Many of us have been working from home for the last 12 months. Some love it some hate it but for those of you who are dealing with a brand new world; there are ways to make it better, maintain sanity, reduce procrastination, and increase motivation. This is a new world that offers new opportunities. I offer some tried and true tips to ease your way through, to adapt and perhaps to enjoy the journey.
CREATE YOUR SPACE
Makeshift doesn’t work. You need a designated area. Staples has created work stations that are inexpensive so does IKEA. Find a spot, preferably not in your bedroom unless you have a separate sitting area. Some work areas are like Murphy beds and fold up and away
Your space should also be welcoming, by a window or in front of a nice picture.There also needs to be convenient storage for your printer, paper, files and whatever else you need. Ideally there is a nearby closet, if not there are great storage baskets.The key is to make it convenient and easy to work.
Not everyone has a home office. You need to create something that is just yours and not the kitchen table. This allows you to have your things in your space.In addition doing work in bed or sitting incorrectly causes pain and decreases performance As an aside you may want to provide a workspace for your kids. The portable desks are inexpensive and gives them a sense of ownership as well
If you live with other people especially children they need to know what can not be touched and when you can not be disturbed. Some people have used foldable screens or drapes to separate themselves physically.
Boundaries also cover when you will and won’t work. What hours are dedicated to work and what hours are for family or exercise or just R&R. This is where planning and schedules are crucial. Negotiate with family to identify when you are available and when not. Be flexible, but be firm. This goes for clients too. Give yourself permission to turn off the phone or not answer it.
Some people put up signs others wear headphones to say they can’t be disturbed. Empower children to be responsible and when you can help. It gives them a sense of pride as well and keeps you from being a helicopter parent. Set a schedule that is posted. Identify what can be changed and what can’t. Create task lists that can be checked off. Find helpful apps to keep you organized. Rememberthemilk.com
BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
This means work smarter not harder productivity does not equal hours worked. What time of day are you most energized? I am not a morning person so I do “busy” work then in preparation for more in depth later.Use the Eisenhower model. Delegate as much as you can. Set priorities of what you will do when and what you can delegate. Take breaks go for a walk or whatever clears your mind Ideally once every 60-90 minutes. Estimate how long tasks will take and group accordingly.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE TIRED?
Go back to the priority list and do short chunks; don’t eat the whole elephant. Contact your team or other reliable sources and get advice.
Boring tasks are hard to do and stay focused. Chunk them and give yourself a reward after each chunk (Try not to make it eating) Re frame… How will not doing the task make things worse?
Try the lock down workout https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/04/health/full-body-lockdown-workout-no-equipment-wellness/index.html
Get more sleep
Create weekly brainstorms with co-workers or colleagues Get an accountability partner
Missing office sounds? https://soundofcolleagues.com/# https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuwGT88P-RU
Talk to neighbors
Have a weekly lunch with colleagues using zoom but focus on the same conversation you would have face to face. It doesn’t have to be work related.
AVOID ZOOM BURNOUT
Reduce the number of video meetings. For quick questions use the phone or send a text.
Set an agenda and stick to it If need be continue a conversation off line by phone
Be prepared, whether you are leading or a member; know why you are there and what you contribute
If you are zoning out take notes or ask questions using active listening
As a leader end with a summary that includes proposed tasks and dates.
THE FUTURE IS CHANGING
Masks and distancing are here for the for the foreseeable future. Indoor dining and gyms are slowly coming back. Many large companies are not bringing back workers to offices or the offices are reconfigured. Many people prefer to work remotely. What changes are here and how do we adapt?
- Consumers are expecting higher levels of cleanliness which has led to new industries including customized masks and sanitizer.
- Virtual fitness and training as well as outdoor gyms
- Businesses can expand because people don’t have to drive
- Conferences bring in more speakers on line
- Retail is increasing on line
- Non-profit fundraising is using a wide range of resources beyond the typical events
How will you adapt and change?
Despite it all the last 12 months have opened doors to new ideas and ways to do business. Explore the possibilities. There is no going back to what was. Look to the future.