As we press on through the effects of COVID-19, many people are now settling into the unprecedented dynamic of full-time work-from-home mode. To share ideas for navigating through this, Mitel CHRO, Billie Hartless (@hartlessbillie), led a Twitter chat (#MitelChats) with human capital management consultant Jeffrey Lyons (@WorkLifeMeasure) on April 9. Let’s take a look at what they covered:

How do you manage the stress of suddenly having your work and home life collide?

It's not easy. Making an extreme change takes time to adjust to. Although we're collectively #togetherapart, everyone is managing a different dynamic in their new home arrangements. Some are isolated and others are sharing space with children, pets, spouses. In every case, personal and professional are colliding in what Billie coins as the #blendedlife—which calls for more patience and empathy.

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While stress can be a good motivator to drive high performance, when prolonged, it can damage health. To circumvent this, Billie said there are ways to make the stress work in your favor—as a cue to understand how stress is affecting you and pinpoint ways to balance it with self-care. Twitter participants agreed, listing a daily digital detox and establishing a clear end of the workday and designated workspace as important ways to differentiate work from home life.

Frequent mini breaks where you focus on getting away from your workspace and balancing the time with other activities are also helping many #MitelChats participants. They recommended weaving de-stressing into your break time so you can stop and take a breath instead of powering through the day.

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When struggling to adapt to change, focusing on the positive is also a must. There are lots of little things that working from home can add to a day like extra time with other members of the household or more space to focus and less commuting. The key is to magnify what you can do, rather than what you can't.

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What should you keep in mind when setting up a home workspace?

Everyone agreed that great lighting, a supportive chair and ambiance still apply. Since you're at your desk most of the day, it's worth it to nurture yourself and invest in the space.

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It's helpful to set up somewhere separate from the bustle of the home—maybe get a good music playlist for extra focus. Do a quick check on what's behind your desk chair to make sure it's appropriate for video calls. And make sure your tech (we recommend an all-in-one collaboration solution) has you powered up for maximum productivity.

Billie added that making home working comfortable isn't just about keeping it at home. Extending the connection virtually and keeping a positive vibe going with colleagues transforms a remote situation into something inclusive—and that’s good for morale.

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How do you effectively manage remote employees?

Managing people is all about managing outcomes—and focusing on regular communication. That can mean regular one-on-one meetings, walking through things in real time, nurturing relationships and fostering trust. Communications technology is making these kinds of connections natural so we can keep the regular pace of connection and collaboration―and stay social.

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Are we at a tipping point that will lead to widespread adoption of new ways of working?

It was agreed that COVID-19 lockdown measures have already made a difference in how society views remote working. Being forced to work from home and use communications and collaboration technology has enlightened many businesses that were previously uncomfortable with it.

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Billie said that pre-pandemic she was already seeing a trend in Millennials wanting more flexibility in their work arrangements. Once the crisis has passed, Jeffrey Lyons says businesses will have to reevaluate the talent pool and how to maximize talent in a more remote environment.

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At the very least, there will be a need to relax work-from-home policies to enable better work-life balance. While some verticals cannot #WFH, they can make use of mobile technology to be more efficient and productive. Happy employees are harder working employees and providing them with the option to choose how they balance will present opportunities for change in the workplace.

How are you doing?

COVID-19 presents us with a lot of unknowns—and with that comes stress. As we step through the pandemic one moment at a time, sharing what we're learning and what helps is making it easier to manage the uncertainty and create a new normal. In this #MitelChats session we discussed best practices, how we're managing the little things in own homes, and how we can look forward. Keep the conversation going and check back for more great Mitel Twitter conversations coming up.

Need help balancing your work-from-home life? Go to our Remote Working Resources>

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