Last week I wrote a little bit about the changes we’re going through, as a society. An old way of living and working is coming to a close, and a new one is opening up. As we’re only in the early stages of the change, the ultimate shape of what is to come is not even close to being clear, but we are starting to get a hazy image of what might be.
- We know that the advent of high quality, high speed internet is improving our ability to work from anywhere we have a net connection.
- We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many of us out of the office.
- We know that the economic fallout of the pandemic is creating havoc in the high density, high rent financial districts of the globe.
All of this means that an increasing number of us will either work for our companies remotely, i.e. from home, or we will figure out ways to work for ourselves, i.e. from home. Which means we will have to learn a new skillset in order to navigate these new waters.
But, what new skills will we need?
It’s perhaps the most obvious thing we will need to know, but we’re going to have to have at least a basic grasp of ergonomics. Now, when most people hear the word “ergonomics” they think of their comfy, adjustable office chair.
While it is true that your office chair is part of the office ergonomics question, it is not the whole of it. Don’t forget about:
- Your desk
- Your monitor(s), keyboard and mouse
- The location of your office (which room are you going to use, and why)
- The physical arrangement of your office (where are you going to put your desk, for instance)
- The décor
- And so much more.
Ergonomics is about the way we interface with the world, and now you have the opportunity to take control of your entire working environment. What are you going to do with that control.
- Task management/workload
The old days of; show up at 9am, take lunch at noon, head home at 5pm are done. Now your job will be defined by a set of tasks to perform, rather than by the times you are at work.
- How do you ensure you are neither overwhelmed, nor underworked
- How are you going to schedule it all?
You now have the opportunity to take ownership over your workload, or, at the very least, enter into much more of a partnership with your boss.
- Time management/scheduling
There are a certain number of hours in the day. You have a certain amount of work to do, and a life outside of your job.
- It’s easy to let family distractions interfere with work.
- It’s equally easy to let your job take over your life, and end up working long after you would have quit, were you at the office.
In short, how do you ensure that, between work and life, one does not encroach upon, or even completely take over from, the other?
- Personal and professional interactions.
Need a few minutes with a co-worker, a subordinate, or the boss? His desk is right over there, go have a quick chat.
Wait, no it’s not, not any longer. How are you going to manage these relationships? So much of our communication is non-verbal, and now we’re using email and direct messaging. We’re doing our meetings over video, or even just the phone. How will that affect your job, and what are you going to do to make sure the effect is a positive one?
These are but a few of the things we will need to consider, starting, oh, about six months ago. We’re entering a new world, and it’s one few of us were even remotely prepared for. We don’t know what the ultimate shape of it will be, and yet we have no choice but to try to prepare for it.