As I've stated before in previous posts, I currently work remotely full time, and have been for about 2 years now.
Given that we are all experiencing the coronavirus pandemic at a GLOBAL level, it has required companies to require employees to work from home so I figured I'd share some quick tips I do on a regular basis to keep myself sane!
I made a previous post around how I was able to be promoted in my role while working from home which also had some great considerations and tips, this post is more around quick tips for people who need to get through the next couple of weeks.
Morning Routines & Boundaries
This is extremely important to not only keep work and life separate, but to be as productive as possible! Personally, when I wake up I take my dog for a walk, I shower/get ready, eat breakfast and then I try to meditate, read, or journal before work. Every routine is personal to what works best for you, but I highly recommend having something in place. I find that if I don't I typically get easily distracted because I just jumped into my day without giving myself the mental space for myself. The way I think of it, is using the time you would commute, to do something else for yourself.
Setting boundaries is also important to ensure work doesn't continue for all day and night. I have a cut off time at night where I do not allow myself to check IMs, emails, or my work phone to ensure I keep my work and life separate. When I first started working from home, I would wake up and get right to work, and not stop until around 10pm all the while doing "life" things in between. I quickly realized that doing this was making me go insane, and I was less productive. Setting boundaries that work for you is so important!
When I am just about ready to start my day, the first thing I do is look through my calendar to remind myself what times I have meetings. This not only helps me be more prepared, but it helps me plan out my day more efficiently, and allows me to figure out when I can start a project or use the time to just answer emails etc.
This is something that I think is important at the office, as well as working away from the office. If you can't give your brain a few minutes to rest, you're going to be less productive. You can't be "on" at every second of the day. It's not sustainable, and you will burn out. My mental breaks consist of taking my dog outside for a quick walk, as well as some stretches so I'm not slumped staring at my computer all day.
Don't eat lunch at your desk
I feel like it's so easy to just eat lunch at your desk while you work, but I feel this is a perfect opportunity to not only ensure you actually eat, but use as a mental break. I found so many times that I would eat at my desk, and then I wouldn't actually eat everything because I would get distracted by an IM or an email, and get sucked back into doing something. Give yourself the space to actually eat your lunch. And don't feel bad about it.
Communication with your team
The three major things I keep in mind for this are project/task management tools, proper chat & email, and FaceTime.
1. Project/task management - this not only is important for yourself and keeping track of your tasks, but also with your team. It's a great way to assign tasks, and monitor progress. I personally use Asana with my team, but whichever tool you choose is dependent on what works best for your needs!
2. Proper chat & email - I am constantly giving updates and asking questions via chat, and also have group chats created for my teams to all communicate together. An important tip for this, is to ensure people follow up with anything important/may need documentation, with an actual email. There is nothing more annoying, than searching for something someone said, and then having to dig through your chats to look for it. I have people do this for any approvals, vacation requests, important updates, things to flag, etc. Just require an email follow up,I promise it'll make your life easier.
3. FaceTime - Connection is extremely important when needing to build a relationship or bond with your team and co-workers. It's so easy to get distracted when on a regular conference call, and you never fully know if the person is actually listening. By using FaceTime, you are able to pick up on emotional cues, allow for more fluid conversation, and be able to engage in a way that's almost as if the person is there with you making the experience more personal.
Some people like noise around them, others do not in order to be productive. I personally like having TV or music on when answering emails, organizing or being creative/brainstorming. If I am working on a project or a presentation, or need to be able really focus on what I'm doing, I need it to be very quiet or else I can't concentrate. Do whatever works best for you, but if you notice you're getting easily distracted because there is too much noise, make the effort to allow yourself to be productive.
Hope all of these tips help you! If you have any questions or suggestions that have worked for you! Feel free to add them to the comment section below!
Above all, I hope everyone stays safe and healthy through these difficult times. Wishing everyone the best.