As social distancing continues and offices remain closed, many of us are still adapting to the quarantine life. While working from home has become more common in recent years, for a lot of workers, this is somewhat uncharted territory. Gone are the usual office routines, workflows and patterns that help keep us on task and the face-to-face contact that helps teams stay motivated.
Business leaders are implementing new practices to help do their part in keeping us focused, but how can we as employees make sure our routines lend themselves to higher productivity and less burnout?
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Being removed from your usual workspace can be disorienting, making it difficult to find motivation. Furthermore, when you are suddenly stuck in quarantine, it can be difficult to separate home life from work routines. Set up a space where you can work effectively, whether it’s a desk in your room or the kitchen table. Creating a designated work area is a great way to help get into a routine and be more productive. Making some space in your home feel and function like your traditional office can make it easier to get back into a familiar headspace during work hours.
Bonus: If you have the option, find a space that allows you to close the door when you’ve finished your work so you can truly “step away.”
While it is important to limit distractions while you work from home, that doesn’t mean you need to lock yourself away for eight or more hours every day. Because remote work can blur the line between home and the office, it is easy to lose track of time. An important way to avoid feeling burn out is to set clear working hours for yourself each day. On a similar note, designate some time to step away from the computer. People in an office are not glued to their desks and it should be no different at home. This can help clear your brain and boost creativity.
Just as structuring your schedule can help improve productivity, setting goals can help you find motivation to keep going for the long-haul. Mapping out the things that you want to achieve each day (and for the rest of your work at home experience) makes it easier to stay on task, prioritize those tasks and gives you a greater sense of accomplishment once they are completed.
Going beyond work goals, it can be tough to stay motivated outside the home office too. Setting milestones in your personal life is a great way to keep busy. Whether it’s to get out and run every day or stay in and successfully bake some sourdough bread, mapping out what you want to accomplish keeps boredom at bay and makes it easier to stay motivated.
Behind on your goal setting? You might enjoy reading: PR Pros: Have You Set Your Wellness Goals for the New Year?
For many workers, the continuing pandemic has put significant pressure on our everyday experience. In times like these, it can be undeniably harder to stay upbeat. This is why it’s so important to maintain perspective. Take some time to call out positive work and wins with your teams, no matter how small. Whether it’s a post-work happy hour to celebrate a client deliverable, or even just taking a second to personally acknowledge work you feel proud of, anything helps.
One of the biggest changes to come with this permanent state of working from home is how we approach the camaraderie most commonly found in in-person interactions. Fortunately, today we have sophisticated collaboration tools and video conferencing platforms to stay connected. And just like we do for work, it’s important to take time to do the same with friends and coworkers too. Carving out some time for a team lunch or is a great way to break up the day and keep a sense of company culture going during isolation.
These are just a few things that can be done to make the transition to working remotely smoother, without sacrificing productivity or creativity. Ultimately, it comes down to striking the right balance between maintaining focus and allowing your brain some time off to decompress and recharge.