Now that we’re weeks into lockdown and working from home with no end in sight you may be feeling a little deflated or unmotivated about your job. And who could blame you? The only thing certain right now is that nothing is certain. Combine this with you being unable to have any physical contact with your work friends and colleagues, and the result for many isn’t an optimistic one, even for the most positive people. 

That’s why it’s time to focus on the benefits of working in self-isolation and start thinking of ways that you can get the most out of the current situation. I’ve highlighted five professional skills that you can perfect while working from home with some guidance on how to best approach each one. Read on to find out more. 

  1. Innovation 

For most of us the shift to working from home full-time is a significant one that’s taken some getting used to. It’s one thing to do home-working a day or two a week but it’s completely different to be stuck at your makeshift home ‘office’ day in, day out for the foreseeable future.

There are adjustments that need to be made in order for businesses to successfully function this way which means there are new ways of working that can likely be introduced to make the transition a smooth one. This innovation can start with you. What creative ways can processes be implemented that will allow yourself and your team to deliver the best results possible with everybody working from home?

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  1. Communication 

There’s lots that can be said about communication in the workplace, whether it’s that people aren’t communicating enough or that there’s too much unnecessary communication taking place. Haven’t we all had to sit through meetings that could have been emails? Or participated in email back and forths that could have been phone calls, or even better, a quick walk to a desk round the corner?

Not being able to absent-mindedly book meeting rooms because that’s what’s always been done has meant that we now need to find more effective ways of sharing information between ourselves and our co-workers. Now’s the time to work on effectively but succinctly including only the necessary details in your emails. Start writing down what it is that you want to say in phone calls or during video conferences so you don’t find yourself going off topic or forgetting the key points you need to share. 

Make sure you’re asking the right questions and have a clear understanding of what’s expected of you. On the flip side it’s also important to make sure the people you’re speaking to have a solid grasp of what you’re saying and that they know exactly what it is that you need from them.

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  1. Initiative

Are you able to take charge in situations that are veering off course? Can you sense what your manager needs doing before they ask you to do it? If not, there could be room for you to improve your initiative skills. This requires a level of confidence as well as a willingness to put yourself out there.

Don’t just think of solutions to problems and keep them in your head. Be forthcoming with your ideas but more importantly propose plans on how you can implement them and how these changes can benefit your organisation. 

Leadership often comes with taking initiative so don’t be afraid to put yourself forward to head up different projects or act as someone who can offer guidance and knowledge to your team members.

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  1. Time management

A recent study has revealed that since the global lockdown was enforced we’re spending significantly more time working from home than we did when we travelled to our workplaces. U.S. workers are logging on for an extra three hours per day and for workers in the UK, France, Spain and Canada, time logged on has increased by two hours per day on average.

This means that time management is hugely important now more than ever. If you can help it, try and make sure you’re showing up on time – not early – and that you’re logging off when you’re supposed to in order to avoid overworking. 

Improving your time management also means assigning specific blocks of time of time to each task so that you can work as efficiently as possible and avoid unintentionally wasting time. Without your team around you and your boss no longer in close proximity it’s easy to get distracted and let your mind wander to non-work-related things. 

  1. Technology

With technology being the main thing that’s keeping us in contact with our colleagues you need to brush up on your digital skills whether you like it or not. You don’t want to be the last person showing up late to a Zoom call with a glitchy internet connection because you didn’t know where to find the Meeting ID and your at-home broadband speed is too slow for you to participate. 

Plus, with online calendars, to-do lists, shared documents and God knows what else that you probably now have to tap into, you can’t afford to not know what you’re doing. At best it makes you look out of touch with modern day working practices and at worst it gives the impression that you’re incapable, inefficient and just plain lazy.

What skills have you been brushing up on since working from home?

Posted by:Carly Lewis-Oduntan

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