While many organisations have had remote working policies in place for some time and have the systems to enable them to work effectively virtually, this period of emergency remote working will still pose challenges. Capacity will be tested and the spike in the usage of cloud tools may see outages and other connectivity problems . Many companies with no experience of remote working will struggle and lots of workers will find this imposed period of working from home challenging.
There will be many distractions, many unknowns and feelings of isolation and confusion. We are in unchartered territory and it’s important that each one of us takes responsibility, takes initiative and tries to stay focused and positive over the next couple of weeks.
This post is an extract from my free Guide; How to Stay Productive Working from Home and will help you with the challenges that are associated with remote working. The guide includes advice on the following areas on making your environment work for you, managing your time, creating positive daily habits, using the right tools and creating a virtual culture.
Making the Environment Work
While working from home is definitely going to be challenging for a lot of people over the coming weeks there are several things you can do to ensure you work as effectively and efficiently as possible without losing your mind or wishing you could lose your children. There is a lot we can control and setting up your environment to support your productivity should be step one.
Setting up Shop
Choosing the right workspace makes all the difference when you’re pushed to your limits to deliver work on time. Simple things like temperature and light can make a difference to your productivity and your mood, but more importantly you will need to find a space with minimal distractions to enable you to focus for adequate periods of time. Your workspace should ideally be somewhere that doesn’t have people moving through it or isn’t a place that others need to use at any stage during the day.
If you have small children who have been sent home from school or crèche you may not have the luxury of closing a door, you can try headphones to block out surrounding noise. [Disclaimer: I am not suggesting you ignore your children or neglect them, please use your own discretion here]
Speak to your company about spending company money if necessary, to make your space appropriate for remote work.
While there will be some unavoidable distractions, don’t use it as an excuse. Minimise personal distractions such as turning off notifications of social media or email. Try to hone your focus as much as possible. A set of headphones and an app like Focus@Will or Brain.fm can help to focus the brain and filter out distractions.
If your children are old enough that they can understand, let them know what the boundaries are. Maybe set a timer and take a 5-minute break every hour to check in with them, now is not the time to worry about their gaming addiction or screen time usage. If you need to focus, let them do what keeps them happy.
Choosing the times to work
If you don’t have to be available for a 9 to 5, consider working different hours so that you can be more available for your family. If your organisation are happy with your task-based productivity rather than time based, make a timetable that works for you. If your partner or spouse is also working from home, you might be able to stagger your working hours to accommodate children.
Whatever hours you decide to work try to stick to a routine whether it be morning, afternoon or evening. You’re more likely to get more work done if you have set hours for work.