As we head into our fourth week of Shelter in Place, I am learning a few things that many companies who have operated 100% remote have known for years, working from home brings new realities for many.
Although there has been a massive push in the last few years for more organizations to offer remote work and a buzz about how much happier employees are when being able to work remotely, let’s be honest, not everyone is cut out to naturally work from home full time.
If you are interested in maximizing this opportunity and truly want to thrive, we have compiled a few of our favorite habits.
Establish a daily schedule
This is hands down, one of the easiest and most important remote working habit. Waking up and opening your laptop in your jammies seems like a natural course of action. Nobody is watching you, so why go through the motion of getting ready? Well, it turns out, you are more productive and optimistic when you follow a specific routine.
Although you work from home, you should still wake up at a specific time daily. Hopefully, you set aside some time for meditation. Take a shower, eat breakfast (or make a shake) and get ready for the day.
On top of feeling sharp and being both physically and mentally prepared, you never know when someone from your office might summon you for that impromptu video call.
Find an area free of distraction or interruptions
This is particularly challenging when you have children. It’s a double whammy when you are thrust into working from home and your children are home-schooled. You must have an honest conversation with your family and establish ground rules and a schedule everyone can respect and adhere to. Expecting things to just work-out without a game plan is stressful and unrealistic.
If you are not able to close the door to a private office, establish some sort of “I am working” signal. This lets your family know that you are in focus mode.
Prioritize your work
Managing your work can be a challenge at any time, especially true when you want to catch up on dishes, walk your dog or watch your favorite show you have been missing on Netflix. I know, when you read this your first reaction might be, not me! In all seriousness though, you should have a game plan of what specifically needs to be accomplished for the morning and afternoon. Tangible action items that tell you, you are on track.
Tackle the most difficult task first while you are sharp and have the most energy. Not only will you feel great, you will feel the confidence of tackling your largest task straight away.
Work is infinite. There is always something else in the queue, begging for your attention. When you have an office routine, it’s easier to leave what you do at the workplace. When you work from home, it’s much like having your smartphone on vacation, work is always just one click away.
Set reminders to take breaks. If you are like me, it’s easy to burn 3-4 hours with your head buried in your to do list. Set a timer perhaps to get up and grab a glass of water each hour or take a 5-minute walk. Be sure to clear your head, without office mates to distract you, it is highly probable you will work into the void.
With digital connections and chat always on, be sure to let your team know that you are stepping away. This is especially helpful for general peace of mind.
Be mindful when you begin to feel isolated or disconnected
Now more than ever with Shelter in Place orders, feeling disconnected is a very real possibility. For me personally, I have two young children and a very engaged wife, so I actually welcome a bit of the quiet time but if you are alone, be mindful here.
Call a family member and connect or better yet, if you want a valid reason to get out of the house, volunteer at your local food bank. Currently, with the lockdown, volunteers are needed and if you are not in a high-risk category, helping others is a great way to get out of your house, connect with others and do some good within your community.
All in all, it pays to have a plan and disrupt your pattern. Evaluate and tune into your day and your feelings. Be sure you establish a game plan and whether or not you continue to work from home in the future, make the most of this remote work opportunity.
About the Author
Shaun Enders is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Transition Staffing Group located in San Diego. Shaun is extremely passionate about recruiting and developing others to bring out the best version of themselves.