Adjusting to a virtual work environment – how to keep office relationships intact
The novel coronavirus brought with it the implementation of lockdowns all over the world, thus changing life as we know it. In a country like India, where Work-From-Home was considered impracticable, it became a mandate.
To the surprise of employers, Work-From-Home outperformed any expectations that they had and even led to higher employee productivity in some cases. This drastic change has led companies to consider Work-From-Home as a more permanent option, even after the lockdowns have been lifted.
With a change like this, it’s high time we learn how to adapt to a virtual working environment. It’s likely to get more common and you can’t be left behind because you didn’t prepare for the change! We’ve come up with a couple of tips to help you adjust to this change and to keep your office relationships intact.
Designate a space in your house that would serve as your office area and set it up with all the things you generally require at work. Ensure that the environment is free of distractions and it’ll help you to enter a professional mindset once you’re here. This will help you to maintain productivity levels and professionalism while dealing with work. If possible, avoid letting any background noise interfere with your calls.
Draw a balance:
While working long hours isn’t uncommon in India, Work-From-Home has turned long hours into ludicrous hours for most employees who receive assignments from their bosses even at 10pm with a deadline for the next morning. These unreasonable deadlines take a toll on your health and leave you frustrated towards work. Discuss acceptable work timings and deadlines with your bosses. Having your office with you 24/7 does not mean that you would be working 24/7. An amicable discussion can help both of you find a fair balance.
Connect with your team:
Make the effort to reach out to your team-members and colleagues personally to check on them and catch-up with them. Staying in touch is the only way to keep relations alive, especially when everyone is just working off a laptop at their homes.
No, we are not talking about a meeting. We are talking about setting up Video Calls to help you have a face-to-face coffee break or post-work meal. Taking some time to just hang out as friends, as you would have normally done in office, will help keep the team feeling alive and friendships will be nurtured.
Appreciate your colleagues:
As work shifts from office to home, you’re going to start seeing more of your colleagues’ personal lives at work. Whether it’s a new hobby they took up, a dish they cooked, their child or their family – be sure to show appreciation for what they’re doing and be understanding of their home situation if there’s a child or parents that they are caring for. A little support and appreciation go a long way.
When it comes to your work, do not forget your professionalism. Stick to your deadlines, complete good quality work and don’t give in to the temptation to let things slide because you’re at home. Your work quality and contribution should be unchanged (if not improving) to avoid any dissent with the team or the boss.
Video calls have made it easier to show up to a meeting later, especially when you can say you had issues with the internet. Don’t do it. Ensure that you setup your device and show up for the meeting at least 5 minutes in advance. People do notice your punctuality, even in a virtual environment.