As the COVID-19 pandemic seizes the globe, working remotely has become mandatory for most people. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran to working from home (WFH), this post hopes to enlighten you on ways to remain productive. It’s realistic to assume that shifting to the ‘home office’ will become the new norm for many of us for a while, given the severity and likely longevity of the current situation.
Some employees will be working from home for the first time, which means figuring out how to stay on tasks in a new environment that may not lend itself to productivity. Fret not, there are ways to deliver results and avoid going stir-crazy, from setting up a good workspace to communicating with your team!
Crank up the Communications
Regardless of the pandemic, the key to working from home is clear communication with your manager, your team and your clients. As most staff spend their usual working routine in close proximity to an office environment, communication was direct and effortless. With remote work being mandatory for most people, that’s all out of the window!
Communication breakdown becomes a blocker if your company is not familiar with working remotely. Your managers may not be used to virtual management as this requires a suite of tools to be set-up beforehand or maybe they’re just not familiar with technology in general.
While communicating with your team from home, it helps every bit as much if there are functions that can provide face-to-face meetings more seamlessly and easily accessible. Apps like Slack, Zoom, Skype, Zello enable your team to achieve effective communication throughout, even when you’re in different timezones! All you need is a computer with a webcam and a microphone.
Set the Vibe Up
Just because you can wander around in your pyjamas at home doesn’t mean you actually should during work hours. Take a shower and get dressed! If you don’t have a home office, at least create an ad hoc, bespoke working environment. Without an equipped home office space generally tends to lead people to the opposite of being productive, mainly due to identifying their home as a space to relax instead of getting their mindset to work.
Instead of lying in bed with a laptop, you should be more deliberate. For example, you can simply move a nightstand far away from your desk and sit on a chair. Essentially creating an environment that you’re familiar with which reminds you of your workspace. This also creates an imaginary boundary with people in your household understanding that you’re at work.
Refresh your Brain
It is important to be productive at work. But since you are unable to commute like you used to and there are no physical boundaries in the way to start the day (eg. entering or leaving an office), people are having a hard time to unplug from work. This is common with the routine which people always associate during the start or end of a workday being abruptly removed from their working lives.
HR professionals suggest that “psychological segues” can help you build a more balanced work-life style. Drink a cup of coffee or tea to start the morning and do an indoor workout to call it a day.
You Are Not Alone
Online communication tools are designed to hopefully increase morale and productivity. Enforced working from home may lead us feeling isolated and not being able to bond with our industrial communities.
Currently virtual lunches or remote meetup events are getting popular which allows people to dial in and have a chat via these online communication platforms. It’s a good way to bond, and keep up with the latest news within the industries. It also adds a little bit of levity and lightness to the otherwise difficult situation.
Keep Spirits Up
Make no mistake, we are all facing an incredibly difficult time. Negative headlines, worrying about the sick and elderly, panic buying toilet papers and so forth. These can put responding to work emails and answering business calls to the back burner.
Prolonged isolation can potentially lead to depression and working alone remotely for a longer period of time can be demotivating. No matter the role you are in your company, it is crucial to keep up the morale of your team so that we can foster an empathetic and understanding team culture.