6 Tips for Thriving While Working Remotely

6 Tips for Thriving While Working Remotely

By Mike Norbut

As COVID-19 continues to spread, ֱ, like many companies in our area, asked staff to begin working remotely this week. I know many people work from home on a regular basis, but doing so once a week is quite different from doing it every day, as many have quickly discovered. Given that we all might be working remotely for several weeks, I thought this might be a good time for me to share some thoughts and tips as someone who worked from home for more than 10 years straight before joining ֱ. These are really just things I learned about myself over time that helped me be more productive and happier in my home office. They might be helpful for you as well. 

  1. Dedicate your own work space. Working from home once a week may have meant it was easier to just work at the kitchen table, but that won’t be a good solution as hours stretch to days and weeks. Find a quiet space (preferably one with a door) where you can set up a desk and chair to concentrate. This will be especially important if you have family members running around looking for someone to talk to. You can set rules too, like if the door is closed, it means they shouldn’t disturb you or should knock quietly if they need something. (This applies to kids and adults alike.)

  2. Stick to your routines. If you exercise each morning or take a walk at lunchtime, continue to do that. Try to maintain a healthy routine to keep your mind and body sharp.

  3. Be intentional about your water cooler conversations. We will continue to have staff and client calls while we are working remotely, but we won’t have as many of the casual hallway/water cooler conversations that we are used to having in the office. It’s important for your own mental health to make time for some of those, whether you’re calling a friend, texting a family member, or checking in via Skype with a colleague.

  4. Start each day with a list. You might already do this in the office, but creating a list is especially important when working from home, where it’s harder to separate from your family and house priorities and distractions. Setting goals for yourself each day will help you focus.

  5. Start work early. Resist the temptation to stay up later at night and sleep in every morning. Your most productive time will likely be early in the morning, so plan to start work when you would otherwise leave to begin your commute to the office – or start even earlier if you can. This will allow you to be more flexible as needed during the day.

  6. Don’t let day blend with night. Related to #5, working from home offers tremendous flexibility, but the trade-off is you don’t have the same separation that you otherwise would if you commuted into the office. The result can be the feeling that you have a longer workday because you are trying to make up time in the evening for time that you didn’t spend working during the day. Doing this once in a while is fine, but it’s easy to slip into the routine of doing this every day, which isn’t good for your mental health.

Try to spend as much time during the day working as you can so that you can put the work down and be with your family in the evening. This is another reason to have a dedicated work space; once you leave that room late in the afternoon, you can properly separate and let the work sit until morning. You may also find that you need a transition activity (to simulate your commute, for example) to calm your mind and give you time to relax.

Mike Norbut is vice president of business development and a member of ֱ’s Leadership Team.

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