Here at ArcStone, we've long been flexible around working remotely, so many of us are comfortable posting up at home for the day. But, it goes without saying, that things are different right now.
Many offices have closed, requiring mandatory remote work due to the breadth of COVID-19. For those who are able to work remotely, I'm sure you feel as lucky as we do that our work can continue. Many are being left without work at this time because of the nature of their work.
If, however, you are among those of us who are working from home, we have some tips for you. To stay productive, to stay positive, and to make the most of this strange situation we've found ourselves in.
Prepare For Distractions
Unlike your office space, where your main priority is to get your work done, your home is a space that is dedicated to many other things. Like feeding your pets, or knocking on the walls when your neighbor's music gets too loud.
Prepare yourself for distractions by mirroring your morning routine to your typical in-office routine. Do you usually wake up 10 minutes early to participate in pre-work meditation? Or maybe you make sure to give yourself an extra 5 minutes to choose your outfit. By staying consistent with your typical morning routine, you will be more adept at ignoring inevitable distractions throughout the day, because you will have "geared up" for going into the office, just as you did prior.
Another way to prepare for distractions is to set your working station up strategically. Away from the tv or if you live in an apartment like me, away from the bay of windows that let in the sounds of the city.
Remember all those meetings that really threw off your day when you were in-office? Well, those may be your saving grace during this time of social distancing. Working from home has a lot of positives, but it also has some negatives. And one of the latter is the simple fact that you aren't able to circle up with your team in-person. So the key to being just as productive, is to over-communicate with your team. This doubles as keeping you sane throughout the day if you're working solo with only a cat and a bird to keep you company.
We have the technology now to be in constant communication, so there's no excuse for missing an update. We utilize Zoom for our virtual meetings and it has given us the ability to confidently work remotely in a productive, and connected way.
Before I started using timers, I was lost. Especially while working remote. Timers give you the ability to focus on one task at a time, without task-switching due to a ping or an email that comes in. Obviously you have to stay on top of last minute alerts from your team or clients, but it is so easy to get lost in daily tasks when you're not surrounded by your co-workers who are also focused in on their to-do's.
My favorite is Tomato Timer, but I am always open to suggestion! This is a simple timer that allows you to set your own times and even time your breaks. It's distractions worst nightmare basically.
If you're being called by your pile of laundry, write it down, and then use a timed and scheduled break to tackle the task. If you functioned on scheduled breaks while in the office, stick to that plan. But if you are used to getting up and taking 5 on your own time, be flexible with yourself and get up as needed, just remember that your home is full to the brim with distractions, don't let them suck you in.
Using timers will help you to take reasonable breaks even if you're not on a schedule. During a time of uncertainty, it's easy to get discouraged, and being in your home all day can be a detriment to your mood, so use breaks to get outside or do something that gives you a boost.
This is a strange time for everyone, we are with you in this time of uncertainty and vagueness. We hope you are doing well and we send positive energy your way now and always. If you have any remote work tips for us, share them with us on Facebook!