Companies around the globe have rolled out mandatory remote work. Whether you’re a newbie or WFH veteran, Alison Blackler, Mind Coach from Wirral's 2minds shares some ideas that you need to do to stay productive.
It’s realistic to assume that shifting to the ‘home office’ will become the new normal for many of us for a while, given the recent announcement by the World Health Organisation that the coronavirus has officially reached ‘pandemic’ status.
Everyone who works remotely must figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create boundaries between work life and personal life. What about office equipment, career development and training opportunities, and building relationships with colleagues? Working remotely, especially when working from home most of the time, means grappling with these issues and others.
Here are some of Alison’s tips based on her experience of self-employment. It takes some dedication and discipline and these simple strategies can make all the difference.
Start and end your day with a routine
Create a routine to start and end your day. Create a habit that signals the start and close of the workday. An example is get dressed, make a coffee before you sit down or close your computer and listen to your favourite podcast at the end of the day. It needs to be like arriving and leaving your place of work, otherwise it will all blur too much.
Maintain Regular Hours
Set a schedule and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance. Deciding you'll sit down at your desk and start work at a certain time is also important.
Set Ground Rules with the people in your space
Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. If you have children home, they need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time.
Know your company's policy on break times and take them. If you're self-employed, give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone.
Create a dedicated working space
It is important to create a dedicated workspace someone where in your home. Ideally a place that you can shut the door at the end of the day, or clear away your work equipment is the space needs to be within the living part of your home.
Socialise with Colleagues
Loneliness, disconnect and isolation are common problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. Companies with a remote work culture usually offer ways to socialize. For example, they might have chat channels where remote employees can talk about common interests, meetups for people in the same region, and in-person retreats. It's important to figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included.
Working remotely requires you to overcommunicate. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often. When you finish a project or important task, say so. Overcommunicating doesn't necessarily mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to explain your every move, but it does mean repeating yourself.
‘Keep spirits up’
Make no mistake, these are stressful times. Negative headlines, worrying about sick or elderly loved ones and fighting the urge to panic buy can put answering work emails on the back burner. But the more effort you put into communicating with colleagues, the better chance you have of avoiding feelings of isolation, which can lead to depression.
What you can do to settle your mind
Our human instinct is to go into panic when its survival is being challenged and there are so many ways that this is happening in this current climate. There are many different ways that we can all help ourselves feel calmer, safer and happier at this time.
Alison shares a very simple and yet powerful technique to help settle the mind before you start your working day.
The aim is be ‘in the moment’ as much as possible. That doesn’t mean focusing on what is going on around you but to bring your attention into the exact moment.
This is noticing the sights and sounds out of a window or in the garden. It could be noticing how your body feels in the chair you are sitting in or even taking real care to notice what is feels like to hold and drink your hot coffee in your hand.
These simple techniques will give the mind a ‘job to do’ which then settles the emotional part of the mind. In that moment, the feelings of anxiety, fear or sadness lessen.
Once these are settled, we are then more likely able to make a decision of what to do next. We are more able to think of innovative, creative ways to manage the bigger picture and this approach will get you a different result.