Working from home, for some, has become the norm. Our working days are no longer punctuated with the breaks and refrains they previously were; no more ‘water cooler’ moments or pauses for casual conversation in the shared kitchen space at work.
We are now aware how vital these moments were for spontaneous collaboration with our colleagues. That problem you were pontificating while waiting for the kettle to boil, was discussed with the colleague finding their preferred type of tea. The sudden post-meeting brainwave you had en route back to your desk could be shared as you walked through the office space.
Instead, we have fixed social interactions and too often, only written correspondence with our colleagues as we work from our home settings.
This can lead us to feel equally overwhelmed and underwhelmed or under-stimulated by some of the work tasks we’re facing. Without the collaboration of our colleagues, we can sometimes fail to find the enthusiasm we once did with our work.
Rediscovering your motivation and enthusiasm can be achieved, and as we go through the cycles of working through lockdown be prepared to find this isn’t a steady upward flow of energy. Rather, have the patience to see your enthusiasm and energy rise and fall.
One useful tool I’ve seen implemented is setting collaborative conversations with colleagues. Yes, we can be Zoomed out at the moment, so don’t feel obliged to host this as a video call (although we’ve found they tend to work better).
Hosting a collaborative conversation could take the form of asking one or two colleagues to join you for 20 minutes to chat over where you are currently. What’s working well, what are you stuck on and what can they suggest. This doesn’t necessarily have to be about set projects, it could be more general. Are you stuck with a regular tech frustration, or finding it difficult to get the most out of a regular online team meeting?
At this particular time, it can be useful to find out how other people are breaking down their working day to get inspiration on how you can change yours to become more efficient - particularly useful if you’re feeling overwhelmed by working alongside maintaining family life!
Collaborative conversations are great stepping stones between the regular meetings we attend throughout our working week, and offer a great opportunity to give each other a lift and boost of thinking when the well of motivation and inspiration has run dry.
This article explores the effect of boredom and leading through COVID-19 in a little more detail as well as more information about collaborative conversations.