The lock down has been eased here in Scotland, but we are still going through an overwhelming situation trying to adapt to the “new normal”. If you don’t feel especially productive while you are social distancing or in quarantine, that’s absolutely OK. In this post, I will try to give some tips to facilitate productivity during this mandatory ‘working from home’ period. And who knows, they might be useful even later, when life goes back to as we knew it!
Everybody is different; regardless of your personal style, though, it really helps to create a working routine, that also includes breaks to regain energy in order to complete your daily tasks. Just make sure not to let a break turn into a day-long procrastination spree! Alternatively, you can just include your procrastination time in your schedule! 🙂
Setting up a daily schedule and goals is necessary for working effectively; however, the practice of setting daily intentions, especially in these tough times, can change your life.
Setting intentions allows you to focus on who you are, recognise your values and live within the interpretation of them. Intentions give you purpose, and motivation to achieve this purpose.
Over-consumption of news and social media, especially regarding the pandemic, can lead you to feel depressed and overwhelmed. Also, comparing yourself to others and the way they are spending their quarantine time is not a good idea right now.
Instead, try to focus on yourself and the things you want to achieve. So, turn off all the unnecessary notifications and use technology in your favour. For example, there are a lot of free online courses out there that might help you gain a new skill or develop your existing skills, learn a new hobby or expand your knowledge on a specific topic. You can even get certification that might boost your motivation and your CV, or just have fun with something not work-related. Also, using the right online tools can make a huge difference for working remotely. These tools, together with a positive mindset, lay the foundations for success. If you haven’t used these tools before and feel confused, set aside an hour to go through tutorials and videos to learn.
That magic hour of learning the right tools will save you many hours of lost productivity later.
As humans are social creatures by default, being at home may feel difficult, especially for those who are extroverted by nature, and enjoy the social aspect of their job. However, it is possible to foster connection and maintain relationships during this time; we just have to use the right tools, be patient, and get used to it!
Regular phone calls, video calls and virtual meetings help maintain communication, and help employees to continue to feel engaged and part of the team. Choose the right communication platform to get in contact with you, and keep your team informed about your work-at-home schedule.
Setting an agenda, giving the opportunity to speak to everyone, providing structure and clarity are important to ease anxiety, keep healthy collaborations and relationships and the meetings at a professional level.
Also, when we work remotely, we miss out on all the impromptu chatting with our colleagues (i.e. before and after meetings, catching up in the hallway, and stopping by each other’s desks). In a virtual environment there is a tendency to focus more on tasks than on relationships. Make sure you schedule time for informal conversation at the beginning and end of meetings or arrange calls specifically for catching up. This will hugely help your mental and social health.
Of course, during these tough times, everyone needs to think about what makes them productive and happy in everyday life (i.e. taking a walk at lunch time), and work around their schedules. Managers, leaders, and supervisors should take this into consideration, show empathy, and make themselves available to talk about fears, and answer questions in order to reassure their staff or students.
It is important for everyone to be aware of significant changes you may see in the personality or performance of a colleague because it may be a sign that a person is struggling due to isolation or loneliness.
This situation has been hard, and the longer it continues, the more we will feel isolated and alone. But the truth is we are not alone. We are in this together.
Take good care.