In response to COVID-19, millions of companies are opting, or being forced, to work from home. Few were prepared for the scale of this crisis and many workers are struggling to adapt quickly and maintain productivity in this new environment.
Even before a global pandemic, remote work environments were becoming more common, and a greater number of companies have been prioritizing location flexibility for their employees. With the many work-from-home perks also comes a potentially greater need to create balance and intentional productivity strategies.
Here are a few tips to help when faced with this transition:
Practice good cybersecurity habits (and encourage teammates to do the same).
Ensure your laptop or desktop computer at home is equipped with proper, up-to-date security features and software. Stay vigilant against phishing scams and ransomware by familiarizing yourself with your company’s network policies (including how to reach IT support virtually), and utilize encrypted Virtual Private Network (VPN) where possible. Without an in office-ensured security setup, it will be prudent to become mindful of measures to create a safe space remotely.
Create a workspace and routine that facilitates productivity while working from home.
This one may seem obvious but being intentional about where you choose to setup your work environment is crucial. Opt for a room with minimal noise and distractions and plenty of natural light. Your bedroom might be comfiest, but it probably won’t provide the greatest amount of motivation. Similarly, structuring your day around a ‘schedule’ will keep you accountable and ensure that you’re not wasting or stacking time. Since you no longer have a morning commute, utilize that time to form a routine that will help set the tone for your day (i.e. morning coffee, healthy breakfast, stretching, etc.)
Review the softer side of your business continuity plan.
Align with your team on consistent messaging and spend time assuring clients that it will be ‘business as usual,’ as service disruption will be mitigated as much as possible. Providing continual communication will be key to maintaining customer confidence.
Taking breaks can help productivity.
Since you’re not in a traditional office setting where breaks tend to happen more organically (i.e. grabbing coffee with a co-worker, stopping by a desk for a quick chat, taking a stroll around the building), you will need to build those into your day-to-day. Create blocks in your calendar for lunch, fresh air, and social interaction. This way you’ll ensure not getting locked into a meeting or call, subsequently not feeling burned out at the end of each day. Staying refreshed will help you be more productive while working from home.
Give face time as much as possible.
It’s inevitable that you’re going to feel a sense of isolation at home that you wouldn’t feel in an office. One way to curb that feeling is by using video chat capabilities to for team meetings, sales calls, and other communications as much as possible. This will keep communication fluid, allow you to read the room better than a traditional phone call or email, and minimize misinterpretations that occurs with less personal forms of communication.