In my last blog, I talked about 5 Work From Home Tips for Team Leaders. Today I want to give you more than just my perspective on working from home.
Here’s what our team wanted to share about staying productive while working remotely. They even wanted to include their home setups. Let’s dive in.
Working through your day
1. Stick to your normal schedule
We had routines before having to WFH (work from home). Continue to start working at a set time, take a lunch break like normal, and wrap up your day just like you were in an office. It’s not an anything-goes; it’s just a location change.
2. Establish rituals
When WFH it is very easy to blur the lines, so you need something that marks the start of work, like getting dressed or making a coffee.
Even more important is having an end-of-work ritual so you can switch off thinking about work and start regenerating. This used to be your commute home.
3. Add 10 minute breaks
Continuing with our routines theme, include one or two 10 minute breaks throughout the day. We use to accomplish this by walking around the office and talking to people.
4. Eat meals away from your desk
DO NOT work through your meals. Stand up, walk away from your desk and eat somewhere else in your place. You’ll feel more refreshed when you return.
5. Change clothes
Get dressed for work, but when work is done, change your clothes. Your commute may only be a couple of seconds now, this simple action will help maintain a work-life balance. This can be your end-of-work ritual.
6. Important: Reach out if you’re feeling isolated
Take advantage of your company’s tools to organize and communicate your work more efficiently (Google Drive, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Trello, Google Meet, etc.). Most importantly – if you’re feeling alone or isolated, let someone know!
Your work friends are just one message away and our mental health is important!
1. Don’t expect immediate answers
When in an office environment, it’s easy to walk over and talk to someone for an answer. You don’t have that luxury in a remote environment.
You have no clue what your teammates are up to even if they’re actively working at any given time. Don’t expect answers immediately if you send someone a message. Even if it looks like they’re active on Slack, they might just be busy with other things at the moment.
They’ll get back to you.
2. Be aware of your team’s schedule
When working with teams and clients across multiple time zones, keep tabs on when people’s days start and end. This way you can contact them for things during times that are convenient for them, not just you.
3. Use status updates in Slack
Status updates are a quick way for teammates to know what you’re up to. Are you on a call, in a meeting, taking lunch. They’re a win-win for everyone.
Don’t forget that you can convey emotion using emojis… Take advantage of them in your messages. Seriously, it will brighten teammates’ days.
4. Find your most productive hours
Work in your most productive hours. There are a lot of distractions at home, children needing attention, animals needing walks, others working. You may find you are more productive super early or later in the day. That is ok. Let your team know and be available to answer questions while others are working.
5. Pro tip: Put extra effort into planning
Put more time into your prep work. Since you won’t be able to just grab your teammates and gather around a conference table, having a plan for deciding what work will get done and by whom will keep your deadlines in check.
Hold meetings to get any resources and answer questions before starting work. You’ll be able to work on your own during your productive hours without needing to reach out to your teammates and team leaders constantly for more info.
You’ll feel and be way more productive!
Set up your workspace
1. Create a separate, focused work space
Find an isolated spot where you can work without being interrupted. If you can’t get away from others in your place, noise cancelling headphones can create this space and let others know to not bother you.
If possible, not seeing your work space outside of hours will help you disengage during home hours.
2. Keep your workspace clean
Do your best to keep your workspace tidy.
Try having a routine of tidying up first thing in the morning (great start your day ritual). This may help put your mind into work mode and keeps you organized for the day.
3. Use ergonomics to your benefit
Get your desk, chair and screen(s) positioned comfortably. Use monitor mounts, boxes for external monitors. For laptops, try and get them up to an easier viewing level.
Dressers can make great improvised standing desks!
4. Set boundaries with family and friends
Set clear boundaries and expectations with family and friends. Just because you work at home does not mean you are freely available during all hours of the day. Remember, if you have kids they are going to need your attention. Take a break to be with them.
5. Pro tip: Don’t sit all day
When you were in the office, think about how often you’d get up and walk around. Taking regular standing breaks and stretches help keep you loose, release stress and re-focus.
Walk away from your screen, grab a snack, sit outside, you may be shocked how much these simple things will help you reset.
1. Get a second screen
Our team really likes having second screens in their home office. Switching between apps can make your day feel cluttered and be a huge time waster.
No extra screen, no problem if you have an iPad. Check out Duet for Windows and Mac or Sidecar for Mac, which can turn your iPad into a second monitor.
2. Invest in good noise cancelling headphones
A good pair of noise cancelling headphones do more than play your favorite hits. They let others know not to disturb you. If you cannot find a quiet and isolated space, the headphones can create this space.
You’ll be surprised how much they will help with your focus and stay in work mode.
3. Turn your camera on during meetings
We need to connect with the outside world. Seeing other people’s faces builds trust, empathy and a level of emotional connection.
You’ll also feel less isolated afterwards.
4. Pro tip: Make a technology backup plan
Murphy’s Law: technology will fail when you need it most. Have a back up plan to stay connected.
Have a plan for what you’ll do if you have an internet outage or your computer crashes to get yourself back online asap. You may no longer have access to an IT department, or office equipment you can grab in a pinch.
Don’t wait until it happens. It will happen at the worst moment possible.
A few more tips
1. Have some basic fitness equipment
You’d be surprised how many exercises you can do with just a yoga mat and bodyweight, or a simple set of dumbbells. Fire up a quick 10-15 minute workout session and feel the creative juices start to flow.
2. Don’t skip your workout
You knew exercise was important when working in an office, it’s no different now that you’re WFH, if not more important. Why? Because it’s easy to just stay inside all day.
You have some flexibility with your schedule, so take advantage and work out during times that you found it difficult before.
3. Keep your fur baby close by
Frustrating meeting? Losing focus? Give your pet a belly rub and watch your stress and anxiety melt away.
4. Pro-tip: Ignore any advice that doesn’t work for you
Feel free to ignore any and all suggestions from the MBD Team that don’t work for you.
We’re all unique individuals and what works for you may not work for someone else. If you can work from your bed or couch while in pajamas – do it during this pandemic. Just put on a nice shirt for your video meetings.
We’re continuing to adapt to this new way of life for the time being, make the most of your remote working situation and don’t sweat the small things. Children will show up in important Zoom meetings, don’t panic – let others find joy in seeing them. Wearing pajamas may not work for you, but others might be finding comfort in them. Not everyone has or can afford the fastest internet connection, best headphones and mic, or know how to fix audio or video issues – patience will go a long way.
We want to hear from you. Share your team’s tips for working from home with us below.
Stay safe, stay healthy and practice social distancing.