I've come across quite a few stories recently where individuals have felt estranged from their employer or a little adrift and are trying to develop a remote working practice which is foolproof. We know that people like to work in different ways too and so one person's routine might not suit another. We also know that as human beings we thrive on structure and you're being asked to create that yourself.

How are you getting on with that?

It took me between 1-2 weeks to fully develop a working at home routine which made working at home feel like normal. I had a little bit of experience of working from home prior to Covid-19, but this was only over the last 12 - 18 months. I am no expert.

I can see why people find it hard to adapt and we know psychologically it takes time to develop new routines. 

I'm a bit stuck on something I was told years ago ..... you've all heard the saying ..... "it takes 3 weeks to develop a habit" or new routine. Apparently the 21-day rule is a myth originally developed by Maxwell Maltz in the 1960's. The reality is that it usually takes much longer to form a new habit. A 2009 study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at UCL, found that on average it takes 66 days for a habit to become ingrained. The more hard work the habit was, the longer it took – and recently I heard that it took 90 days. Look the point is it takes time to develop new habits or routines, and longer that a few weeks. So, don't beat yourself up, but have an aim and you'll get there. 

Whilst you are developing your routine - how do you build the resilience to keep going and believe that you will get to a place which suits you where you can work as effectively from home. 

Says Harvard Business Review "Three “protective or facilitative factors” (as psychologists call them) predict whether people will have resilience: 

  • high levels of confidence in their abilities
  • disciplined routines for their work
  • social and family support" 

If you are managing a team don't be afraid to ask specific questions around these three factors to assess what aspects of building resilience your team feels particularly good at and what aspects they need more one-to-one coaching from you. 

More resilient teams can offer that foundation to manage change and work with ambiguity more effectively. If you have individuals who are stronger on some aspects of resilience, like planning their day, or avoiding distraction, then you can get them to train others in the team. 

Like any high performing team - use the strengths in the team to build strength across the team. 

Be honest - do you understand you team? If not go find out .....