We sit amid a climate that is unimaginable and changing by the day with the COVID-19 outbreak. Here at Blue Yonder, like at many companies around the world, we have shifted the majority of the workforce to working from home as we look to protect associates and help stop the spread of the virus.
As some have lauded this timeframe as the world’s largest work-from-home experiment, it is an experiment many are not necessarily ready for. For those of us who work from home offices, as I have for over half my career, the best way we can help our fellow coworkers is to share ideas on how to navigate this new world and support each other as we adjust to a new normal.
Following are tips for successfully working from home that I’ve cultivated over the years, along with some excellent suggestions from other Blue Yonder colleagues sharing insights with our office-based team members.
- Set aside a separate workspace: This is useful for two reasons: it allows you to separate your work life from your home life, and for those with children at home it helps offer some privacy. Optimize your workspace with a desk, an office chair and if possible, a docking station, monitor and headset, so you are set up for ergonomic and productivity success!
- Don’t sit at your computer all day: While we encourage the use of video calls to connect with your colleagues and team, if you are not on a video call, use this time to walk around your office while you’re on calls. This is where a wireless headset or airpods come in handy. You can focus 100% on the meeting and not be tempted to multi-task or read emails, while getting in a few steps.
- Dress for work: While it is a stereotype that remote workers do so in their pajamas, there is something to be said for looking the part. Get ready for work as you normally would in an office environment. You’ll be surprised how much more confident you feel and it also helps when you have to unexpectedly pop on video for a meeting.
- Time block: Use your calendar wisely. We all have a specific time of day our brains are most productive. For me personally, it’s early in the morning, so I block that time each day for writing/content creation as much as possible, and prioritize meetings and tactical activities for the remainder of the day.
- Self care: Make time for yourself each day, whether it’s a workout, a walk around the block or making yourself a cozy cup of afternoon tea. Sitting and staring at your computer all day without a break is easy to do in this environment, but taking a break stimulates your mind – and body – and you’ll notice a difference!
- Keep normal “office” hours: While I enjoy the flexibility of remote work, I prefer to keep normal “office” hours. There times when you may need to take an off-hours call or field an email, however, that should be the exception and not the norm. It’s tempting to start working the minute you’re up for the day, until you’re wrapping up your evening, but setting some boundaries will help you gain the balance we all need.
Some of the other tips from our remote workers that are just as useful, particularly for those with children unexpectedly home during this unprecedented time:
- Be flexible: If you have kids at home – or are a manager and have team members with kids at home – talk to each other and be realistic about the hours you can work in between caring for your children. Now more than ever, we need to help and support each other through this time and communicating and setting those expectations upfront will help immensely.
- Prioritize mental health: Our well-being during this time is of utmost importance. We cannot forget to take care of ourselves. Make sure you take a few minutes to assess how you are doing (versus just plowing forward) and talk to others if you are feeling unusually stressed or overwhelmed.
- Talk about something other than work: This sounds counter-intuitive but in a time where we may all start to feel isolated, call each other, video chat, or just communicate with each other outside of work tasks to check in and say hello. Beyond work, talk to your family and friends. Feelings of isolation are real and we all need to look out for each other right now.
- Blink: No really, blink. The monitor, emails, and urgency tend to ‘hypnotize’ us so it’s important to take breaks and rest your eyes. Look outside, close your eyes. Check out this article on digital eye strain.
Here are some other great reads that may help as you adjust to working remotely:
- What I’ve Learned from 10 Years of Working Remotely
- COVID-19 Has My Teams Working Remotely: A Guide for Leaders
- Coronavirus: How to work from home, the right way
- Leading Remote Workers: The Coronavirus’ Impact On Effective Management
- 5 Tips for Staying Productive and Mentally Healthy While You’re Working From Home
Do you work remotely? Or is this your first foray into long-term remote working? Share your tips with us here or on our social channels.