The novel coronavirus outbreak has upended life as we know it for the time being, impacting everything from schools to sporting teams to where and how we work.
With so many businesses shifting to a remote working policy to help employees, customers, and the public engage in social distancing, many companies are learning how to navigate this new work environment on the fly.
Anyone can set up a laptop at the kitchen table and call it a workspace. However, to stay truly productive and keep your team focused, connected, and motivated while staying healthy, you’ll need a slightly more strategic approach.
Create a Dedicated Work Area and Routine
Have you ever found yourself behind the wheel of your car, pulling into your office or workplace parking lot with no memory of actually getting there? That’s the power of habit, and human beings are especially susceptible to it.
Driving in automatic or habitual mode can be risky, but you can also harness the power of habit for good. One way to take advantage of the innate need for routine is to create a new normal for your work-from-home reality.
Start by designating a work area—an exclusive one, if possible. Arrange furniture, supplies, and your computer and related equipment with a logical workflow in mind. Think about minimizing repeated movements, improving ergonomics, and creating a natural flow for your day-to-day tasks. Add lighting that reduces glare and illuminates your workspace to avoid eye strain, and consider grabbing a pair of Blue Light Blocking Custom Glasses while you’re at it.
Many experts and experienced remote workers suggest treating your at-home workday as if you were going to the office. Shower, dress in work-appropriate clothing, and keep regular work hours. This helps your mind and body recognize the habitual work routine, even in an unfamiliar environment.
However, if you’re more comfortable in relaxed clothing, going this route might also help you stay on task. Decide what works best for you, especially at a time when it’s so important to manage stress.
Think About How You Work
Think of your typical day in the office. From morning coffee to lunch meetings to strategy sessions, most of what you do at work depends on that physical space. Your work computer, your desk layout, your chair, your printer, your phone, office supplies—it all resides in a specific space.
Working from home changes that context, sometimes dramatically. And in some cases, it’s hard to even know what needs to shift to accommodate remote work until you’re ready to complete a specific task. If you suddenly realize you don’t have what you need, it pulls away your time and focus as you find a solution.
That’s why it’s smart to take the time now to consider the actual tasks your remote work will need to accommodate. Think through your workflow and make a list of what you’ll need to get the job done. This may also include things like a WiFi booster to ensure you have a strong connection in your home office.
Keep Your Employees Connected and Motivated
Platforms for communication and project management are crucial for productive remote working. That’s true not just for you and your immediate team but for the employees you manage or interact with across your organization. Keeping everyone up to date on the company’s plans will help minimize fear and anxiety, which will help everyone stay focused on the tasks at hand.
Project and task management apps such as Asana and Trello can keep the team oriented toward objectives, which will then leave you free to manage and direct. A communication app like Slack can help everyone stay connected and feel like they’re still part of the team, even if they’re no longer seeing each other face-to-face.
Consider supplying home-office items to ease the work-from-home transition and make employees’ daily work flow a bit smoother. Bluetooth-enabled Headsets, for example, can be a lifesaver when you need to leave your hands free for taking notes or typing. Or supply your team with a wireless charging pad for their home desks.
Keep in Touch
If you’d like to send something out to your team to help everyone stay connected, get in touch. We have lots of useful branded items in our curated “work from home” collection that can make working from home easier for everyone to manage.
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