Working from home comes with many distractions and some could be a little uncomfortable and shocking for everyone involved. This article consists of a series of funny scenarios involving potential WFH’s WTH (aka Work From Homes What the Heck) distractions.
A good example of one of these situations is when Professor Robert E. Kelly instantly became “BBC Dad” after his happy-go-lucky children playfully crashed a live Skype interview he was having with BBC News. Do you remember that? How would you have handled that situation if it happened to you?
Here are some other situations to get you thinking!
You have a video conference call at 1pm with your boss, CEO and many co-workers. The current time is 1:15 and the call is going great, you just begin to speak, and the postman pulls up. Your dog, Rover, starts barking like crazy and will not stop. Rover and the postman have a hate/hate relationship.
What would you do? Go Dark by logging off or introduce Rover and carry on with your report?
Although computer problems can happen, the likelihood of your coworkers believing you is slim. They saw your facial expressions and heard Rover barking before you "lost connection”. The better option would be to introduce Rover and carry on with your report. In the past few weeks, there have likely been MANY new coworkers on video calls and most of them are four-legged. Everyone on the call will understand or at the very least get a needed laugh out of the situation.
How about this situation?
You and your partner are both lucky enough to work from home during this pandemic. You have three kids at home. You have gotten into a routine and are working around each other’s schedules- until now. You have had a call scheduled for a week and it has been on your weekly shared calendar and your partner has been aware of this. Suddenly, 1 hour before the call, he tells you that he has a call scheduled too and it is at the same time. It is not on the shared calendar.
What would you do? Would you tell your partner to figure it out- your call is more important? Immediately cancel and reschedule your call? Both join your calls and hope your kids aren't too loud, don't hurt each other or don't set the house on fire? Or just talk to each other?
Although you would probably want to tell your partner to figure it out, resist. You are in this together and it was likely an honest mistake by not adding it to the calendar. Immediately canceling and rescheduling your call would be nice of you to do, but not necessary unless you have already talked about your calls and your feelings and you are aware that his call is more pressing at this time. And with three kids, depending on their ages, it likely won't work flawlessly or quietly. The better option would be to just talk to each other. This may be the first time you have had to work on your relationship communication skills because you are both working at home now. Figure it out together and agree that it will not happen again.
Here is another situation:
You just completed an excel project that took over an hour and your brain feels fried and you feel exhausted. You need a break. What you would do?
Get up, stretch and maybe go for a short walk for fresh air and to clear your head? Decide to catch up on your favorite Netflix show? Grab a bag of your favorite chips, some string cheese, a chocolate bar and a Fanta?
A lot of people that do not always work from home tend to think that those that do work from home do nothing all day and watch TV. It takes discipline to work from home, some people do it well and others, not so much. If you think you can watch one episode of a TV show, be careful, you will likely talk yourself into "just one more" and before you know it, you're behind on your workload. Also, a lot of sugar and unhealthy foods tend to make you feel more tired. A snack here and there is perfect if you're hungry. Maybe try a healthier snack to keep that "quarantine 15" away.
The best choice is to get up, stretch and maybe go for a short walk for fresh air and to clear your head. Physical activity and relaxation techniques can be valuable tools to help you remain calm and continue to protect your health during this time.
Here is a popular one:
You're on a video conference call. You have on a nice, ironed shirt and even a tie today, instead of your "new" normal work attire which consists of t-shirts. Your boss asks to review the report you did last week, which is not on your desk currently, it's on the table at the back of your office. You, without hesitation hop up and walk back to the table to grab the report. You hear your co-workers laughing and calling your name and then it hits you... you got dressed today, partially... in your nice, ironed shirt, tie and your boxer shorts.
How would you handle this?
Hit the floor, so that you are out of the camera's view and crawl back to your computer? Start to cry and ask for the call to be over? Or what about just embracing and pretending that the walk back to your computer is a runway and strut your stuff, embracing your new work attire and your embarrassing situation? The instinctive option would be to hit the floor and crawl back to your computer. But you will still have to face your colleagues once you crawl back to your desk. You definitely wouldn’t want to start crying because you will have to face your boss and co-workers! The better option is to just embrace it! Yes, you are mortified, but there isn't much you can do about it at this point. Maybe you don't need to 'strut your stuff', but try and calmly get back to your computer, join in on the laughs and try to get the meeting back on track.
