Comment: Embracing the work alone thing

By: WiRT chairperson Meryn Morrison

WIRT Having output-oriented goals can give both employers and employees confidence in working from home WIRT
WIRT 1 All over the world, the trucking industry is working night and day to support communities under lockdown WIRT 1

WiRT chairperson Meryn Morrison shares a few tips on how to embrace working from home

At the start of 2020 when we were all looking forward to the year ahead, who could have predicted the events of the past few months? Throughout the pandemic, I’ve had to be extra careful, as I’m a vulnerable person with compromised immunity.

This has meant that I’ve embraced WAT—working alone thing. Even once we’re on the other side of COVID-19, I think it’s realistic for people to think that they want more flexibility in their life and maybe working alone can give that.

Up until now, employment contracts have largely been based on turning up 40–60 hours a week, however, productivity is achieved through outputs and meeting targets, not the hours sitting at your desk.

So, if you think this new way of working suits you, perhaps approach your manager with a plan based on measurable outputs, not just an idea that you want to work from home for four days a fortnight. Be flexible if required and always stick to your end of the bargain.
Here are some tips for how you can be productive while working from home:

  • Anchor a workspace at home if there’s no separate room.
  • Make rules for other family members about not interrupting you while you’re at work. Maybe give them a time for when you knock off.
  • Create the space to work for you and practice lean management of the space. You know that chunky file you’ve kept for five years just in case? Do you really need it anymore?
  • Figure out your best work time. Are you better at six in the morning like me or are you a late starter? Family commitments might also be a factor in this.
  • Get real with break times. Sometimes I get so focused on what I’m doing and then think it must be about lunchtime to discover its mid-afternoon. So give yourself regular breaks as if you would with your colleagues in the office.
  • Think about relocating the coffee machine from the kitchen to the office. However, maybe that’s just me because I like taking microbreaks where things are still formulating in my head and I need the thinking space to bring them together.
  • Zoom, GoTo Webinars, and Microsoft Teams are great but make sure your technology can keep up with the demands. Have a chat with your employer about data management and costs up front.
  • When you finish for the day, log off entirely and shut the workspace off. It’s important to separate your work life from your personal life.
  • Self-care and wellness are vital so maintain hydration, stretch, and manipulate your desk set-up, so you have good body posture at the keyboard.
  • Know when you need to be back in the office touching base with colleagues and have a trusted mentor or colleague you can call if you need help or advice.

Working from home can work for some and others may find it tough. Whatever the new normal turns out to be in your new COVID-19 world, find the solution that works best for you.

Discuss with your employer and come up with some output-oriented goals that help you focus and also give your boss confidence that you’re a valuable and productive member of the team no matter where you are based.

Finally, a massive thank you to all the transport services, nurses, doctors and health professionals, supermarket workers, police, and other essential workers out there. What a huge contribution you’ve have made to keep us and our loved ones safe during the lockdown. Kia Kaha New Zealand.

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