Rethinking professionalism during WFH

It’s been a month since the schools closed down in Tokyo. It seems likely that this will be extended into early May. As an entrepreneur working from home is not new to me. If I’m not delivering corporate training, meeting clients or attending events, I work from home.

Working from home with my kids in tow, completely new experience.

Each day I’m learning and adapting as I’m sure you and your team are. Early in March I found myself getting super stressed when my kids would be around during a conference call. What if my clients don’t think I am professional?

I realised though that this tension was impacting my presence on the call. I was so anxious about possible distractions that I was not focused. I was listening out for any sign of an imminent yelp or too loud burst of laughter.

It was whilst recording the Small Business in Japan podcast that I decided to change my approach.

When my son decided to jump into the shot only in his pajama pants, I just gave up! The whole situation was too ridiculous that I had to laugh. Thank goodness it is an audio not video podcast!

When you listen to the podcast you can also hear that Josh Smith has applied some music to the recording. It’s there to drown out the indoor table tennis tournament and the sounds of my kids getting over excited during the making of the Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall that I panic bought after the schools were closed.

So this is my rethink about professionalism when working from home with kids.

  • It is professional to be present.
  • It is professional to be accepting.
  • It is professional to be understanding.
  • It is professional to be human.

According to Google’s Project Aristotle Research :

The most significant element of team success is what’s known as psychological safety: a culture of trust where people feel safe to speak up, take risks, and know that they won’t be ridiculed for making mistakes or dissenting.

Whilst you and your team are adapting to new circumstances, allow people to make mistakes, to be less than “perfect” and apply a new perspective to what “professional” means.

You can listen to the Small Business Japan Podcast here Keep your ears peeled for the musical interludes!

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