In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, many may be forced to experiment with this kind of work in the coming months.
The Evangelical Focus team (as well as our colleagues at Protestante Digital and Evangelico Digital) have been working from home for some years now.
This way of working, also known as telecommuting, reduces costs, often leads to a better efficiency and performance, and makes work more compatible with other aspects of life - such as church, family or leisure.
However, it can also become a trap, if work invades other spaces. On the other hand, working time can disappear due to other responsibilities, distractions at home, or lack of motivation.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, many may be forced to experiment with this kind of work in the coming months. We summarise some tips that we consider important when working from home, based on our own experience.
1. Respect a schedule
When you are forced to work from home, one of the first temptations is to do it “whenever I want”. This may work for some time but it is not recommended. It is much better to stick to a schedule and try to respect it, being flexible in the face of difficulties that may arise - for example, parents who will need to take care of their children at home after the closing of schools.
A coherent schedule that is as similar as possible to normal working hours helps things not get out of hand.
It is important to respect the time to start and the time to finish. There is nothing worse than continuing to work because “I'm already home”. Not finishing work at the proper time can lead to conflict with other family members.
2. Respect a designated space
Something that helps a lot is to delimit a space to work. The ideal is to be able to work in an atmosphere as similar as possible to that of our original workplace, having everything we need to carry out our work within reach.
If a specific room is not available, we can use one of the rooms or the living room. Asking the rest of the family not to use that room during work hours is key to avoid distractions and concentration difficulties.
3. Keep in touch with colleagues and the company
Something that can cheer us up at work is to have contact with colleagues who are in the same situation. This virtual contact can be carried out through different online platforms, many of them free or at affordable rates.
At Evangelical Focus we recommend Slack, which allows to create work channels, send direct messages, and delimit conversations in specific threads. Whatsapp, Telegram and similar apps can also be used, although most people use these for personal communication, and that can lead to unnecessary distractions.
You can control your work schedule with tools like Toggl. Of course, nothing replaces personal contact, so face-to-face meetings will be needed - at least a couple a year- to strengthen our project.
4. Yes to meetings, but only the necessary ones
The meetings help to focus the work, generate team spirit and spark new creative initiatives. At Evangelical Focus we have several meetings a week, but experience has shown us that each meeting must respond to a need.
It is good to have meetings set within the weekly or daily dynamics, with a clear purpose and schedule (we try that the meetings do not last more than an hour). And there is nothing worse than a meeting without a plan.
Platforms like Skype or Zoom are helpful for having these interactions.
5. Controlled rest
When we work at home, breaks are still necessary to refresh the mind and enhance concentration and performance.
Two temptations can arise. One is not taking breaks, which has negative consequences for both work performance and health. The other, is to stretch our breaks too much. Rest time should be used to relax and drink a tea or coffe, not to do other chores at home. It is useful to plan the breaks.
Crises can also be opportunities. We hope that in the face of the abnormal situation we are going through due to the coronavirus, we can exercise patience and have a positive attitude despite the difficulties.