Working remotely has its perks, no daily commute to the office, the flexibility to work when you want to, and no strict dress code (unless you have online meetings!), but it also has its disadvantages. It can be quite difficult to stay motivated when you are not working alongside your team and can easily feel disconnected and alone.
Here is a short list of the challenges we are currently facing and some pointers to help cope with the new norm.
1. Staying organised
While working in the same space you live in, it can be easy to get disorganised. So, if you have the space, try working in a different place than where you spend your leisure time. This helps you separate work and play. If this is not possible, try to keep your work desk (kitchen table, etc.) organised and tidy.
Simple things like keeping your desktop neat, spending a small amount of time each day organising folders and files and setting out your daily tasks can all help keep you on track.
2. Managing your time and staying focused
Working remotely can make managing your time quite tricky.
At Canopy, we have put a simple but effective procedure in place to help. Every morning, we have short company meeting where each staff member sets out the three key tasks that they will focus on for the day. This not only keeps us accountable but keeps everyone engaged with the company wide “daily tasks” and encourages collaboration in achieving our goals.
3. Remembering to take regular breaks
Without the structure of working at the office, it’s easy to forget to take regular breaks. Little things like grabbing a glass of water to keep yourself hydrated and stopping for a dedicated lunch break can increase mental well-being and productivity. The key to success is working efficiently. Try setting alarms on your phone or reminders in your calendar to prompt you to take breaks.
4. Switching off
It can be hard to see where your workday ends and home life begins. It is important to set boundaries for yourself and your family or house mates on what you can and cannot do during “business hours”.
It is also equally as important to set a finishing time and stick to it. It is all too easy to just duck into the home office to do a quick task and before you realise it, an hour or two flies by.
Collaboration with the team is essential and is taken for granted when in the office. It’s all too easy to pop into someone’s office or swing past a colleague’s desk. You don’t have this opportunity when you’re working remotely.
The good thing is there are lots of tools out there to help us stay connected while working from home. Programs like ‘Teams’ and ‘Zoom’ make it easy to talk to your workmates and organise your correspondence.
It can also be helpful to establish guidelines. Setting out guidelines for communicating remotely such as which communication channels colleagues should be available on and when team meetings are held can be helpful. With so many lines of communication available these days, it can become a little overwhelming and easy to miss things when dealing with phone calls, text messages, team chats, zoom calls and emails.
Keep it simple, establish a method with the team and stick to it.
6. Socially interacting
Interacting with other people is a positive aspect of many jobs. Yes, you are there to work, but social contact is also important and can help with productivity and mental health.
Working during isolation is exactly that and in these unprecedented times we’re missing the simple things, the ‘water cooler’ chats that are now non-existent.
To combat the lack of interaction, at Canopy, we’ve scheduled a daily catch up every afternoon where the team get together for a quick chat followed by a daily quiz. It keeps us all engaged, our mind fresh and gives us all a little social engagement to look forward too, especially for those employees who may live alone.
These are our top tips to help you remain mentally and physically strong during isolation and ways to keep your productivity levels up.