COVID-19 is sending the traditional in-office workforce home. Maybe you are like me and have never worked from home before. It is exciting, but it can also be a little overwhelming. I have been working remotely for almost two weeks, and I learned from trial and error to see what helps with productivity in the work-from-home-place. Here are five tips based on what I found:
1. Get active or exercise
Find time during the workday to fit in some exercise. For example, my colleague says she gets up every 30 minutes to either do a few squats or go up and down her stairs. During my lunch break, I play Ring Fit on the Nintendo Switch to get my body moving. Even adding a little bit of movement to your day can make a big difference in your physical and mental state of being.
2. Socialize with Colleagues
Part of what I love so much about working at Optus are my coworkers. Being cooped up at the house with the occasional call and the much more frequent emails can leave you feeling disconnected and lonely--which won’t lead to productivity. Keep up the morale and send a funny picture or set aside a few minutes each day to have a quick check-in with your work buddies.
3. Use video conferencing!
I can’t swear by this enough. A large part of communication is non-verbal. You miss out on a lot when you don’t have the visual element. If all we needed were verbal or written communication, then almost everyone would already be working remotely. Teams can be much more productive when they can pick up on these non-verbal conversations. The best productivity features that you can get with video conferencing are screen sharing and collaboration tools. Instead of talking about a document, email, or schedule, you can look at it, mark it up, and collaborate like you would in the office. Check out platforms like RingCentral that have free online video conferencing and collaboration tools.
4. Have a dedicated workstation
It takes time to get used to a new environment. You are accustomed to a particular set up while you do your job. If you make sure you have a dedicated, consistent workspace, it won’t take as long to get back on track to normal productivity levels. Find a neutral area to set up shop. I recommend keeping your workspace separate from distractors as well as from your places of relaxation. You don’t want to go to sleep in the same area you had a stressful conference call at-trust me. I find that keeping those areas “sacred” increases my morale and lets me relax once work time is complete.
5. It’s all about attitude
Your mindset is a large part of what makes you productive. If you don’t think you can do something, you probably won’t succeed. Going into an emergency work from home situation is a bit overwhelming- I know. Having a positive attitude and not letting inevitable hurdles hold you back will be a significant indicator of success. Try using positive reinforcement as you go into each task. Recognize there will be difficulties and own them. Don’t let them defeat you. When I feel discouraged, I pick up my dog, Chappie, for a little bit or take him outside for a quick run around the yard.