Sofie Bjärntoft says that the possibilities of flexible work can increase the individual’s expectations that work can be carried out at any time, as everyone is working from home and we only communicate by using digital tools.
“It may not be the expectations of managers and colleagues that they respond to. It could be their own idea that they are supposed to be available in the evening and during weekends.”
According to Sofie, it is important to make expectations clear within the group, and to establish a permissive culture in which the manager is a good role model. One piece of good advice is to make it clear when you are available, for instance between what times you are available on Skype, on Outlook and on the phone, and to use voicemail.
“It becomes easier to relax if I have communicated when I am available and when I am not, and when I will be back, “Sofie Bjärntoft says.
Can become very lonely
According to Sofie Bjärntoft, it is even more important now that managers maintain individual social contact with all employees to that no one drops out of sight. Social support and a sense of community are essential when we work remotely.
“Managers should promote regular zoom meetings and ‘zoom-coffees’ and carry out follow-ups on everybody’s well-being as well as check how work progresses, both for individuals and for the group. This is important for us to stay healthy.”
But every individual also needs to take responsibility for maintaining a sense of community, which includes support from colleagues, so that it doesn’t get lost.
“It can become very lonely to sit all alone, and even if there are meetings, they may be focused on nothing but work, so that the social dimension that usually is present at lunch and coffee breaks may be lost,” Sofie Bjärntoft points out.