Working From Home Series Wrap-Up: Maintaining the Balance
Over the past few weeks, we’ve shared thoughts from Hixson Interior Designer Julie Morgan on how to improve focus and creativity and ways to boost your physical and mental health while working from home. The series concludes this week with Julie’s ideas on how to maintain a sense of balance between work and home, while strengthening relationships at the same time:
- Building workplace community. “Before this time, Hixson had hosted a monthly Happy Hour for our associates, but I attended very rarely,” says Julie. “I thought I built my relationships through my daily work and interactions and instead of attending would simply rush out the door.” However, throughout this time at home, Julie’s department has scheduled virtual Happy Hours every Friday. “While the idea of these “all-fun, no-work” meetings was to help people stay connected, one of the biggest eye-openers I’ve discovered is that Happy Hours (and other similar activities) really can lead to improved teamwork on projects by building stronger interpersonal relationships! If you’re like me and didn’t attend events like these in the past, I definitely recommend re-thinking that decision.” Here’s another related idea according to Julie: Find (and share!) your hobbies. “Throughout this crisis, many of us have found ourselves with spare time on our hands. I’ve used my extra time to return to my crafting days. It’s been a great outlet for my creativity, but I’ve also talked about what I’m doing with my co-workers: further strengthening those relationships!” An added bonus: Julie’s even been able to get some tips and ideas from others on her crafts.
- Talk before you speak. We’ve all heard the old adage, “think before you speak,” but Julie recommends that you “talk before you speak” too! “By not being at the office, I don’t have as many conversations in the morning as I used to have, yet it seems that all my conference calls are now in the a.m.” To make sure that she is prepared and ready for her presentations, Julie says she has been making sure to talk to someone (“or even just my dogs”) before getting on a project or client call.
- Transparency in Communication. At any given time in a company, project team members will have varying workloads. Shifting workloads around is something we do – maybe without even thinking about it – when we’re in the office together, but not something that you may necessarily think about when working from home. Julie suggests that one key to creating workload balance is to have open communications every day and every week. “We have weekly team meetings to show our workload, identify who needs help, and determine who can provide assistance. Doing so has created a lot of opportunity for us to learn, grow, and teach.”
- Better Together. If anything, having online team meetings has made the workplace more personal, more and intimate than in our “normal” universe. “It’s a funny dichotomy,” says Julie. “We’re social distancing in person, but we are inviting our coworkers into our kitchens, living rooms, and home offices. They are coming into our homes, seeing our “other” lives: our pets, our kids, our families. It’s made us a little closer, not as removed.” Julie says that “physical” distancing is, for her, a more representative term than “social” distancing. “We have to stay socially connected through this. Community building, togetherness, and emotional connections via electronic devices are imperative for our mental health.”
If you missed the first two parts in this series of tips, make sure you click on the links in related content to catch up!
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