Wow! There is so much information that has been published about working from home.
Before we can discuss working from home, we need to discuss a dynamic about working from the office. A dynamic so impactful that it can make you feel stressed or even depressed when working from home! It is something you may or may have already experienced…that you spend lots of time at work…not working! This is not a ding on your time management or work habits; it is a term that we call “workplace rationalization.”
This is when you spend time at work doing non-work related activities. It is the time spent picking or discussing your favorite fantasy sports team, sporting events or social happenings of the rich and famous. But it goes deeper than that! It can be stopping on your way to the facilities, to eat lunch, or the printer to discuss everything from birthdays, vacations and weekend activities with others, usually expectantly! It also includes discussing business topics that may not be a priority…or even worse, gossip!
Sure the kids, spouses, and work environment will impact you (listen to this weeks podcast); nothing will impact you more than your acknowledgement of “workplace rationalization.”
By working from home, there is the realization that you’re spending hours at work doing non-work related activities, and then you rationalize it based on being at the office. You may even find that you use workplace rationalization to avoid going home.
When you get home and set up your office, you begin to work. All is good until you realize that two hours have passed and you haven’t gotten up from your desk…not to print, not to go to a meeting, or even to walk over to talk to a co-worker. You realize that you got a lot of work done, and you still have hours left! You now realize how much time you spend at work, not doing work related activities.
At work you’re okay with this, because you’re at the office or out in the field. But now, you’re taking the dog out, spending time with your kids, or even doing the laundry. To you, that is not work, and you are not being productive!
If you rid yourself of your business ego, and acknowledge that you are getting as much, if not more work done, you’ll come to the realization that it’s okay to use the time you used to waste at work, and invest it in your personal life.
As a manager, you can support this idea and let your staff know that as long as they get their work done and are available when needed, it’s okay to invest this time at home. You will find workers not feeling guilty or trying to make excuses. Your staff will become even more productive than they were at the office. They will embrace learning new and more efficient ways of doing their job.
It’s important that you listen to your employees and identify when some one is experiencing workplace withdrawal. Only then can you help them through to the workplace realization stage. Then you must let them know it is okay, that they’re not alone, and that you support their transformation.
There is a way you can help you and your employees ease the symptoms of withdrawal.