Recently started working remotely? Are you looking for tips to stay productive and not drive yourself crazy? You’ve come to the right place, my friend.
2020 was a beyond crazy year. The worldwide pandemic caused companies everywhere to relocate their offices. Where you might ask? Online. This year, there has been more remote work than ever before.
Working from home can be difficult. There are loads of potential distractions- getting up and going to the fridge every 5 minutes, kids running around, your dog won’t shut up! Post-pandemic, with offices returning back to their normal addresses, some of you might want to take the extra precautions and stay home for a while. Hopefully, these next few tips will help you stay sane and stay in check while working from home.
Tips & Tricks
1. Morning “Commute”
Create a morning routine for yourself that will set you up for a productive day. Set an alarm in the morning, every morning. Take a shower and get dressed out of your pajamas. This will make it easier for your mind to distinguish between work time and personal downtime. Get your pot of coffee going and drink it at your desk.
2. Set Up An “Office”
Designate a separate space for work hours. Ultimately this would consist of a clean worktop or desk, and a comfy chair. Having a consistent workspace can help you be more productive and efficient throughout the day. It can be your dining room table, your kitchen island, any nook available in your home to check-in, get things done, and check out once you’re done for the day.
3. Make Your Health A Priority
It can be easy to lose track of time and forget to eat lunch or even get up to use the bathroom when you’re busy working. Give yourself a set amount of time to disconnect for a few minutes and make yourself a healthy, nutritional lunch. Stretch, look out the window, take a few deep breaths and drink lots of water!
4. Break It Up
Working at an office often means having spontaneous breaks or convos throughout the day. Those kinds of breaks don’t happen when working from home but they’re key for productivity. If you start to feel a little loopy or need to get up and stretch your legs for a bit, give yourself the time & space to do so! Jump, hop, skip, wiggle if you need to. Reenergize and come back stronger.
5. Schedule EVERYTHING
Your calendar is your best friend. I like to say, if it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done. Having a list to check things off will make it feel like you’re being productive and getting things done. Schedule your work hours to keep you focused & determined to finish on time. Schedule in your breaks to have something to look forward to. Seems silly now, but trust us, it works.
6. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries
It’s easy to fall into the trap of “let me send this really quick email” at 11pm since you’re next to your computer & it’ll make you look good, but the reality of it all is you’re probably interrupting dinner with your loved ones. It can quickly become a habit. Certain “emergencies” are often not real emergencies. Flexible hours don’t mean you have to be on call 24/7. It’s crucial for any remote worker to know when to draw the line between work time & down time.
It’s human nature to crave human connection. That could be with your family, friends, your pet, a coworker. Working remotely limits the amount of time you talk to someone “face to face”. No one in the cubby next to yours to talk about your weekend, not bumping into anyone in the bathroom, no company events. Make the effort to talk to someone and see them. FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or even just a phone call to hear their voice.
How Managers Can Support Their Remote Employees
Leaders, you play a big role in this self-care guide.
It’s super important for managers to acknowledge stress, listen to their employees’ concerns, issues, anxieties, and connect with them to alleviate the problem. Recognize when your employees are struggling and attend to support them.
A happy team means more productivity, efficiency, and agility.
1. Wellness Check-Ins
Want to know how your team is doing? Ask them! Daily, weekly check-ins are a great opportunity to catch up and see how everyone is doing. If you notice someone’s having a hard time, going through something, reach out and tell them to take some time to recenter. Delegate tasks and projects to ease any tensions.
2. Build Rapport
When managing remote teams, it’s easy to talk about what needs to get done and hand out tasks. However, rapport is what ensures trust in your relationship with your team. It’ll make it easier for your employees to come to you with something that’s important. Overall it’s just nice to build connections with people on your team, makes work more fun!
3. Encourage & Appreciate!
Expressing gratitude towards all the hard work your team does on a daily basis is one of the best ways to boost employee morale. It shows them you care about the work they’re doing and the way they’re doing it. Either a quick email or mentioning it on a catch up call, it’s a win-win!
4. Emphasize Communication
Clear and honest communication is so important- in any relationship! Remote employees don’t have the luxury to swing by your desk and ask any given question. Scheduling calls, video or phone calls, is a more open and natural way of communication, rather than emails. If you are emailing or WhatsApp-ing, don’t underestimate the power of emoticons or gifs- it’ll add personality and emotion to your response.
5. Don’t Make Assumptions
One of the biggest mistakes managers can make is assuming that their team is on track if they are silent on a subject. Nothing could be further from the truth. Encourage open & candid conversations at every meeting, make sure everyone is on the same page. A team that thrives together, must trust in each other.
Self-Care + Technology = Happiness
It’s 2020. Technology has been thriving more than ever. If you want an app to establish a self-care routine or daily ritual, the app store will definitely have one for you.
1. Calm It’s the #1 app for sleep and meditation. Have a better night’s sleep, lower your stress levels, and experience less anxiety.
2. Stretch Timer This app is an easy way to keep track of your repetitions and plays soft, soothing music in the background. Setting aside a certain amount of time to stretch can alleviate so much built-up tension.
3. Offtime Craving a digital detox? This app filters communication and keeps you from breaking your no-screen time goals. Yes, even your phone can help you get off your phone.
Now, we’ve made it to the end of the ultimate self-care guide. Just a couple of reminders. Remember you’re the one in control. Be mindful of how you spend your time and energy. Hopefully, by following these mood-boosting and stress-relieving tips, you can finally find your remote work-life balance.
Remember to take care of yourself. Will you?
The ATHENAWORKS Crew