NEW NORMAL? Making enforced work-from-home, work for you

The option to work more flexibly and from home has been available for a while and many have embraced it.  However, the recently enforced requirement to work from home following the rapid spread of Covid-19, raises a whole set of challenges for those new to the situation.

Beyond getting the technology and the new physical space to work, the single most important factor (I have found) that determines success or failure in working from home (having now done this on-and-off for many years), is the ability to manage relationships well, both at work AND at home. 

Here are three things you’re going to want to do to make the transition a success…

1) Focus on keeping your home relationships intact, especially your relationship with your significant other.

If your partner was already home (whether working-from-home or not), your new transition could feel like a sudden invasion of their space and upset to their routines. If you’re both making the transition for the first time, this is likely to feel like an adventure… until reality sets in, expectations and assumptions begin to be challenged, and tensions begin to mount. We have personally lived through both these transitions – and confirmed through them the old adage beyond a shadow of doubt – great relationships take work!  Knowing what to work on however is key, and developing The 4 Habits of All Successful Relationships, as outlined in our TEDx talk is often the difference that makes the difference between striving or thriving in your relationships through the next few months and beyond. 

Sadly, many couples struggle to make the transition successfully. No surprises that Divorce Lawyer to the stars, Baroness Shackleton, told peers in the House of Lords recently that she fully expects the Coronavirus pandemic to lead to a rise in the number of marriage breakdowns.  If you’d like to be proactive about protecting (heck, maybe even improving) your relationships through this season, here’s a blog we wrote on Five things couples must do to survive the invasion of work-from-home to help you discover your “new normal” for doing life together 24/7.  

If you live on your own, being proactive about staying connected is really important. Make it a priority to join like-minded chat groups, sign up for webinars, establish a routine of speaking with friends and family, etc. Feel free to skip to point 2.

2) Invest the time and effort to stay connected and co-ordinated with colleagues, bosses and direct reports.

Out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind but this can be a weird feeling in the transition.  Distance challenges our feelings of trust and respect in relationships and can introduce suspicion and anxiety.  It puts pressure on your ability to stay engaged and connected, and often creates feelings of isolation. Here are Four ways to strengthen relationships with your team while working remotely.

3) Seize the opportunity to establish a new rhythm of work, home and life

One that allows you to be fully present in your most important relationships.  Too often we end up living a life and schedule on the outside that contradicts our values on the inside.  One key symptom of this is putting our important relationships on hold or struggling to be fully present with the people who matter most to us.  Here are some thoughts to get you started on thinking about PRESSING RESET: Redefining Work/Life Balance in the new world of Enforced Remote Working. For many this has proven to be a great opportunity to breathe new life into their routine… and into their most important relationships.

The need to build strong relationships at home and at work, and be intentional about our life balance is vital for our wellbeing and productivity, especially through this time of uncertainty.  If we take this opportunity to get things right, we will thrive through this season and emerge stronger and healthier mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially. Now surely that’s a “new normal” worth working towards.

If you would like to find out more, visit the4habits.com to discover how four simple but fundamental habits can equip you to build great relationships at work and at home.

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Relationship breakdown and the workplace - YouGov Research Report

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