In recent years, organizations have increasingly embraced work-from-home policies. In many cases, this is a completely new experience for government and public sector employees. These employees are often left wondering if they are going to be as successful in their job from home as they were in the office. Furthermore, for many constituents, engaging with their government via remote tools like video collaboration is entirely new.
Government and public sector institutions are not alone in this. Other key societal institutions like healthcare and education are also embracing hybrid work models and innovations like telehealth and distance learning. Promisingly, these models offer a highly desirable combination of access, efficiency, and outcomes.
For many, the commute to and from the office and other facilities has traditionally been a time to mentally transition. When confined to our home, this small task may not seem important and may be seen as a blessing (good-bye traffic!), but the loss of time to decompress during or after a hard day’s work can take a toll on our mental well-being.
The solution: encourage employees to try different activities to help start and end their day like deep breathing, reflection time, taking a walk, exercising, meditating, reading, or even taking a nap. Ask your employees to find what works for them in their new at-home work routine.
Where you work matters. Plopping on the couch in front of a TV with the temptation to binge-watch worthy shows is not ideal, nor is laying in your bed where you’re tempted to relax or sleep. A designated workspace is needed.
The solution: communicate to employees that it is essential to find an area within their home to establish an office. It doesn’t have to be an entire room; it only needs to be a designated area that sets the tone of diligence and focus during their workday.
Working in pajamas is super appealing to just about everyone, even public servants. However, there is a real psychological benefit to dressing for your job when working from home. And government and public sector employees are used to more traditional, buttoned-up dress codes than Silicon Valley tech firms. Still, working from home - along with multiple generations of people working in the same organization - has changed the traditional office dress code for good, in every sector.
The solution: Let employees be who they are and be authentic while remaining professional. In terms of dressing for the job, encourage them to continue to go about their normal routine as they would if they were going into the office, to a court proceeding, council meeting, or to a town hall, but also to embrace the flexibility of wearing whatever feels comfortable and appropriate for them in this new, more casual home office environment, where may not be as necessary to dress up for many day-to-day tasks.
Working from home doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice face-to-face interactions. If you are new to video collaboration, it’s time to embrace and unleash the power of video to drive engagement with team members, court officials, citizens, and other constituents.
The solution: Make it easy for employees to invest in an external webcam that makes hybrid work more human. Meeting over video provides similar benefits to a face-to-face meeting, making it almost as good as being there in person. Plus, innovative Logitech software like Right Light provides a professional appearance in any lighting condition so employees can always look their best.
Water cooler breaks are just as important in the office as when working from home. It’s recommended to take a much-needed “you-break” and avoid work time bleeding into personal time.
The solution: Advise employees to set their smartwatches, fitness trackers, or alarms to get up and move. When it’s time for a break, let them know that it’s OK to step away from their designated workspace to relax and clear their mind.
Everyone is familiar with the saying “lead by example.” Now is the perfect time to put this into practice.
The solution: Show employees how to embrace today’s new way of working by creating a balance - scheduling breaks, taking care of yourself, and engaging with employees over video promotes a sense of connectedness and reduces isolation.
Do you remember when Professor Robert E. Kelly was interrupted by his children during a live BBC broadcast in 2017? This is one of the most well-known viral work-from-home moments. But it demonstrates importance: distractions and interruptions happen in the office and it is okay for them to happen at home.
Whether your children run into your designated office area or your dog is saving your life from a squirrel outside, life happens. We need to embrace these interruptions and understand we are all human.