How not to work from home.

When working from home.

Now this may sound counter-intuitive but one of the best things for your employees is to not work from home…well at least not all the time.

There’s a common misconception when WFH. It goes something like this…

If my boss cannot see that I am working they’ll think I’m bunking off!

This ‘fear my boss thinks I’m slacking off’ syndrome (not its technical term) can lead to a dangerous place. OK, so not quite as dangerous as the Brecon Beacons last weekend, but still a potential problem as the tendency is to go into over-work overdrive. Normally this isn’t a problem with the occasional WFH. But, in the current climate people are going to burn out, and burn out fast.

The best way to combat this is to give your people a resource scarce in our workplaces – Trust. Trust them to get the balance between work, rest and play. To stop working and start doing something else (for a little while). To help, we’ve pulled together a few simple ideas that might help motivate your employees to get that balance right. To work, rest and play.

Virtual sweats (physical and mental)

As we adjust to our new indoor lives, keeping physically fit is as important as our mental wellbeing, the two intrinsically linked.  We know 30 minutes a day can help keep you healthy and improve productivity (up 21%) and increase motivation to work (up 41%) – (Source: Productivityist, 2017).

So, why not run your own virtual sweats via a video link? Think yoga or dancing to get people up and moving…we’ll certainly be visiting our kitchen discos for a get up and dance boogie session. Or if you have kids at home, why not tune into Joe Wicks and his daily 9am youtube P.E. sessions? Have a look here. You could even sign-up your workforce to home fitness apps such as Freeletics . There are many options out there to have a play with, and have a laugh with too.

It isn’t all about physical exercising but mental sweats too, so how about running the following?

  • Online book clubs
  • Not at the Pub Quizzes. We’re obsessed with the app ‘Live Quiz’
  • Friday afternoon ‘drinks’ – you can all use the Houseparty app to play some truly funny games as a group

Push a break

Why not have emails, texts, push notifications, or whatever you use to best communicate with your team, to remind them that they should now take lunch, it is home time or to have a break mid-afternoon (FIKA time). This will remind your workforce that you are not trying to catch them out and expecting them to be online 24/7, in fact you support that they are not.


Hold regular reviews over the coming months with your teams. Use this as a forum for your employees to raise their concerns, any issues they are having and hopefully what is going well and any ideas to keep everyone’s spirits up. Even better if senior leadership can be present every now and again. This will not only allow them to hear any problems that people are having but also show that they care about the well-being of their staff. Get them working on their EQ!

PS These sessions are as much for leaders themselves who will be feeling as anxious as the rest of us right now.

Pulse tools

With your workforce not in the building you might find it hard to know what everyone’s thinking and how they are feeling. Fret not. Many pulse tool companies are giving away free services for the foreseeable. These pulse tools allow you to ask all your employees the same questions at the same time. The hot issues will become obvious as not only do employees give their own responses, but they can upvote others’ responses too. This means that the best responses rise to the surface like cream on a bottle of milk, giving you a clear direction of travel.

Also, pulse surveys can be fast, fun, easy to do and anonymous. The data can be cut in many ways to give real insight into what your employees are thinking right now. A couple we think are fab are – Waggl and Qualtrics.

Support everyone

Offer support to your people as best you can. Be this through regular communications via phone calls / video conferencing or something more substantial such as signing up for a business contract with mindfulness apps i.e. Headspace.

So, a few ideas of how to keep morale high, ensure conversation flows (both ways) and keep the weeks as ‘normal’ as possible for now. Overall, whatever you decide to do over the foreseeable you need to show you are there for your team and give them as much support as possible in these crazy, unprecedented, uncertain times.

Work should be about outputs, not inputs and a work-life balance is welcome in times of calm and critical in times of crisis. This global pandemic is awful in almost every way, but if it does have a single silver lining for the workplace it is this. It’ll force us all to rethink and reframe our relationship with work and home. Our relationship with our employees will become stronger through trust. Demonstrate that you trust them to deliver what they need to, on-time and with the quality expected, but to their own schedule. Promote work, rest, play as a culture and you can expect to keep seeing the results you want to see.

Now enough from us. It is time for a kitchen disco boogie. How about you?

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