As working from home becomes the unplanned requirement for most individuals due to coronavirus- it is clear that this massive shift in working environments has introduced new challenges for the remote worker.
As this uncertain time continues to extend, employees are finding it difficult to work and be creative with the growing stress they have for the future. In regards to the Coronavirus outbreak, as the cases increase and the stock market curves- Huffington described this point in time as a “generic atmosphere of stress”.
Although fear and panic have started to subside for some, things aren’t back to ‘normal’, and won’t be for a while. However, most business owners understand something fundamental: it’s time to get back to business the best way we can, given the conditions that we have.
With businesses starting to pick back up again, we’ve decided to re-evaluate just what it means to properly manage a remote work environment and remove the stress that lingers in the atmosphere.
Here are a few tips we have learned throughout the remote working experience to help you manage your working from home life better.
1. In order to continue to adapt and strive in your remote office, it’s important to first look at your workspace. According to a study by Brother, 40% of survey participants said a messy workspace actually causes them to be less productive. By simply having a clean workspace, you will elevate the stress of feeling like you’re behind on work. This feeling tends to happen when there are unsorted papers all-around your workspace. Studies show that the average person spends 4.3hours per week searching for papers. It’s important to create a habit of cleaning your workspace throughout the workweek.
2. To better manage your remote work lifestyle, watch that you’re not overworking yourself. As you work from home- your work & life balance can become a blur which can lead to individuals working more hours when working from home. According to an article written by Bloomberg, homebound employees are logging three hours more per day on the job than before city and state-wide lockdowns.
3. To combat overworking, and to completely disconnect from the stress of working from home, it’s important to set boundaries and take breaks at appropriate times. Plan to take consistent breaks in which you engage in relaxing activities. Furthermore, it’s crucial to set boundaries around what you can and are willing to do; don’t keep working when you need to rest or clear your mind. If weekend work is not required, set your own boundary to get away from your desk. These breaks and boundaries will help you be more efficient and effective in your work and alleviate stress.
4. Create a dedicated workspace – an area with as little interference with your home life as possible. Initially, when the pandemic hit, a makeshift office may have been set up, however, now it is time to establish your true home office space. Workers say that they have a hard time winding down from their workday since they try to relax in the same place they work. It’s ideal that you try to have a separate office space in your home.
At the very least, find ways to separate your home life from your work life in the space that you have available and let your workstation be just for work-related activities.
5. Strengthen your time management skills. Working from home can be a struggle for individuals who aren’t good at staying on task. It may be time to kick things up a notch and use a time management app to make each day more productive. For example:
Some productivity apps will track the amount of time you spend on each task and even minimize distractions. Some examples of these types of apps include the following:
Using a time tracker app will help you see your productivity levels each day and week. This will not only provide you with insight as to when you are most productive during the day, but it will also show you how much time you spend on each task.
6. In support of mental health, it’s important to find time for human contact during your workday. It’s common for loneliness and isolation to be shared problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. Connecting with family, friends and colleagues through digital apps and social networking sites can make you feel more connected and included. In terms of disconnecting from work and interactions- it’s important to do activities for yourself such as, taking a walk outside; and scheduling in some time to exercise. If weather permits, set up your office outside on a porch, balcony or backyard from time to time. Schedule these breaks into your day to help manage your energy.
Overall, as businesses are seeing an increase in employee stress, this becomes a factor in what impacts the employee’s work ethic and the business’s overall productivity. Since working from home seems to be the direction that things are going- these tips will help you prepare for an effective remote working experience.
Be sure to check out our Working from Home webinar series that includes tips and downloadable one-pagers.