10 Tips for Remote Workers to Keep their Sanity
By Sally Hurley, CEO, VIPdesk
Helping Remote Team Members Be Productive
Blog #3 in our series about remote work and how to best support your remote workforce during these Coronavirus times. Many companies have implemented work from home policies for team members that ordinarily work in an office. While working in an office provides structure between the physical office space, areas for eating, and meetings, working remotely from your home is a different experience. Most of all, you are now living and working from the same space every day…EVERY day. Compound that with the fact that many of us have young children at home and it’s a recipe for chaos.
Since we’ve had team members working from home for years, we’ve found it’s helpful to provide some new team members with recommendations to be successful when working from home.
We already covered setting up the home-office in our first blog of this series which you can read here. And if you’re looking for effective ways to communicate, you’ll find our second blog about 5 Best Communication Practices for a Remote Workforce here.
Now this Blog is all about structuring the remote team member’s day to be more productive. Here are our 10 tips to help you keep your sanity:
- Take a Shower and Get Dressed. It’s important to have a distinction between pajamas and workday attire. No, you don’t need to wear a suit to work out of the spare bedroom. However, it will make you feel better if you are refreshed and ready for your day. Oh, and if you are on-camera , your co-workers will see and recognize the you they are used to seeing..
- Establish a Routine. Get up at the same time, start your workday at the same time, take a break for lunch and end your workday around the same time. This simple framework will ensure you don’t spill over into family time. It will also ensure you can focus on work and then when you are done, turn your attention to your family.
- Decorate your Office. Like your office workspace, we recommend making your home office space aesthetically pleasing to you. Even with family right around the corner (literally), we still like having family photos, plants, and other things that make us happy.
- Computer Only in the Office. –Even if you’re a manager or an executive, leave your computer in your office. You don’t want to suddenly spend 10 hours a day working from your couch. You will be far more focused if you establish the space to work from and keep the computer there even if it is portable.
- STOP the Kids. Make a STOP sign if you have young kids. I’m talking about a giant red sign that you can hang on your door. This way, they will know when you are on a call or cannot be disturbed. Now what if you have young kids with no extra coverage or support? First of all, I feel for you. Secondly, perhaps see if you can shift your working hours so that you are not juggling your work and children at the same time.
- Don’t Do Household Chores. Don’t do household tasks during the working hours. It’s quite possible that you may end up going down a rabbit hole by starting a project, such as cleaning out the refrigerator. The next thing you know that project you were working on is now behind your deliverable time. Plus, you really want to create separation between home and work.
- Put a Note by the Doorbell. If you work from home and don’t want to be distracted by the doorbell, you can simply leave a note for the delivery team to call or text you or leave a package by the door.
- Hide your PHONE– Hide your phone. I saw Amy Blankson at a Workhuman conference, and I believe she said that by even seeing our phones, we are 30% less engaged. I remember her saying the average person wastes 2.5 hours a day just checking their phones. She recommended putting the phone out of your line of sight. I hide mine behind my computer screen so that my brain can’t see it.
- Get Outside. Even during these difficult days of social distancing, you can likely find a space to step outside for a moment in the middle of your workday. Maybe a park or a greenspace is nearby. My good friend Maggie (she also happens to be our VP of Recruiting) suggests going outside and standing barefoot in the grass. Look up at the sky and take 5 deep breaths.
- Keep a Family Schedule: Right now, with so many households filled with parents, kids, and grandparents, we recommend posting your schedule somewhere where everyone can see it. Your workday may end at 6pm, but your spouse’s may end at 5pm. You may have time for a break for lunch at noon ,noon, during which time you can eat with your kids. It’s going to be a whole new normal for the household. Communication is key. You don’t have a fancy tool for this? Simply write it on a piece of paper and stick it on the outside of your door.
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