If you’re a professional that has been working from home since the onset of COVID-19, you might find yourself reminiscing about the good old days when working hours meant you were in the office at your desk by 9:00 am, and by 4:55 pm, even if you dreaded the commute, you looked forward to the evening ride home.
There has been a seismic shift in how people are now managing working remotely. Stanford News reports the number of people working from home full-time since COVID 19 has surged from a mere 19% to a whopping 42%. And an article by The Washington Post citing a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows since the onset of the lockdown and stay at home orders, the average workday has lengthened by 48.5 minutes and the number of meetings increased by 13%. Needless to say, if work/life balance was out of sync pre-covid, the current pandemic has created a new ‘normal’ where the lines between working to live and living to work have become blurred.
Work from home tips have been regurgitated, repurposed, rehashed, and hashtagged, i.e.; #worklifebalance, #lovewhereyouworkfrom #workinyourpajamas. The trend has spread; even LinkedIn jumped on the bandwagon with their #wfhhashtagging challenge to encourage members to share their top tips for working remotely productively.
We thought it would be interesting to share some of our team members best practices for productivity from the home office. We’ve even included a playlist to help enhance your mental space while you work.
Got any favorite tips on working from home you’d like to share? We’d love to put them in our next newsletter! Drop us a note @firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here.
What I have found from working remotely, is how important it is to separate the “work” space from the “living” space, even though it is technically the same space. How does one do this successfully?
Mood. I like to create an atmosphere for my working space. It has to be comfortable enough to hunker down there for hours at a time, while not being too comfortable for the myriad of meetings and zoom calls that without fail, fill the day in our brave new world. In the brief stretches of time between those meetings, you will be hearing lo-fi, instrumental hip-hop beats playing in the background. This is a critical part of my “space.” Remember, space is not just a physical dimension, think about “mental space.” These lo-fi rhythms and melodies are an essential backdrop for my concentration and creativity.
I’ve learned not to work in the kitchen. For me, it just doesn’t work. I need a spot where I can feel organized. However, coffee should always be nearby. That goes without saying. Everybody has different needs, but this time of working from home has taught me the value in setting apart home from work, especially from the perspective of how these spaces are now intertwined. Perhaps you have found that too.
Dee’s WFH Hack #1
One thing I have learned about myself is that my productivity is extremely reliant on motivation and, like most people, I am motivated by things that I am passionate about. So, to keep myself motivated I have surrounded myself with reminders of what I am working for- the people I love, the things I enjoy, the ambition to better the world around me. In fact, I have made my home office space a ZEN DEN fully equipped with plants, photos of family and friends, snacks, speakers with motivational playlists for any mood ready to deploy at the touch of a button, and a hammock hung under my desk to take calls and snack on lunch from. Creating a special space where I can focus on work and feel as though I have ‘gone’ somewhere (even if it is just steps from my bed) puts me in a state of mind that caters well to productivity.
Dee’s WFH Hack #2:
Time Management and Accountability are the keys to WFH success for me. Every week I schedule out each day and hold myself accountable to that schedule with rewards like snacks, ending my ‘shift’ early, or treating myself to some selfcare over the weekend. If I get to the ‘office’ late, no mani-pedis or delectable desserts for me, but if I totally crush my to-do list and close some deals throughout the week- well, cookies are for closers after all.
Staying grounded is a key factor to my productivity at work and home. I’m a super high energy person and have to maintain balance so I don’t mentally and/or physically burn myself out. I find that balance through mediational prayer and physical exercise. I begin each morning with deep breathing combined with 15-20 minutes of thoughts of gratitude and prayers for my family, friends, co-workers, etc. Studies show that just a few minutes of gratefulness each day actually leads to increased feelings of happiness. This has been a really empowering and life-changing practice as it’s made me very present to my emotional states and my ability to conscientiously access feelings of peace when I am feeling stressed or under-pressure.
Getting a working out in first thing in the morning is also a priority for my sense of well-being. Health and fitness has been a lifestyle choice for me since I was 14 (I’m also an ex-fitness instructor), so even though I haven’t been to a gym since the onset of COVID, I still keep myself in shape with 30-minutes of exercise each morning by running, jumping rope, free weights, or a combination of the three. If I’m short on time, I’ve got a YouTube list of favorite high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that only take 5-10 minutes, but really give you a sweat.
This combination of mindfulness and physical activity is an everyday must for me to get my mornings off to an amazing start and keep me ‘on-point’ throughout my day!