“If only I could work from home!” How often have you heard work colleagues say these words… or had this thought yourself. For many employees, the prospect of working from the comfort of their own home sounds like Utopia. But will it be? We’ll know soon…
Another expression immediately enters my mind: “Careful what you wish for…”
Home working might seem like heaven-on-earth from the sidelines, but it can easily render you into a state of unproductivity if not approached and managed according to your own needs. To ensure that you create the best home working space for you, it’s very important to be aware of your sensory thresholds and how you react to different sensory stimuli in your environment. Complete your Sensory Matrix™ to discover your own preferences. You can also schedule an online Sensory Coaching session thereafter where your Sensory Matrix™ results will be unpacked in more detail.
In our recent blog, one of the tips to improve your home working environment was reducing distractions. Some distractions are easy to address e.g. close windows to drown out the noise from outside, wear comfortable clothes and declutter your desk. Some sweet, lovable, young “distractions”, seeking your attention, might be harder to manage during this sudden, lockdown, home working era.
We all know that it will be an (initial) adjustment for both parent and child, but here are 7 tips to help you accommodate/manage/care for your child while you need to work from home:
- Schedule meetings and calls in advance
Being organized and knowing beforehand when you’ll need less noise around, can help you choose the best quiet activity for your young child. Listening to audiobooks can help here. While schools are closed, you can find some for free.
- Get back to the senses
Whenever possible, get your kids off the couch and away from screens (we realize it might be necessary SOMETIMES). For little ones, make edible play-dough. There are many recipes out there. If you can’t find any, we can help.
- Incorporate problem-solving and creative thinking
Remember how we used to build forts, houses and castles in the lounge with old blankets draped over chairs and couches? Have old pillows, linen, empty boxes and furniture available for your child to play and explore with.
- Free-play with blocks
Ask your child to build different objects (or even better, their own inventions) by using building blocks e.g. Lego. No need to follow instructions, rather creative thoughts and loads of fun ideas.
- Get outside
If your home space allows it, encourage your child (if old enough) to play outside in your home garden. Riding a bicycle, baking mud cakes, swimming or even collecting sticks and stones to make a collage. Kids need to move and be active.
- Introduce chores
If there was ever a time to teach kids about household chores and responsibilities, now is it. Children can clean their rooms, make their beds, set the dinner table and help parents in the kitchen during meal preparation time.
- Keep in contact with family
Keep grandma and grandpa happy by drawing them a picture or writing them a letter (handwritten) every day. Mom can keep it safe and send a photo of it every night.
Make this uncertain time during lockdown more bearable for your little frustrated ones – as a result, it might just end up being more bearable for you too!
Covid-19 is forcing us to rethink the way we engage in the real, physical world. The power of technology and connectedness has never been more prominent than now. As a team, we have always worked virtual and support a flexible, home working approach for employee productivity and wellbeing. In the sensory overloaded world we operate in, flexible remote working practises have saved many of our clients from the brink of burnout in the past. So let’s see this as the positive take on Covid-19. It will force us to use the tools that have been right in front of our noses the whole time. This time not by choice (we hope you do) but by necessity (you know you must)!
Here are our 7 tips to be successful when working online:
- Your work environment should firstly be comfortable and conducive. Use a desk and proper chair – your bed or couch is not conducive for long periods of sitting still and can create unnecessary strain on your back, wrists and/or other body parts. Create an “office space” for you at home. No clutter, no mess, clean, tidy and comfortable. Although others won’t necessarily see it, you do and you need to like what you see.
- Stable WiFi and good online systems are critical. It will ensure smooth and easy connections. There is a variety of systems to meet, chat, collaborate and act. We use G-suite, Zoom, Trello, WhatsApp and Hangouts but there are various options. It is just amazing how connected you can be without being in the same physical space as others. Just ensure you agree on standard operating procedures to use the systems to avoid duplications, irritations or uncertainty when you work in a team.
- A distraction-free environment is important. Firstly, to help you to stay focused, ensure there is no annoying background noise. You can play your favourite playlist for sustained focus. I find Mozart, classical and instrumental playlists extremely helpful. They improve my level of focus by ± 30% and as a result, I get more work done. Secondly, when on a call you have to switch off all background noises. Switch off your music and keep the dog outside. Screaming toddlers won’t be appreciated by your audience. Disable the sound alerts on your phone or pc as they can be highly annoying for your team or audience on the other end. Mute your microphone when you are unable to control the noise and you are not speaking at that particular time.
- Good, proper lighting is important to boost productivity and focus. Use as much natural lighting as possible as it boosts productivity more than artificial lighting. Open your blinds or curtains to allow for more light but not to the detriment of glare. The potential is to change your desk position to allow for more natural light this way. Play around with options. If you develop eye strain or headaches relook your lighting sources.
- Sitting for hours and hours in your home office will have the same detrimental impact on your brain and focus levels when at work. Build stretch breaks into your home working day. Using the movement senses will improve your focus and alert levels and help you to have longer periods of productivity.
- You are not having a pajama party! While it can be tempting to move from your bed to your desk in your pj’s… don’t. Brush your teeth, comb your hair and dress as if you are going in to work. Your body and attire will prepare your mind for focused work. The unsaid and unseen have great power in our output and attitude.
- Last but not least, having self-awareness and self-insight into your natural rhythms and working style will take your home working productivity to the next level. The Sensory Matrix™ is our online assessment tool to provide insight into which sensory stimuli are distracting for you and which sensory stimuli are calming. Knowing how to build these insights into your day-to-day working environment will create lasting energy and focus. Most of my own team have low thresholds (they are roots of our Sensory Tree™) and can work week in and week out at home. I have high thresholds (the leaf of the Sensory Tree™) and find home working environments boring after a while. I need the vibe and stimulation of other people and different spaces. I will then arrange a meeting in a coffee shop and usually love it when I can go out and deliver services to clients. Understanding this unique diversity in our team has helped to ensure we are aligned optimally to the tasks needed.
- Click here to do our FREE Sensory Quiz™ to determine whether you are sensory sensitive or sensory seeking.
- Click here to buy the comprehensive Sensory Matrix™ with a 26-page report on your unique assessment scores, insights and strategies.
- Click here to find out more about our online workshop Work from home effectively to learn how to be most productive at home.