Working From Home and Prioritisation

After a crazy week, I’m grateful to have a day at home to relax today.

With a full on working week last week, a trip to the solicitors on Friday and a lovely day walking around London with mum yesterday, my body and mind are in need of some R&R today.

For the first time in 3 years, work is starting to feel relatively settled. Our company has been through a lot of change over the last 3 years, and on top of that, around a year ago, I was asked to start managing a side of the business I knew very little about. It’s been a tough ride. But finally after a year battling to understand the role, and getting myself into a position where I could competently manage the team around me, I feel like good progress has been made.

On top of that, I have been working with the team to get through an external assessment for this area of the business. Not too much pressure then! Last week saw us meeting with the assessors and submitting our final pieces of evidence. We won’t know until next week how we have done in the assessment, but through a lot of hard work and determination I am confident that this area of the business is in a much better place than it was, and my management of this area of the business has improved tenfold.

It has been hard putting other areas of my work on the back burner whilst I focused on the assessment. One of the most important things I have learnt over recent months, has been how to prioritise my workload better. For me it’s simply being more aware that it’s ok to say no to some things. And those things I can’t say no to? I say yes, but I am learning to give more realistic timescales in order to get the work done.

In addition to learning to prioritise, the other thing that has changed my day recently, is the ability to work from home more often. Under new leadership, we are taking the time to understand how we can help and improve staff wellbeing, whilst still getting the job done. Working from home once a week has changed my working life, which in turn has changed my home life for the better too. Our office can be like a whirlwind at times, with the phones ringing non stop, constant queries from the team, in addition to meetings. This can make it incredibly difficult to get the day job done. There have been times over the last 3 years where I have ended up working 12 hour + days, as well as working at weekends, just to stop myself from drowning. But working from home has changed all that. Having that one day a week to work from home means that I get at least one full admin day per week. It is often broken up with phone calls, conference calls and still the odd emergency to deal with, but because I have no other distractions when I am at home, I can manage these situations a lot better and still catch up with my administration or to work on projects.

Working at home also gives me that much needed reflection time. One of the early sessions I had with Beth  we discussed the importance of finding time to reflect. This was also reinforced at the Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management course I completed recently. When I am working out of the office, whether I’m at home working in silence or with the radio on in the background, or in a coffee shop with the day to day hustle and bustle going on around me, I get far more opportunities to be present and to reflect on the work I am doing and how things are making me feel.

Working from home also gives me the time and space to plan. This may seem quite a simple process to some people, but when you work in an open plan office constant distractions, with few quiet spaces leading to a lack of opportunity to move away from the chaos of the office in order to plan effectively, it makes planning extremely difficult. This of course then has a knock on effect to the rest of my work. I find that planning on my day at home enables me to have a lot more focus during the week, which in turn is helping the rest of my team. By being much more organised and less fraught, I can already see the difference in my team who have themselves reacted positively to these changes. They too are benefiting from more opportunities to work from home, and are a lot more productive as a result.

Despite only having the opportunity to work from home for a couple of months, I can already feel the difference this is making to my wellbeing.

All of this combined, is helping the team (as well as us managers) improve our work life balance. I acknowledge that my job is never going to be solely something I can do from Monday-Friday 9-5, however, I am no longer working 12 hour days or weekends which quite frankly, is bliss.

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