Here at Cake, we’ve been adjusting to the new norm of full time work-from-home (WFH) life.
We have been WFH for almost 4 weeks now – time flies! For us, the transition wasn’t too difficult. We were able to make the call one morning, and all be 100% functioning from home less than 2 hours later.
However, just because the transition was easy, doesn’t mean that we too haven’t felt the challenges (cue crying toddler, choppy internet and way too many trips to the fridge).
At Cake, we pride ourselves on our health, our strength and our flexibility, and it’s times like these that we are tested! We thought we’d share some of our experiences to help others embrace the WFH life, and find a balance between productive work, and positive well-being.
If you’ve got kids, see this as an opportunity
For those of us with kids, young and old, this may be the most time you’ve spent with them in a long while.
Whether you have a toddler climbing up your leg in tears, or a teenager somehow managing to use up all your internet downloads with copious amounts of Netflix and TikWok, TikLock, or whatever!
It can be challenging – no doubt. And for some, the pressure of having the kids around may be subconsciously (or consciously) adding to your stress at work.
While this may be tough, you can also try to change your perspective and embrace this as a huge opportunity.
The result of this perspective shift is that your optimism towards the environment will actually flow into your optimism and productivity at work.
For the Cake team, they have been thriving on the opportunities to:
- have lunch, morning tea and afternoon breaks together;
- replace the morning commute with a play with the kids; or
- play a more active part in their kids school work.
Above all, the Cake parents know they are not alone in this challenge. If their toddler is yelling in the background of an ‘important business call’, even those ‘important’ people will understand. Everyone, everywhere, is facing similar challenges.
Take Johan’s little guy for example, who at 4 years old managed to answer a call from one of our amazing clients, and basically closed the item before Johan even noticed he was on the phone! (That Scandinavian hustle hey?)
Depending on what your home office is like, it can sometimes be hard to ‘clock-on and clock-off’ like we do in an office. I’ve found that I will often walk away from my desk at 6pm, only to wander back when I get another idea minutes later. Before you know it, it’s way passed the ‘clock-off’ time.
It is important to put boundaries between your work life and home life. This will not only benefit your well-being, but can increase your productivity and decrease the chance of burnout.
Here are some strategies that we’ve been using:
Get dressed as if you’re going into the office, shoes and all. This way, you will feel in the zone, and less like you’re at home tucked up on the couch ready to watch Judge Judy. Another benefit of this is when you do finish for the day, you can get changed, and feel as though your work day has finished.
Some things can wait until tomorrow. Just because you now live at your office, doesn’t mean you need to be open, 24/7. Prioritise tasks. Recognise when you can reply to an email in the morning, rather than sending it late at night.
In fact, following this strategy will have a snow-ball effect. Most of the time, people would rather get your email in the morning than at 9pm. So why not let them rest easy, and leave it until the morning?
Separate your office, if possible. If you have your desk in your bedroom, and you wake to see your monitor blinking at you, it can be pretty intense. If possible, find an area that is dedicated solely to work, and leave your work there. And if that’s not possible, find a way to ‘close’ your office set up when you’re done for the day. Close your screen, close your to-do list, and step away.
On this topic of boundaries, remember to ‘talk crap’ with your colleagues every now and then too. While some might see this as unproductive, we see it as essential. When you’re working in an office, general chitchat amongst employees is considered an essential ingredient to growing a strong, collaborative and happy team.
Why then should it be frowned upon to call a colleague, and talk about something non-work related, just for a few minutes? Call your workmates, ask about their family’s and their lives – it doesn’t have to be business 24/7.
Keep active, and don’t hide it!
We are a fit and healthy team at Cake – so much so, that a prospective employee’s attitude towards fitness and staying healthy is a big factor we take into account in our hiring.
When your desk is just metres away, it can be easy to skip the morning work-out and get an early start on work. That is fine, however, you need to make up for it. Get out in the yard at lunch, or crunch some sit-ups on knock-off.
More than this, if that is what you’re doing, don’t hide it!
Some may struggle to step away from their desks for a workout, fearing that if a client or the boss tries to call them, it might look bad.
Instead, you (and your team) need to embrace this – set your status to ‘smashing a workout’ on Slack, or update the team on your workout for the day and encourage them to do the same. If you were in the office, you would let the team know that you are ‘heading to the gym’ at lunch.
Why should WFH be any different?
Embrace the change!
So, while WFH for Cake hasn’t been super difficult, that isn’t to say we haven’t felt challenges.
Following our strategies above, we are keeping fit and healthy (mind and body) and productivity is simultaneously booming.
Let your business see these times as an opportunity to fine-tune team well-being.
We don’t know how long this will last, so we might as well embrace it!