Updated: Nov 3, 2021
What is your daily routine during the pandemic? You probably wake up a bit later than you usually did a few months ago and stumble into the kitchen to throw together whatever you are feeling for breakfast. After that, you walk back to your room and 'get ready' for the day, and then you take your brief 10-second commute to the desk in your home. From there on out, you barely leave the 'office' except for occasional bathroom and snack breaks. Once your virtual meetings are out of the way, you probably take that same 10-second commute back to your room before finishing up the workday. Maybe you will have the time and motivation for a workout, perhaps the desire to whip up a delicious homemade meal. But before you know it, it is time for bed and you to do it all over again. With weeks of this exact routine already in the books, we must question how much longer we have left.
As I'm sure all of us have shared some similar experiences with these working at home orders from our companies, I wanted to lay out some common frustrations and how to solve them. One of the biggest complaints I have heard about and also experienced myself is trying to unplug after work. We work 7-9 hour days in the isolation of our home with rarely ever leaving, and once the day comes to an end, it is quite challenging to let your mind go the office space.
Keeping a clean and tidy workspace will be essential to keep your productivity up while working remotely. Whether that means moving your desk or a table into the guest room or even just working from the same place at the kitchen table every day, your body needs to associate it with the office mindset and everywhere else in the house detached from it. In my experience, this has been the best way for me to be more productive and to disconnect after the workday.
One of the next issues I have heard much fuss over was lack of motivation. While I think we are all susceptible to falling into the same cycles of being unmotivated or feeling 'out of it,' there are some very effective ways to break this cycle. The first is to set achievable goals. I always set smaller goals for myself throughout the workday that take about an hour or so to achieve. Setting goals gives us a sense of motivation and accomplishment once we complete a task. Once I accomplish these goals, I allow myself 5-10 minutes to either get a snack or refill my water bottle or even go for a quick walk around the house. For me, getting up after increments of working allows my brain to stay fresh. Another way to keep motivated is quite simple. Get dressed! It takes absolutely no time or effort to get dressed as if you were going to work, and research has shown time and time again that dressing the part helps your productivity in a workplace environment. So say goodbye to wearing your PJs to the virtual meetings, and say hello to your new, motivated working self.
To make sure you can work from home to the best of your ability, you will need to have a computer and a good internet connection. Be sure to take home everything from the office that will contribute to your wellbeing. Don't forget the necessary items like your charger, mouse, keyboard, extra monitor, and inspirational pictures from your desk!
If your team does not already have a collaborative platform that you communicate through, you're going to need one! Some of the best software for remote team communication is Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, and GoToMeeting. You might want to look into VoIP for your connections if you're concerned about security. Your IT department or CTO should be able to keep you safe.
The way your team functions is poised to change drastically as a result of working remotely. Leaders will now have to turn meetings into emails and reach out via collaboration platforms instead of walking to your desk. Communication tools like Slack are crucial to ensure a smooth transition into a remote work environment. Collaboration tools are proven to flatten your organization's hierarchy, increase productivity, and empower employees to work openly.
The starting ground of all communication in a remote setting is a collaborative platform. Collaborative platforms will outperform emails and SMS because of the ability to create workspaces, channels, threads, and groups. These sophisticated communication tools are considerably the successor to email, empowering groups of employees to communicate and work together in real-time.
When co-workers need to call each other for a more in-depth conversation, video chat is best. Video chat enables you to see each other's emotions more clearly, which allows for better communication. Video chat is the most personal interaction you can have when working from home, which maintains or creates the co-worker connection needed for company culture.
Remind yourself that discipline is freedom. As amazing as working in your pajamas or underwear sounds, it will make you less productive. The mindsets of relaxation and laziness come from wearing clothes that you wear when it's time to do that.
What you need to do is to get dressed in you're standard work attire as if you're headed to the office. Whatever else you usually do before you leave the house and head into the office, you should do. So go ahead and do your hair, put your deodorant on and pick that watch or necklace that suits for today.
Getting your mindset in the working mode through your typical routine will get your mind ready for work. If you are wearing your work clothes, when you feel like opening up Reddit or stopping to watch Netflix, you will feel guilty because you know you should be working.
If you are working from home, your kids likely received the same instruction from school. Meaning that while you are trying to work in your house, your kids are building forts, chasing each other, making sound effects for everything they are doing, and begging for your attention.
While it is impossible to know when we will all be back in the office, the office we never thought we would miss, we must embrace the days we work from home and make the most of them! I hope my advice on how to feel 'unplugged' at the end of the day and stay motivated throughout the day will help you over these next few weeks or months. If you think your business may experience hardships during these times, the stimulus package may be able to help! We want to do our part by offering a free consultancy session, book a call to chat with us about your business! Please stay safe and as always wings up my fellow birdies!