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WFH Fatigue

RESOURCES

Please contribute and jot down any resources here :)

NOTES

  • It’s very hard to find out about yourself if you’re being affected by this whole situation. Let alone knowing how your team is feeling.
  • It’s really hard to talk about this, but how can you be aware of how you’re feeling and how can you be mindful about it all. How can you talk about it with your team? What’s normal?
  • Everyone is affected differently by it all, this makes it also hard to start seeing the signs.
  • There was a spike in engagement in the beginning but as it’s all going on, there’s a dip in that engagement. Why is that? Lack of capacity, coping with the situation differently now that it’s long term?
    • Doing a feedback survey every couple of months to create more insights
    • Does the company do enough? Does anything else need to happen?
  • How do you get past the first “How are you doing?” question?
  • March and April the productivity went up, around May it normalised, but now in August there’s a negative trend. The output of the CS team dropped significantly. Tech development has also slowed. Company wide the pace has been closer than usual.
    • People didn’t notice their WFH fatigue till it was pointed out, they needed a moment of reflection
    • Going back to the office helped create more awareness about how they may have been affected
  • First of all you need to notice it in yourself, that you are fatigued. Then you need to be able to speak up about it without feeling like you’re bad at your job. Finally you need to learn to recognise it in other people. (If you don’t have KPIs or OKRs it may be harder to see even still)
  1. Raise awareness
  2. As a manager you should also check in with your team actively. You, as a manager, can start by sharing something more personal so that it prompts other people to do so as well.
  3. Recognise it in other people - is an anonymous questionnaire the best way?

Meeting cadence team and company wide - Has anything changed?

  • Not really, but being a little more relaxed so there is a moment created for people to talk about things
  • Some people have been more protective about their productivity time
  • Started doing morning standups, however feedback said it was too frequent, now it’s less frequent
  • Started using Donut, but after a while it’s more tiring, especially in a small company you have quickly made a round
  • Thursday socials, initially there were a lot of ideas going and now that excitement has gone, people feel like they have to join.
  • Being on Zoom all the time is taxing, having to organise it all is still taxing because there’s a lot that needs to be done for it to work. Spreading the word, organising it, ensuring people join, …
  • Is this more an ops function or is the burden shared?
  • Coffee chats in the morning - don’t join them because it may cut into your productivity time. This can be a very personal thing.
  • People need purposeful social interaction. When you take your own initiative you get more out of it, but maybe less from a group event.
  • Before Corona, trying to do less meetings. When you’re in the office you have less focus time and you need to be more protective of your working time. Change from Monday to Basecamp as it’s been built by a team that is remote, there’s more emphasis on writing things down. You can write down your questions and the people can answer when they have the time. There’s no need to wait till a meeting to ask a question. Now meetings are rarely used to give updates and decide on things, it’s more to help with explanations that are easier verbally than written down. A report is created afterwards. It saves a lot of meeting time. Very lucky that this way of working was implemented before lockdown. The meetings are now much quicker thanks to the new tool, but that also means that you have more time to catch-up with the team during the meeting.

Big issue with Slack, it’s not a place to save conversations and information. Things will never be actioned or a task won’t be planned.

  • Hard to get past the “How are you?” “Fine”
    • Ask questions like
      • How is your working from home setup?
  • No formal way to figure out how people are coping. It’s more about the linemangers gauging during calls and chats. Can you see small changes in people’s behaviours?
  • Can you see if people have a good work/life balance? Are they working longer? Are they taking enough holidays and breaks even if they can’t leave?
  • Encouraging people to take a day off if you see they haven't in a while.
  • How can you get to a point where if it’s a “down” day, to tell your team so that they can cheer you up?
  • Using a Slack status “Done for the day” - in the beginning of lockdown people were good at using it, but now it’s dropped off. Possibly less useful since there’s also an “away” status.
  • You shouldn’t be expected to reply to Slack messages right away. There needs to be good communication around expectations of the sort.
  • Sharing experience and expectations on how to track your time and how you can block off time. Keeping everything transparent so that people don’t end up in “passive worries”.

Is the fatigue a culmination of a lot of small things or one big thing?

  • Feedback and communication is very important with a line manager. If you don’t know where you stand with your manager it ends up creating a lot of worry.
  • People start being very focussed on a very small thing that can imply many different things, but it’s also creating miscommunication.
  • There are a lot of things that are not being said, but that you pick up in a meeting non-verbally. But you can’t have this when you’re not talking in person.
  • You can pick up on things easier when people have an off day in person. You can also help each other so much more.
  • If people are in the same room, then you know if they are working or slacking. How do you build trust when you don’t see them?
  • You have no clue what people are doing, are they doing too much? Not enough?
  • Is having new hires that never saw the team working more at risk with doing too much, not enough? It’s such a spectrum.
  • For juniors a lot of learning comes from watching people in an office and doing things. But that’s now not possible. Managing the expectations is very hard.
    • Start helping them plan their day
    • If you’re stuck, don’t stay stuck - ask immediately
  • Some people need more structure till it becomes routine and expectations are more robust and familiar.
  • “If you keep doing the same thing, you shouldn’t expect a different result”
  • Unless we talk about it, we can’t solve it - you need to know who that person is.
  • Different kinds of social interactions are missing. The variety is missing, the diversity.

How do you manage WFH fatigue with more senior people?

  • Other people need to look out for the people on their level
  • Creating rules/boundaries e.g. don’t wake up and sit in front of your computer
  • Ask people who are used to working remote what their tips are