Are you working from home now? Because of the Coronavirus and new social distancing guidance, many people have been directed whether voluntarily or involuntarily to work remotely until the pandemic subsides.
If you or your team have never worked this way it can certainly be a challenge for anyone, whether you are an employee or a leader this can be a frustrating change. Fortunately, most of our team at N2Growth has been working remotely for years. We have consultants and partners strategically located across the globe, using the internet and getting proficient using remote work tools has enabled us to virtually collaborate together and with clients by phone or video at a moment’s notice.
For those new to remote working, we wanted to share some advice on how we’ve made it work in our business. We asked some of our colleagues for their best work from home tips and shared them with you below:
- Shaina Thompson – “Stick with your morning routine (same wake-up time, breakfast, hygiene, etc.) as if you are going into the office, to jumpstart your day. It’s easy to sleep in or delay these things when switching to a work-from-home situation, but I found I am most calm and productive when I keep to a routine.”
- Dan Bentle – “Don’t hesitate to interact with your remote colleagues in much the same way that you would in your traditional office environment. This may seem somewhat awkward, especially when we’re so accustomed to text and traditional voice-only calls, but ‘drop into their office’ with a video call to simply say hello/good morning, check-in on how the weekend went, how the upcoming vacation plans are coming along, or other small talk. You’ll likely find that your colleagues could use the mental break from the monotony of the desk and will welcome the company – and you’ll likely come away feeling a bit refreshed! Similarly, plan (or have an impromptu) ‘huddle’ each week – or even every other day) – that is not work-related. On Friday’s this may even include a virtual happy hour. Keep it light and (mostly) agenda-free and use this time to simply connect, check-in and maintain bonds. You may even develop a list of ice-breaker questions to really help to get to know one another at a deeper level – or at least gather some fun facts about your colleagues that you might not even learn during a night out on the town together. There’s no substitute for live face-to-face interaction, but building a strong team dynamic and culture does not have to be limited to physical proximity (but is rather reinforced by it).”
- Dan Evans – “I like to get dressed every morning just like I would for a traditional office role: this helps mentally prepare for work and primes my mindset for productivity. I’ve also integrated my work calendar with my Google home. Having the ability to shout and say “Hey Google, when is my next meeting?”. This is convenient and really helps me stay on-schedule during my workday.”
- Peter Rottenbucher – “Hold yourself to a higher level of self-discipline. In a remote environment, you’ll find newfound freedoms: no longer do you have to listen to Karen’s stories about her daughter’s ballet recital at the watercooler, and Bob – the boss nobody likes – isn’t there to micromanage you. You’ll save time on your commute and can eat whatever you want, whenever you want…in your PJs. These newfound freedoms, however, come with a twist: it all rests on you. Without proper self-discipline, you’ll find yourself starting later, finishing earlier, and perpetually up against that feeling like your final paper is due at 5 pm. Set strict start and stop times, focus on your deliverables, and reach out to Karen…she’s dying to tell that story.”
- Leslie Goldhill – “In addition to getting dressed every day as if going to a traditional office, I’ve noticed putting shoes on helps me pivot my mindset. I typically don’t wear shoes in my house so to me this is a mental trigger that I’m in “work mode”. I take scheduled breaks that involve household tasks/chores and some form of movement. I never sit idle because before I know it 3 hours have passed.”
- PJ Canterbury – “Creating a work environment that is free from distractions is critical. Many times, when you first think of working from home, your mind may take you to an image of sitting on the couch with comfortable clothes and the TV on in the background. DO NOT DO THIS. Even if it is just a corner of your living room, you need to set up a workspace that is solely for work. I recommend having this set up so that others in your house will not interrupt, and any of the household chores you’ve been meaning to get to are not in view. If you are with an organization that has been on the fence about allowing employees to work from home, this is your time to show them that it works! Make the most of the opportunity and stay safe!”
- Laura Musgrave – “Set a schedule for movement and other aspects of self-care and routine just like you would in an office environment. Start your day with a sunrise workout, carve out some time during your lunch break for a walk, run, workout class or other forms of physical activity, or commit to a post-work workout, just like you would when working in a physical location and you have to schedule in fitness and time for yourself. This will not only help with time management, but it will also help with productivity and overall sense of well-being. When working remotely, it can be so easy to sit at a computer for 10, 12, 14 or more hours a day. In an office setting, there are more distractions and reasons to get up and move – whether to walk to lunch, get up for water, or walk to get to a meeting. Make sure you’re building in those same breaks for yourself in a remote environment so you can remain focused and productive when you are at your desk.”
These are just some of the ways that we’ve found that can help boost your productivity and motivation while working from home. Rest assured these are all tried and tested tips from our team of executive search and leadership professionals. We hope in some small way this helps, and all of us at N2Growth sincerely hope that your physical and mental transition to a remote work environment is smooth.
If you need any assistance transitioning your team to a remote workforce, we are here to help as a professional courtesy, and without cost or obligation- just a helping hand. We wish you health and happiness in the coming months as you make this pivot and adapt to a new business environment of living and working in the same space.