You have a huge project to deliver, you've attached the document to an email and you're typing out your delivery message. This email is nowhere near deliverable, it's just a brain spill at this point. You even have your grocery list on the document, along with a little note you were writing to your wife about plans for tonight after the kids are asleep that you plan to handwrite in a sweet greeting card shortly. Your needy cat jumps on your lap and you take a minute to pet her and gather more thoughts. She then quickly jumps on the keyboard and the email is now sent. It's incomplete, full of misspellings, contains "bedroom talk" and your need for milk and bread. Now 15 people, including your boss, three clients and numerous coworkers have it in their inbox.
What you would do?
Scream at your cat and go for a walk to let off steam and send an email an hour after the original one? Or what about just immediately quitting your job?
This is not a great situation to be in but yelling at an animal will not help things. You need to act fast. Quitting your job is a little extreme and likely not necessary.
The best option is to think fast, click the "recall" button on the email and quickly draft an apology email, send it and hope everyone understands. If you try and recall the message and replace it with another and an apology to those that already opened the message, that is the best approach. Honesty and being quick on your feet to resolve this problem are the best things that you can do.
If these scenarios don't apply to you, we hope you got a laugh out of them... but also remember to be patient and understanding when things don't go right on the other end of the line. For those who don't have these distractions at home, and everything is going super smoothly, try and put yourself in the other persons shoes and continue be reminded to cut each other slack when it comes to WFH fails. Keep professional!
The recent COVID-19 virus outbreak has a lot of businesses rethinking the way work gets done. Since the majority of workers are “social distancing” and with the recent need to work from home, is it possible to be productive in a time like this? Transitioning from a traditional workspace to an at-home office can be difficult and feel impossible. It’s important that your employees are prepared and calm. Preparing your managers and employees and restoring confidence in them can help take a little of the stress and panic away.
Here are some ways to be sure that you, your managers and employees feel reassured during a moment of crisis.
- 1) Remote work. Have your employees worked from home before? After figuring out technology logistics, the next step is to prepare your employees for the adjustment, because working from home is different than being in the office. There are more distractions that can pull employees away from their work when they are at home. Their work responsibilities do not change, but how work gets done will be different. Managers and employees need to know what to prepare for and ensure they can be productive and stay an integrated part of the team. Setting a schedule and creating boundaries while at home will help the transition. What about your managers leading a team from home? Are they prepared to lead a team remotely? While the principles of effective leadership and team management haven’t changed, maintaining peak performance and keeping employees engaged when everyone is separated is a tall task for any manager or organization. After all, managers can’t see what their teams are doing, how they are doing it and if they are even working!
- 2) Communicate! Communication is vital to keeping everyone informed especially during a moment of crisis. The way you communicate is extremely important. George Bernard Shaw, a famous Irish playwright said: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” This means that when correct communication or messaging has not been communicated, people are going to assume incorrect information and that is how rumors and false information is spread. Don’t leave your employees to speculate - communicate clearly! It is important to deliver clear and concise information to your team. When you do, you’ll find your team knows what they need to do, and fewer mistakes are made because everyone is clear on what needs to be done. As a result, you will be more successful. Also, when you work in an office together, you build relationships with people face-to-face and have more opportunities to converse socially with your team. When you are remote, it’s important to build connections with your team like you would if you were in an office.
• Communication Skills for Managers
• Communicating with Others
- 3) Strengthen the team. When a team is cohesive and works well together, individuals are more engaged, more productive, and are more satisfied at work. A great team environment benefits everyone including individual employees, managers and the organization. When your team is strong, it will strengthen your employees ability to work well with others. If you are dealing with a pandemic, you want to be sure your team sticks together, can communicate together and that your team knows the game plan and can continue work without missing a beat.
• Creating Great Teamwork
• Increasing Employee Engagement
- 4) Prepare your managers. When your employees are faced with a pandemic, it can be a time of uncertainty. Your managers will probably be fielding a lot of questions and under stress. An idea would be to have check-in meetings to ask about the employees wellbeing during this pandemic, to make sure everyone knows what is going on and to answer your employee’s questions and concerns. It also may be a good time for managers to take a look at their work goals to see if they are still relevant during all of these changes. Your managers likely need to to develop new skills or take on a different project.
• Conflict Management Skills
• Giving Great Feedback
• Managing for Success
• Building Trust and Respect
We all need to keep in mind that things are changing at a rapid pace. It’s important for employees and managers to be adaptable and for you to help them feel supported during this time.
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