Author: Jesline Justine

Even with the COVID-19 restrictions easing, many of us are set to work from home for the foreseeable future. The longer we do so, the more likely we are to become bored or unmotivated. So, how do we ensure we’re continuing to make the best of the situation?

Here are my tips for staying positive and overcoming some of the common challenges that come with working from home.

Appreciate the benefits

Now more than ever, it’s important to take stock of the positives and remind ourselves that there are plenty of advantages to working from home. For me, the biggest benefit is not having to spend hours a day commuting. Now I’m able to use that extra time to focus on my passions – music and cooking.

Working remotely also usually means having more flexible working hours, which is great if you have other responsibilities or hobbies to think about – or you just don’t want to have to worry about catching your bus on time!

Thankfully, CGI has always focused on promoting a healthy work/life balance and supported remote working wherever it helps employees manage their workload. As such, the company is well equipped to support working from home, which has made the transition during the pandemic very manageable.

Recognise the challenges

Although the technology we have allows us to stay connected virtually, the reality is it’s not the same as interacting in person. Not everybody likes to video chat, which means you can’t always see the person you are speaking to. You also can’t fully gauge people’s reactions and read their body language over text or an audio call.

Additionally, it can be more difficult to collaborate in a remote work setting. On a support project, for example, I would want all of my teammates to communicate continuously about the things that they are working on. Normally this would be as easy as just shouting out while we were all in the office. When we’re all working from home, it’s just not as practically possible to enforce this.

All of these factors can lead to a breakdown in communication, and even feelings of isolation and demotivation amongst team members.

Make it work

Despite the challenges, there are many things we can do to make the most of working remotely, both for ourselves and our teams.

As a start, setting up virtual coffee catch-ups or virtual lunches is a great way to check in with each other and make sure everyone feels supported and connected. Taking time out from the day-to-day helps break up the monotonous home environment and provides some much-needed social interaction.

Teams can also start up their own email bulletin or use similar tools to update daily statuses, and make these accessible to everyone. The team manager or leader can then use this to track everyone’s productivity, whilst team members can use it to stay in the loop with what’s happening on their projects.

In my own situation, CGI has put into place many initiatives to make working from home as positive as possible for all employees. We use tools like Microsoft Teams to stay connected throughout the day, and for employees who were not already set up to work at home, the company has offered monitors and other equipment to ensure an ergonomic work environment. We’re lucky that CGI has acted quickly to make sure we’re supported and happy, even when we are all stuck at home.

I know it can be challenging to stay motivated and productive right now. But by focusing on the positives and continually working to overcome the challenges, we can make the best of the situation together.