The Dragonflies have always had a flexible work arrangement working from home or the office as schedules allow. But now we are working remotely. The recent outbreak of Covid-19 has a vast majority of people working from home; employees have been encouraged and or mandated to stay home for an undetermined amount of time to help minimize the spread of this virus. For some, working from home is their normal practice, but for others it can be extremely challenging, especially when other members of your family are also home. It’s no secret that you’ll need to shake up your routine a bit in order to make this a productive environment. For those who commute and go to an office every day, this as an opportunity to gain back some time in your day and moreover, a chance to develop new, healthier habits and routines.
We all face different challenges due to lifestyles, personalities and type of work, but the core issues we face as remote workers are often the same. Anyone who works from home has to figure out when, where and how to work, all while creating those boundaries between work and personal life. If this is a new world for you, these tips can help you stay productive and maintain balance as you navigate through this new place of work while also keeping positive with the worldly news.
1. Maintain regular work hours
Set a schedule, and stick to it, within reason of course. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to shut down is so important, and vital to your working from home success. However, one of the obvious benefits to working from home is the flexibility that comes along with it; sometimes you may need to extend your day to start early and work late, and that’s okay. Dedicate a focused two hours in the morning or create a schedule with your partner of individual work time, while the other is with the kids or managing the home front. Just don’t forget the importance of maintaining work-life balance.
2. Create a morning routine
Deciding what time you’re going to start each day is one thing, but developing a routine that guides you into your work chair is another. It might be returning from a morning workout or finishing breakfast and settling in with a fresh cup of coffee – or even just getting out of your PJs these days!! A routine can be powerful and extremely helpful at getting your work day started.
3. Create a separate workspace and establish boundaries
In a perfect world, remote employees have a dedicated office in their home. If this isn’t the case, find a space in your home that is away from any distractions, quiet and comfortable. Ensure you have reliable WiFi, as well as any other tools available to you in your new space (i.e. computer, headphones, keyboard, monitor, printer, etc.) The literal and physical division of work and home is not only essential for your mental health, but also to ensure you remain professional and your dirty dishes aren’t visible on video conferences!
4. Set rules with the other people in your space
Establishing rules with the other people in your home, especially during this turbulent time when it’s quite possible that both your spouse and kids are at home, is important not only for the success of your productivity, but also for your sanity! Ensure rules are clear about what they can and cannot do with you during your “work time”. Don’t forget, this is new for them too, so it’ll be a bit of a learning curve for everyone over the next little while.
Working from home requires you to overcommunicate. Be sure to not only tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule availability, but tell them often. Let your team know when you’ve finished a project, keep them up to date on what you’re working on next. This doesn’t mean giving full reports every time you complete a task, it just means you may have to repeat yourself on progress and be extra clear.
6. Be positive
Remember that communication is made up of three parts – words, tone and body language. When you work remotely, two thirds of that equation are gone so the only piece left are the words you are using. You may not even realize that your words may be coming off a little cold or harsh. Embrace the exclamation point, and find your favourite emoji! Also – don’t forget to pick up the phone or video call – live conversations can be more efficient and put humanity back into the communication.
7. Take a break!
Don’t forget to take breaks when needed. Get up from your desk, and walk away from your computer screen. It’s okay to still take that lunch break the same way you would at the office. Just make sure your breaks are within reason and follow your company’s policy. Simply put an “away from desk” notification on your email response, so colleagues and clients know an immediate answer is not likely.
8. Get outside if you can
This tip is a little touch and go in our current situation, but as a general rule of thumb, try to get fresh air regularly. Really, the same advice applies to a traditional office setting too. If you are in a house, do some laps of your backyard. If you are in an apartment or condo – open your windows or patio doors, breath in the outside air and do some body stretches. Do this at least twice a day. The fresh air, natural light and movement will do you, your body and your mind a world of good!
9. End your workday with a routine
Just as you start your day with a routine, it’s important to close off the workday with one too. It might be signing off on your company’s messaging app, an evening fitness class, or starting the dinner prep. Whatever you choose, do it at a predetermined time to mark the end o your working day. Put the laptop away, and enjoy your evening with personal pursuits.
10. Make your workspace personal
It’s important to find what works best for you, your personality and your family. Talk to friends and family who are in the same situation (which is most of us right now). Customize your space to make it work for you. Our Dragonfly team has moved to a remote work setting at the moment, but we are still operational and here for any of your fall 2020 and all of 2021 conference and event planning needs!