy food (fast food is not a long term solution) – faster, but healthy food recommendations without cantine:
    • smoothies with fresh ingredience, nuts… (if you hate milk, use joghurt or fruit juice)
    • soups can be prepared (bigger amount) – just need to be heated up
    • wraps, sandwiches can be prepared very fast
    • salads in any kind (fruit salad, vegetable salad, fish salad)
    • try also international: couscous, sushi, tortilla, pancace/crepes, egg receipies, pies, sprouts, roots, casseroles
  • get sun and fresh air – frequently open window, work on balcony or outside (sun is essential for your health)
  • invest in your health – get healthy chair, fitting desk, a good light

8. Set clear responsibilities

  • coincidence (meeting someone in the coffee corner) is unlikely to help you protect you from missing target dates or deliveries
  • organize your work in your teams – be clear who does what until when
  • organize your private life and activities/responsibilities – recommend:
    have a physical (or digital) planner board:
    planned, done, wishes – with names – daily standup (5 min) who takes care of kids – when, trash, food, shopping, cleaning…
  • plan your free time – have something all look forward too
  • create a „box“ and collect wishes from everyone in the family – once you have time, pull an action and do it (often people lack ideas, when time has come)

9. Communicate, align

  • This is the best time to start your working out loud circle
  • ensure regular exchange with your teams – include a bigger part for „miscellanious“ – in new situations relationships need to be strong to prohibit isolation or missunderstanding
  • create your „glossary“ or ask about the „meaning“ of terms being used (specifically new ones) – there are often different perspectives on one word (transparency = big brother or fundament of social learning?)
  • align in all directions – ensure your leader knows what you do, miss, need including holistic frame conditions, your team knows when to reach you and how
  • communicate your priority channel – and when you can NOT be reached

10. Socialize

  • Science tells us, relationships are the fundament of health, happyness … and success (think about the iceberg model of communication)
  • recommendation to setup a Virtual Coffee Corner, where colleagues can meet: create a channel in your Teams and offer time slots, where people can meet, help each other, exchange…
  • connect with people also outside of your teams
  • use ESN tagging to find others in the organization with the same topics or interesting topics > follow, invite in your network, talk
  • asking for help is great to build relationships

10+1. Have fun

  • creating a pleasant, valuable, appreciative atmosphere in calls makes people „wanting“ to be part of it
  • negative topics, problems or re-organization are no fun, but how we deal with it, can make a big difference – sometimes a good joke can lighten up

I often use the question „how would you love to work?“ opens positive perspectives – ideally being respected and translated into actions – but „knowing“ about each other helps to feel better.

You are not alone!