3 Tips for Working from Home

4 February 2021

Lean Six Sigma

Tips, tricks and a free improvement board template

At the time we’re writing this, it looks like many of us may very well be working from home for quite some time. It’s a far cry from how we used to work and for many it’s still taking some adjusting to. Us included.

But don’t worry, we’re not here to wax nostalgic; every day we work to make the best of the situation, which includes a lot of trial and error. That’s why we wrote this brief article with a few tips on how to stay strong, sane and productive when working with each other from home.

And if you have any ideas, suggestions or golden tips yourself, please don’t keep them to yourself!

To summarize it real brief, we have 3 tips for everyone working from home. Find yourselves a visual collaboration platform to improve teamwork, implement virtual breaks and whatever you do, stay on top of your mental health.

Let’s delve into each of these tips real quick, so you can get right back to whatever you were doing before (we won’t judge, but we hope it was an online course 😉 ).

Tip 1 – Online visual collaboration platform for teamwork

Use a visual collaboration platform so that you and your team can communicate with each other in a structured and visual way. There’s no more whiteboards, improvement boards and coffee machine gossip rounds, so we need to find ways to make collaboration personal again.

Two examples are Miro and Lucidspark.

Both of these platforms allow live online collaboration with your team through brainstorming tools, notes and project tracking. They also both offer multiple software integrations and even more importantly, a free trial so you can figure out whether they work for you.

If you used to do daily stand-up meetings (or are planning to do so), you can also upload a template on there and just do the stand-up digitally. It’ll be a bit different than before, but it’s important to help good habits such as these stick, even when the traditional execution isn’t available. We added a download link to one of our stand-up templates at the bottom of this article, so if you need one feel free to grab that one!

Oh, and if it’s starting to sound like we’re being sponsored…..well, we’re really not. Just helping you navigate the options here.

Tip 2 – Virtual break

On to the second tip. Implement virtual breaks during work! Working from home might seem like it’s all fun and games, but without the implementation of traditional work breaks, you can actually get stuck in work mode all day long. You get swept up in the workflow; and the workflow has no breaks. This accumulates stress and might even make you feel guilty, lazy or unproductive for taking a break.

It’s as if a Damoclean sword is hanging over your head, telling you to keep working or it’ll fall down. Which is odd, because this weird psychological mechanism has now effectively replaced the traditional overbearing manager, somehow being even more potent a stress factor than its predecessor.

As a team, you can try to solve this through a virtual coffee corner, using Google Hangouts or Zoom for example. There’s also a platform called Mysteryminds that allows fun options such as mystery lunches and mystery coffees, where you get coupled with random colleagues from different departments.

Why not just take a normal break?

So why not just take a break from work by moving away from the computer? Sure, that might also work. But a large part of the problem actually rests in the lack of direct contact with colleagues rather than stemming from an overload of work. Being in touch with the people you work with allows you to communicate about your feelings, expectations and progress. Even nonverbally, there’s still an important element of communication that is otherwise overlooked.

Communicating with your team regularly and face-to-face (or face to screen rather, but you get what we mean) helps clear up the air and prevents the worries, expectations and all things unspoken from amalgamizing into some towering psychic behemoth threatening to obliterate your productivity and general state of mind.

Tip 3 – Mental health

Which brings us to the last tip, which should be obvious but is still too often neglected. Mind your mental health. Working from home can bring with it a wide range of issues, not necessarily even related to work at all.

We don’t know what you have to cope with; there’s too many possibilities and we’re not foolish enough to assume we have the answers to all your problems. But some problems can be even more difficult to face when you have to work from home. Even if you’d normally be able to block them out, or use some coping mechanism, don’t tell yourself that it isn’t any different now.

No shame in looking for help, tips and tactics when facing difficult odds. There’s plenty of websites (Mental Health Foundation) around that can offer advice, or even put you in touch with other people that can assist you. You’re not alone in this, just remember that. And sure, you’re reading this in an article by an e-learning company, but there’s a person behind the keyboard typing this too.

And he honestly hopes you’re doing alright.

Alright, sorry about that. That got a little grim at the end, but it’s important not to gloss over the subject. We hope these tips are helpful to you and will help you stay productive, safe and above all, happy.

If you’d still like that Stand-up template we spoke about earlier, you can find it here: download template.

And if you haven’t tried Stand-ups before, or just want a quick refresher, you can always give our Stand-up and Improvement board course a try. There’s a huge ad for it right below this article, so you can’t miss it. Good luck, godspeed and have a good day!

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