These days Gard employees are working remotely across our offices around the globe. Sandra Guiguet in our Hong Kong office shared her thoughts with Gard colleagues that may apply equally to our Members and clients as they too find themselves working remotely. We are pleased to share her advice.
24 MAR 2020
These are unprecedented times even for those of us in Asia who experienced the SARS epidemic in 2003. Here are some reflections and suggestions for Gard colleagues and friends across the globe, based on our few weeks of home office experience in Hong Kong.
Adapting to change
For most of us, working from home, a hotel room, a train, or a plane is familiar. After all, we do most of our business using a PC and a mobile phone. We do it often and for short periods of time. However, working from home for several weeks in a row, without knowing how long this will last and with for some of us amidst a noisy tribe sharing the living space, this is a new and abnormal situation. Add on top of this a hint of fear of being sick or seeing your relatives affected by a virus that still has not revealed all its darkest secrets and you get a recipe, if not for disaster, at least for a potentially bumpy ride.
Working from home may appear at first as a welcome break from having to go to the office every day. Once the novelty of being allowed to stay home wears off, you could experience less exciting phases ranging from boredom to loneliness, frustration, lack of engagement, lack of energy, mild or more severe anxiety and negative thought patterns. This is all quite normal so the best is to know about it before it happens so you can anticipate and do something about it.
Hong Kong office experience
Among the most challenging features of remote working, there is of course technical issues if you don’t have a big monitor or find slower connectivity at home, not to mention disturbance from roommates or family members. Scientists say it takes on average 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption so you may really want to find a way to isolate yourself or establish clear boundaries with your family members. If you don’t have a home office set up, you will need to find the best place in the house or apartment to avoid disruption. Sitting at the kitchen table may not be such a good idea!
Lack of easy connection with co-workers has also been reported as detrimental. Less easy interaction and face-to-face meetings can hinder the natural flow of exchanges. Whether it comes from the uninterrupted train of thoughts or the daunting proximity of the junk food drawer, distraction can strike at any anytime whether you live with a family, a pet or alone.
Is there a silver lining?
While most of our staff have reported experiencing the same efficiency as when working in the office and sometimes a slightly reduced efficiency, it also appears that there has been a clear gain in efficiency for some of us due to more flexible time management. Either way the work gets done and the new set up develops a greater sense of trust which was already an important feature of our Gard culture. There are many other positives and here are just a few.
Some useful tips
No one solution fits all. Each staff member has managed to make it work when adapting to individual circumstances. While maintaining the exact same routine as in the office may not be possible, establishing a good new routine during those times will be essential. The following tips may help.
Finally, just remember that Isaac Newton and Shakespeare had some of the most productive times of their lives and some major breakthroughs while working from home during plagues episodes.
This is a unique opportunity in your life to spend time with your family and while supporting uninterrupted Gard quality services, to show strength, resilience, solidarity and apply our Gard core values.