As many of us now are working from home, what are some great ways you can be more efficient and more comfortable, living in the same place you work?
Carve out a dedicated work area – Choose a space away from distractions, and create an office area you actually ‘want’ to work from. Try and make it as separate as possible from the rest of your living and family areas, so when you shut the door at the end of the day, you leave work behind.
Get dressed - We all know that working in your dressing gown seems like a dream come true. However getting ‘dressed for the office’ helps to put ourselves in the right space mentally, preparing us for a day of productivity and efficiency.
Set yourself up right - You probably didn’t plan to have an ergonomic dining table and chairs waiting for the day everything hit the fan. Therefore ensure you set yourself up properly for a short/medium term stay in your new home-office. Check out good ways to manage your ergonomics and posture via worksafe.govt.nz.
Set up a routine – Humans generally crave routine, so work your standard hours as much as possible, keeping your normal coffee break and lunch times. Remember however to avoid distractions like social media during work hours, as well as constantly checking the news for NZ COVID-19 updates.
Family – Ensure your family understands that you need a space of relative peace to be able to do your work properly, and just because you are in the next room, are not available for every little issue. Also make sure your co-workers and clients are aware of your new working conditions, so when your toddler squeals or your dog barks, it’s not a surprise.
Technology – My staff have all worked from home for the last two and a half years. Therefore technology plays a big part in keeping us all together virtually. FaceBook Messenger is our main tool for communication and Google Docs and Sheets help us all collaborate on the varied projects we are working on. Other great tools include Slack, WhatsApp and Zoom, as well as a myriad of others that are all just a click away from downloading.
Look After Yourself – It’s easy to let things slide when you are at home. However instead of blobbing on your favourite couch at the end of the day, complete some at-home workouts via YouTube. Also remember to get good quality sleep during your downtimes, as sleep will help you to stay refreshed over the long term.
Stay Connected – We are social beings at the end of the day, so if you have to self-isolate, remember we are all one click away from our family and friends. This is one time where I would actually encourage people to spend more time on social media!
As professional career specialists, one thing that truly perplexes us is that people in general do not do any planning (or even thinking) about their long-term (or even medium-term) career. Sadly these people jump from job to job every two to three years or so, making a reactive choice to move on when they don’t get on with their boss, feel they are not being valued or when their job has lost its challenge.
At this stage they then play ‘The Job Lottery’ gambling their future career on vacancies that just happen to be open that day. When they are successful in their application, they then move to a new company, form new relationships, lose contact with old friends and on more extreme occasions, move city or even country.
This random (but highly common) approach is certainly not the best way to manage your long-term career plan. As well as this, if you don’t focus on developing a clear personal brand message over the long term, your brand will be diluted as you jump from job to job and industry to industry.
A great way to start to gain a solid understanding of your long term brand is to ask yourself the following two questions:
Question 1. Career wise, what do I want to be doing in ten years time? In terms of this first question, think about the mechanics of your answer:
• What type of job you would like to have?
• Do you want to be employed full time, part time or on a temporary contract? The importance of your brand Developing the fundamentals of a strong brand as early as possible is very important in job hunting. It is never too late to start putting some thinking into your long-term career and to make a plan about where you want to head in the future. To quote a Chinese proverb ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’
• Do you want to work for someone or be self-employed?
• Where will you be based? (i.e. Do you want to live in the same area you work in now, or move somewhere else)?
• Will you travel much in this role?
• Will you work independently, or work with a team?
• Will you have staff responsibility and if so, how many staff members would you like to directly manage? After you gain a general understanding of the type of position you would like to see yourself in ten years’ time, ask yourself the second question:
2. What do I want to be known for / respected for in ten years’ time? In terms of this second question, think more about:
• What types of things are you most passionate about?
• If you were ‘famous in your field’ or an ‘influencer in your industry’ in ten years’ time, what would this field or industry be?
• What can you do to start to develop a strong brand in the short term that will help you become ‘famous in your field?'
Once you know some of these answers, you will be in a great place to plot your career pathway more successfully!
The world has changed. The Covid-19 pandemic that first hit the world in 2020 has created a new global reality for employers and employees that will ensure we never quite return to ‘Business As Usual’ again in terms of how we live and work.
With the age of the pandemic upon us, it’s now important to not just apply for jobs you would like to be employed in, but also asses the ‘risk profile’ of any new organisation as part of your job hunt process. You will need to ask questions like:
- Was this a business that struggled, survived or thrived through the pandemic?
- Is this business involved in industries that have been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic?
- Did this company make any staff redundant during the last Covid-19 pandemic?
- If another pandemic takes place, will this company shed any new staff based on their previous history?
We have now entered a new stage of employment globally where these queries need to be answered, alongside more traditional employment questions we have always asked relating to aspects such as salary, leadership style, personal development opportunities etc..
Before you say 'yes', remember to assess any new opportunity based on these questions.