As we continue to practise social distancing and self-isolation due to the COVID19 virus, at CUB we have implemented new ways of working and asked all employees that are able to do so to work from home (WFH). While we have always supported WFH for our employees, for many this is the first time they have practised it.
To learn more about WFH and some tricks to help keep you productive as we all go through these challenging times, we sat down with Ash Cooper, the Senior Manager of Learning & Development at CUB, to hear her thoughts.
Even before CUB asked office-based employees to WFH, Ash was already taking advantage of the CUB flexible working policies. She says “I’ve worked from home from time to time, even when it was business as usual. It’s something that works well for me, especially for when I needed to just focus and get on top of my work without distractions.” She shared “CUB has a really comprehensive flexible working policy, called ‘How I Work’, and it encourages you to find the working conditions that suit you – and for me, that means WFH when I need to. It’s a really big step up from previous employers, where WFH was considered ‘just another policy’ but if actually practiced it people had to be apologetic about it.”
For Ash, the current situation has meant many of the face-to-face events and courses she had planned have transitioned online. She says, “it’s about finding ways to engage and demonstrate capability in what is normally a very face-to-face space, into something that resonates with the participants over Zoom.”
Ash is also creating new resources to help her colleagues who may be struggling during this time, including workshops on handling stress and building resilience. She also shared with us some of her own tips and tricks for people WFH, and how to make the most of a difficult situation.
“The biggest thing you can do during this period is to be kind to yourself and actually embrace the flexibility. It doesn’t have to be 9 to 5 anymore. Instead, find a balance that works for you – I now sleep in an hour, because I don’t need to commute.”
She continues “It also really helps if you set out your tasks for the day and keep some structure. It can still be flexible, but knowing what you need to achieve each day will set you up for success… It’s also important to set an off time. It can be easy to blur the lines between work and personal, and that can be a great advantage of WFH, but you should still set a time when you log off for the day, so that you can recharge your batteries.”
“Also, change it up! Get creative with how you connect with each other – go for a walking meeting on your phone or sit in your garden if it’s a nice day. You can even be creative with how you run your meeting. People are sitting in front of screens for the majority of the day, so consider setting analogue activities for your meetings. I recently had my team all get out pens and paper and draw pictures to build our outcomes.”
“Lastly, it’s important to remember that people are WFH in share houses or with large families, and plenty of people have bad internet, and every day I see people feeling guilty or apologetic, when they really shouldn’t. It doesn’t matter if you have kids walking past or housemates making noise. It’s a new world that has been thrust upon us. We all need to adapt and show compassion – and even take the opportunity to get to know your colleagues, and their lives, a little better.”