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Redrawing the lines between life at home and working life in the home.

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Performance is generated by knowing our purpose, and the knowledge of how to deliver high-performance in our role. Preparation is where we draw our confidence from and how we discover the behaviours to meet the standards we aspire to.

When disruption hits from an unexpected event, plans get altered whether we like it or not. It is the people that own the delivery of the plan that need to adapt, not the plan. Many organisation communities have managed to pivot their workplaces to transform not only the place of work but also their ways of working.

Working from home or living at work

Over the past few months, we have achieved a level of change that previously would have been considered incomprehensible. For many of us, the Covid-19 pandemic has required us to redraw the lines between life at home and working life in the home. The world of work now beams into our bedrooms, kitchens, sitting rooms and even our cars as we find the space, peace and quiet to engage with our colleagues and the work we need to complete.

Through the lens of a computer screen, our colleagues have seen us in our most personal environments just as we have seen them in theirs. We may have become more human, vulnerable and compassionate in how we engage and connect and perhaps more tolerant and forgiving of colleagues who have struggled to settle into this new arrangement.

From professional to personal

In our former ‘normal’ place of work where we got up, dressed up and showed up, there may have been an unspoken or implicit rule that expected us to separate the personal experience of life from the professional experience of work. If there is to be a positive takeaway from this pandemic, perhaps it is the opportunity to challenge this practice in order to promote more worthwhile and trusting relationships at work, ones that are both supportive and productive and grounded in expressions of recognition. High performance cannot be achieved without a healthy marriage between the person and the professional. Holistic well-being matters.

Enabling Performance

All organisations want employees who can be consistent in their performance but what do they do to enable that consistency? Consistency in performance is derived from renewing the very sources that underpin it. That includes the planned and active renewal of our mental, emotional, and physical energy systems. The quality of these energy systems counts.

To perform at our best no matter what the context is, we need reinforced habits and rituals to assist with motivation, focus, confidence, self-care, and active recovery. Discovering what underpins our ability to get to that level of peak performance is paramount, and more so when we are working from home, potentially more isolated and without the face-to-face social engagements we are accustomed to.

The importance of ‘checking in meaningfully’

Checking in on how your team is doing needs to go beyond a cursory few minutes around the Zoom or Microsoft Teams table. We perform better when we know that we can be open with colleagues and leaders and that their response will be a compassionate one. Leaders are faced with similar challenges to their employees, including frustrations stemming from working at home and concerns for the future.

Leaders who demonstrate awareness, kinship and compassion with what their team are experiencing right now will deepen relationships, which will result in their team feeling more supported and connected. This really matters in a time when we are most missing human and social connections.

The context

While redrawing the lines between life at home and working life in the home has been necessitated by this situation, it is important to remain conscious of the following:

  • Nobody volunteered for this new working arrangement, there isn’t a choice.

  • This is not remote working as we thought we understood it to be, it is much deeper than that.

  • There is little doubt that everyone is struggling in some way or another.

  • Some reflection and engagement on “how the team is doing and how can we support them” is a positive development.

No doubt we will be required to pivot again as we emerge from this pandemic. Having a deeper connection with employees now will determine how well we transition forward and simultaneously optimise or sustain individual and organisational performance.

Right now, how are you and your team? What are you thinking about when it comes to planning for how you will lead your team into the future?

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If you are a CEO or a senior leader and you would like to have a confidential conversation, or a sparring partner on any of the issues raised here, please get in touch. We love a good problem!

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