We’ve quickly adapted to the ‘new normal’ of working from home. Video calls and cloud-based operations keep things moving fairly smoothly and the time saved by not having to commute means people are able to get more work done, ramp up the exercise or spend quality time with family. Plus the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired many weird and wonderful new routines and skills, including bread baking, virtual trivia nights, classes, and a variety of new entertainment.
Some of you may be itching to return to the office while others might be just getting started adapting to their new home life. One thing for certain is that employee and employer attitudes have quickly adapted, and flexible work is well and truly here to stay. So, how can you bring the best of this new lifestyle back to the office?
Adopt an adaptive mindset and a long-term flexible view
While working from home, we’ve been doing Thursday morning virtual yoga classes led by one of our amazing BlueRockers. But we’ve also been training our minds to be flexible by embracing curiosity, identifying unique opportunities and trying new things; otherwise known as having an adaptive mindset.
An important aspect of effectively harnessing an adaptive mindset is understanding that in order to make things stick, you need to be intentional about what flexibility stays with you when the pandemic is over.
Have your daily Zoom calls resulted in greater connectivity? Great – how will you bring that habit with you to the office? How can you include everyone, on different schedules? Were the weekly team meetings a waste of time? Maybe the frequency needs to be pushed out, or the format changed? Don’t be afraid to give new things a go.
Ask for feedback on what is working and be willing to let go of assumptions to try new ways of work. Flexible arrangements are just that – flexible – and need to be regularly reviewed to ensure the arrangement is working for everyone. Feedback and regular communication are key.
While men are typically less likely to work part-time or from home, we’re hopeful that the impact of long-term flexible work arrangements across the community will allow greater uptake of flexible work for everyone. Flexibility is no longer a ‘nice to have’ with all businesses needing to offer ongoing flexible work arrangements, suffering the consequences in productivity or loss of talent if they can’t adapt roles or ways or work. Your adaptive mindset will drive your success in integrating it all successfully.
Get your best habits to stick
One thing many of us have is more time at home, and while some of us have explored the bread-baking route, others may have found themselves sleeping in later and later, or TikToking/Netflixing late into the night. Now’s the time to be intentional and focus on the habits you’d like to ditch and those you’ll keep when coming back to the office.
Here are some of our favourite habit-forming tips:
- Be intentional! Create clearly defined goals and use well-known tricks to stick to them – i.e. habit stacking, linking your new habit (yoga) to an already established routine (coffee). Your intention might be, “Every morning I will get up and do 10 minutes of yoga before I have had my coffee”. It’s important to consider what time you will set aside so this can form part of the new routine.
- Use visual cues. We’ve all ditched our physical calendars in this day and age, but one of the best strategies is to create a visual reminder of the efforts you’ve made towards your new habit every day. Once you’ve completed a few days of a new habit, and can see it on a calendar/other visual marker such as a whiteboard (try the fridge!) you are far less likely to skip a day.
- Celebrate your milestones. Were you able to stick to your morning yoga and coffee routine without sleeping in during the week? Well done – research shows that celebrating your wins are crucial for motivation. Just avoid celebrating with unhealthy rewards (if this is in conflict with your goals).
- Pick your people. Research shows that we are likely to copy the goals and habits of others we are close to. Stay close to your fit friends or like-minded people who inspire your own career and lifestyle goals to stay accountable.
- Start small – very small. Remember, willpower isn’t a reliable motivator and think about micro changes you can make, such as adding a salad item to every lunch, or doing 10 sit-ups when you finish your work day. Once your new habit feels natural, you can work on bigger goals.
We know many of you are likely to have your work-from-home routines down pat, but how will you keep the best of your routine in action? If you’ve found yourself squeezing in meditation or a walk during lunch, and don’t want to lose this habit returning to the office, remember to plan for this with reminders in your diary, or consider if the time can be moved to ensure you keep the best habits rolling.
Stay true to your workplace culture...at home
Last but not least, remember that maintaining (or improving) your workplace culture while out of the workplace should be a conscious effort. At BlueRock we’re embracing digital technology to continue workplace traditions including social events, team meetings and birthday celebrations. While working remotely has fantastic benefits, it can definitely be isolating and it’s important to recreate the social connection that naturally occurs over coffee breaks or lunchtimes.
Collaboration is a big part of the way we work, so it's vital that we maintain this approach, even when some people are working in the office and some people are still at home. The same goes for the interactions we have with our clients.
Factor collaboration and connection into your plans for when we return to the office. There will also be government guidelines regulating social distancing, which will impact the way we socialise. Now’s the time to tie together some of your great new virtual habits to strengthen your workplace culture and connections with colleagues. Lead with intention so we return better than before.