With all the news around COVID-19 many people are now finding themselves self-isolating, social distancing, and working from home.
In jobs where it's possible to work from home, many employers are instructing staff to stay home, and providing them with the tools and resources necessary to do so. The thing is, not everyone is used to working remotely. It can be a serious adjustment for teams so used to working in a traditional setting.
According to LinkedIn, "Since January 2020 “remote working” searches on LinkedIn Learning have tripled as both employees and managers increasingly look for advice on how to navigate the challenges of working remotely and managing a remote workforce."
Our team has been running remote for years. We've been through the growing pains and learned a lot about what works and what doesn't. Here are some of our favourite tips when it comes to working from home productively and without losing your sanity.
This sounds simple, but it's more powerful than you may think. It's a tempting notion to sit around in PJs all day while working from home. Believe us, we still have days where this is 100% what happens. Take it from Fast Company's recent article about working from home:
"It’s important to still do your morning routine as you usually would if you were commuting into the office, since it signals to your brain that it’s time to work—not to lounge. Of all of the lessons I’ve learned as a freelancer, this one is probably the most important and has made the biggest impact on my ability to work effectively."
So, as much as we hate to admit it, showering, getting dressed, and doing some semblance of a morning routine is a great way to get yourself into working mode, as opposed to lounge mode.
If possible, dedicate a workspace in your home. Try and avoid working in the same space you sleep or unwind as this will, again, help with the separation of work time and relaxation time.
If you can carve out a small area at your dining room table, or dig out an old table from storage this will give you a specific place for work tasks, calls, and allow you to keep your downtime areas separate.
So, kick off the duvet and read more on why you shouldn't work from bed here.
Burning the midnight oil working? Sleeping in too late? it can be easy to slip into weekend habits through the week when you're working from home.
Try and maintain regular working hours during the week when possible. This ties nicely into the morning routine point as well. Get up at your normal time, whatever that is, try and shower and be at your work area around the same time. This routine really will ground you and keep you focused.
Fast Company shares tips from leadership development expert Elizabeth Whittaker-Walker:
"When you’re away from the office, it’s more important than ever to set specific hours—and stick to them. One way to ensure you stay on track is to create time blocks. Whittaker-Walker says this could look something like this: checking email during the first and last blocks of the day, only holding calls between certain windows, and managing the hours when you feel the most alert."
Obviously, no one is perfect. Sticking to a strict schedule takes discipline and time to get used to. With health being the top priority during COVID-19, listen to your body. If you're feeling drained, take the time to rest so you don't burn out. Try not to needlessly overwork yourself just because your work computer is within arms reach.
Don't know how you're going to survive without your work spouse?! We GET it. Missing out on daily connections with work friends, colleagues, and managers can take its toll on your mood and your productivity.
Having a video call with a work pal can make all the difference when you're going stir crazy at home. Schedule calls with colleagues. This is a great way to discuss projects (of course) but also a way to maintain connections and keep morale high.
Need a video conferencing app and don't know where to begin? Here are some to start with.
The news lately is depressing and anxiety-inducing to say the least. While working from home, avoid obsessively checking social media or the news if you feel it's impacting your mental well being.
In addition, take time for yourself in the morning, at lunch, in the evenings, to practice self-care and unwind. Get away from your workspace, close your computer, and get a change of scenery.
Try taking a walk in nature, meditating, getting lost in a good book, or watching a documentary. Doing something to engage your creative side can be a great way to recenter before the start of another day.
Here are some other resources that may help!
We hope everyone stays healthy over the coming weeks.