There’s no denying the fact that the last few weeks have been a difficult time for everyone. Navigating the impacts of COVID-19 has meant different things for different people. For many, it means practicing social distancing and self-isolation, which translates to an extended period of working from home.
For those that have the option to work remotely, it can seem like a treat to work in more comfortable clothes and save time on the commute. Yet, working from home several days in a row also feels tedious and frustrating, especially when you’re being bombarded by stressful news updates, distractions around the house, and a less stable routine. Keep your productivity in check with some of these helpful tips.
Create the Right Atmosphere
To start your days on the right foot, it’s important to create the right setting. Though tempting to simply grab your laptop and other necessary tools and set up shop on your couch or in bed, one PerkSpotter gave us a tip about how detrimental that can be to your workday. He noted that the brain is adept at making strong associations and will draw connections between your couch/bed and places of relaxation. This can make it more difficult to focus on and accomplish work, as your brain thinks you should be comfortable, relaxed, and less focused than normal. Instead, find a place that offers peace and relaxation. If you’re living with others, remind them that your work area needs to be just that – a place you go to get work done.
Dress the Part
Ready to roll out of bed and start your workday? Not so fast! Similar to the concept of needing the right place to work, changing out of your pajamas and into something a bit more put together can help drum up the productivity you’re looking for. Of course, we’re not suggesting that you throw on a blazer or heels. But waking up and getting dressed and ready helps signal to your brain that rest is over and it’s time to get to work. It’s okay to choose something a bit more comfortable than your regular work attire, but remember, it should still be something you’re okay with other coworkers seeing, in case your company holds regular video calls and meetings.
When you’re in your normal workplace, it’s easy to take breaks. You can jump into a quick conversation with coworkers, grab a snack, or take a walk outside, all of which can help get your mind off work for a moment, as is the purpose behind a fast break from work. When you work from home, that proves more difficult, especially considering the fact that we must go outside less and practice social distancing. However, a fellow PerkSpotter offered a great tip—he implements the Pomodoro technique into his workday, which instructs the participant to work on a cycle. You’ll work for 25 minutes on one specific task, and when your 25 minutes are up, you can take a quick break of about five minutes. After about two hours, he recommends taking a longer break of up to a half an hour, in which you can get up, stretch your legs, go for a long walk (if you’re in good health, and keeping at least six feet away from others), and unwind from the work you’ve just achieved!
Keep Up Communication
Everybody knows the importance of communication to ensure you complete your work on time and correctly. But when an entire workplace is working from home, that can be a bit more difficult. What you tell one person, you may forget to tell another. Things can much more easily be miscommunicated or changed, without informing important stakeholders. At PerkSpot, our work from home rule, especially as we deal with the coronavirus and its impacts, is to overcommunicate. Consistent meetings between leadership, managers and their direct reports, and entire teams helps ensure information is funneled properly to the right people. It’s also important to remember that we’re not just communicating strictly work-related information during work hours. It’s okay to send a funny Slack message, share a news update, or relay your concerns during work. These are stressful times and it helps to feel connected with those around us.
Enforce Regular Working Hours
For many companies, their culture is just as important as the actual work they do. Unfortunately, working from home can make it harder to boost the spirits of your employees, which is necessary now more than ever! At PerkSpot, we took a good look at some of the regular activities we participate in that are directly tied to our culture, and worked on re-shaping them so they would fit into a work from home situation. For example, every Friday at 4 o’clock, PerkSpotters gather together in the kitchen to raise a glass to the week and celebrate our wins. Of course, that can be a bit harder to do when everyone is in their own respective homes. Still, we felt it was important to create a sense of community among us. Therefore, we created a Zoom meeting that holds all of us PerkSpotters, encouraged everyone to grab a glass of whatever they were drinking, and we cheers’ed to one week of work from home down!
There is no doubt that staying productive right now is difficult, no matter what your situation. COVID-19 has proved to be a stressful and scary thing to handle, and we’re all trying to figure out the best way for us to do so. However, social distancing and self-isolation is the most important thing we can all practice right now—assuming that you are in a field of work that allows for working from home—which means that this could be our reality for a while longer. If you’re struggling to help your employees with their productivity, share these tips, and let us know what you’re doing as a company to stay positive and productive!