The world seems off-kilter these days. Hand sanitizer, toilet paper and spray disinfectant have become prized possessions. It’s a confusing time and sometimes feels as if we’ve been made to forfeit control. We’re feeling the loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection.
Among the many alterations is the shift to remote work for thousands of people, many of whom had to make the change abruptly. It’s not complicated but these tips might help you tweak your situation to figure out what works best for you.
Find a Schedule That Works for You
Some jobs, such as customer support, require a set schedule. But for other jobs, other than conference call meetings, working remotely can sometimes offer a more flexible schedule. Find what works best for you. In my case, depending on the situation, I might typically do a lot of work in the morning, then take a break in the afternoon, and then work more in the evening.
Communicate and Purposely Engage with Your Colleagues
Make sure to stay connected with your team every day. At NPM we have a weekly staff meeting (done through Zoom), but we also keep in touch through email and Slack, where we have several dedicated channels for work-related things, as well as a random channel where we share fun, interesting and silly things that aren’t work related, but make us smile. It’s home to the widest collections of emoticons, animated GIFs and memes. Lately, we’ve used it for comic relief during these crazy times.
Take Regular Breaks
While you may think you’ll be tempted to goof off because you’re working from home, you may find the exact opposite is true. When coworkers aren’t interrupting you, it can be easy to stay at your desk way longer than is healthy. Make sure you schedule regular breaks to get up from your work space and move around, whether that means visiting the kitchen for a cup of coffee or taking a short walk. If you can’t remember to take breaks, try setting a timer.
Embrace “Do Not Disturb”
If you do use a chat program like Slack or HipChat to stay connected, make sure to set yourself “away” or use the “do not disturb” setting to let your coworkers know that you’re busy and not available. Even if you’re not using a tam chat app, it’s okay to let your colleagues know your unavailable at times to get work done. Think of it like closing the door to your office so you’re not interrupted.
Set Boundaries with Your Children
School closings, for those with children, adds another layer to the adjustment of working remotely. This may mean allowing them more screen time than usual to keep them occupied. One way NPM tackled this is by sending small gifts of fun activities to members of our team with children. It’s also okay to tell your kids when you can’t be disturbed. One friend did an arts and crafts project with her six-year-old to make a red ‘stop’ sign to put on her door so he knows he shouldn’t interrupt unless it’s an emergency. They also made a green ‘go’ sign that lets him know he can come in to her work space. If both you and your spouse are working from home, alternating shifts with your partner can make working remotely a lot easier.
Hopefully, these tips can help you adapt to working remotely and keep you from getting sucked down any rabbit holes that make you unproductive. Let us know how we can help. Together, we’ll get through this. Stay healthy.