by Denisse Diaz, Marketing Director of London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) and London Academy of Trading (LAT). The COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t just changed the way we work; it’s changed the way we function, live and even the way we talk. Current expressions such as ‘self-isolating’ or ‘social distancing’ were pretty much non-existence pre-pandemic.
A month ago, people would have probably presumed ‘social distancing’ meant taking a break from Instagram.
This ‘new normal’ has forced us to use technology to our advantage. We need technology to be able to work from home and keep our virtual connections going with our work colleagues and families.
Pre-Coronavirus, working from home could have been considered a luxury, however it is now proved to be a sufficient alternative for many and has vastly become the new norm. Consequently, we have had to adapt fast not knowing whether it will continue for a matter of weeks or months.
Firstly, to eliminate the temptation of staying in bed half the day, I advise people to re-enact their ordinary work routine as much they possibly can. By simply setting an alarm, waking up early, taking a morning shower and getting dressed, you are mentally preparing for your day as if you were going into the office. These steps are key for getting you into the right mind-set.
Secondly, creating a ‘work space’ in the house that is solely for work use will also help you to stay focused and avoid distractions. It’s important for our brains to clearly differentiate between work/home environment.
Working from home has not only challenged our day-to-day routine but it has made us re-think the way we effectively manage and motivate people. In the absence of face-to-face meetings, I’ve started making Skype Business video calls with my team. Video calls are the next best thing as seeing somebody virtually and hearing their voice make the interactions feel more personal than just an email. This is a positive way to connect with your teams and keep momentum up. Managers must also be prepared to discuss mental health issues and feelings of anxiety which are highly likely during this period of uncertainty.
As a manager, it is essential that I am reachable, just the same as if I was in the office. Some people may find it harder to adjust to working from home than others and will, therefore, require extra support. Being present, approachable and keeping virtual connections strong is vital.
Subsequently, you must have the correct technological infrastructure in place to facilitate remote working and maintain high productivity levels throughout this period. Access to VPNs, shared work folders, cloud storage and digital communications platforms such as Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams are a necessity. In the absence of paid software licences,there are also free options such as Zoom, Slack or Google Hangouts.
The fact of the matter is there is no ‘blueprint’ on how to deal with the current situation and nobody knows exactly how long we are going to be living through this pandemic. We must take each day as it comes.It is important to be patient with ourselves and not be afraid to reach out if we need support. The fear of the unknown can be worrying but like everything else in life, we will learn and adapt. This too shall pass.