COVID has caused many organizations to work from home, that can be a challenge if you have never done it before.
As someone who has worked remotely for 20+ years, here are a few strategies that we share with clients to help keep you productive … and sane!
Design Your Workplace
- Find a space you can work and learn.
- Set up your computer, lighting, wi-fi, and stationery you need on a daily basis.
- Consider your chair and if you want a sitting or standing space (or both) for long days.
- If you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated room in your home (or you are working from a heavy traffic area in your space), consider a basket that you can pack up your items each day to separate work and home.
- Use the Out of Office function on email.
- Consider web blocking software to allow you to focus on task completion (I like Freedom).
- Use instant messages for quick conversations with colleagues.
- Find a YouTube Video or fitness platform for stretching, Yoga, or a strength workout.
- Learn a new skill with a masterclass
- Watch a TED talk on a topic you are interested in
Establish a Daily Routine
- Create a system to start each day that includes moving your body, mindfulness, and fueling your body with healthy food.
- Invest 15 minutes in a strategic appointment with yourself, identify your top three non-negotiable activities for today.
- Review meetings and schedule breaks through the day to eat, move and get fresh air.
- Schedule breaks for lunch and snacks.
- Consider getting ‘dressed’ for work each day in a way that makes you feel productive.
- Establish a start and end time each day.
- Avoid being online outside of work hours when possible.
- Fight the urge to be on email all day, every day.
Educate your Co-workers
- If you share your home with others, let them know what time they can expect you to start and finish each day.
- Create agreements and boundaries to manage noise levels, break times, video, and phone.
- Place a post-it note on your door or create a do-not-disturb signal with your family.
- Be warned you will be more interrupted at home with deliveries, lawn services, dogs barking – all of it!
- Know it is normal to feel isolated, sad, lonely when you are in a new situation and you are missing your team. It’s ok.
- Continue to build relationships with colleagues and friends and family you miss by leveraging Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and instant messaging applications.
- Talk about how you are feeling, and what you are doing.
- Discover things that bring you joy that might include virtual happy hours, Yoga, journaling, learning something new online, cooking.
- Schedule 1:1 meetings with your boss.
- Attend team meetings to understand other’s priorities.
- Share your best tips for working remotely with your colleagues.
- Turn on your video when you can feel more connected.
- Virtual environments don’t allow spontaneous connection opportunities so reach out to team members and leadership more regularly than you normally would if you were located in the same building.
- Don’t assume everyone has read the email or seen the instant message.
- Share with people the BEST way to get your attention, i.e it email, text, instant message, or a phone call.
- Pick up the phone if you need to have a challenging conversation, don’t do that on email or text.
- Step away from your computer.
- Set the alarm on your phone to get up and stretch every hour.
- Schedule lunch breaks.
- Get fresh air.
Move Your Body
- Sitting at your computer for an extended time is not good for your physical or mental health.
- Walk around your home during phone calls, if you can.
- Regularly get up and move around your home
- Walkthrough your neighborhood (weather permitting) to help you recharge.
- Plan your workout time as a priority each day.
- Fill water bottles and leave them on your desk to encourage hydration each day.
- Set a target for how much water you want to drink and play a game of completion.