According to Glassdoor that surveyed 1,000 American Employees in March 2020 - during our early days of the pandemic, 32% said TV was the top distraction and 27% said childcare was a huge distraction. Now, as we approach a year under these stressful conditions, those percentages have increased two-fold.
How can we each be successful in this new norm?
- Go outside and breath fresh air.
- Plan healthy meals and snacks – schedule workday eating times for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
- Shut off and shut down from work.
- Socialize with family and friends.
- SLEEP! - keep a regular bedtime/do not short-change your sleep hours.
Work at home employee responsibilities:
- Get dressed! Wearing sweatpants and slippers creates a different state of mind than putting on office casual attire.
- Set office hours (with an alarm if necessary)
- We can all easily begin work at 8am and before we know it – 7pm has arrived!
- Prioritize your day.
- Do not overbook your time.
- Keep an impeccable Calendar – include family appointments**
- Use your calendar and schedule your time for tasks not just meetings**
- Let go of what you cannot control – No employee can control the response time of a vendor/client/co-worker.
- Fight the urge to multitask**
- We all know that person who appears to do two things at one but in review, were those items done to their best?
I once prepared a client presentation; my daughter was home sick and told me we were out of milk. I thought I wrote it on a piece of paper, without thinking I typed it into a cell on the excel doc “buy milk”. When reviewing the project with the client someone suddenly said, “Did you remember to buy milk?” … we all laughed – thank goodness!
- Keep your workspace organized and segregated from “family” – ex: work docs should not be mixed in a batch with family papers, mail received etc.
- Be conscious of how you spend your time.
- Pomodoro Technique – states 25-minute work blocks with a five-minute break.
- The Ultradian Cycle suggests we try testing our focus by setting a timer and see how long we can each focus on task before feeling “burn out”. Most people can handle peak productivity for about 90 minutes, after which they will need a 20-minute break for a less intense task. *****
During the workday:
- Stand up and stretch every hour.
- Roll your head, roll your shoulders back and forth.
- Blink many times to reset/refresh the neurons in your brain.***
- Stay hydrated – water must be included as a beverage (tea, water with fruit, seltzer etc.).
- Create a dedicated “office” space – your own place to stay focused.
- Use a comfortable chair and proper posture – perhaps invest in a lumbar chair support or switching to sitting on a yoga ball throughout the day.
- Get your family involved – explain to all household members why and what it means to work from home.
- Create boundaries of what it means to have an “Office” at home.
- Create a schedule for your children who attend school virtually.
- Schedule time to have breakfast and/or snack with them during each day… School is their “workday.”
- Schedule time to take the dog outside (which provides yourself a mental and physical break) 2-3 times during your 8-hour period.
- Take advantage of these moments of down time during the busy workday; take deep breaths, walk briskly to circulate your blood to revitalize your muscles and shut work off in your head to declutter your brain.
- Do Not put the TV on for background ambiance.
- Do not eat lunch sitting at your desk!
- Do not do laundry or other household chores during business hours.
In 2001, I was a member of an educational support group for the women working from home. We met for lunch once a month a local restaurant. Each member worked for a different company. We discovered through the luncheons we were experiencing common problems, each month a different woman was the guest speaker on a topic/situation many of us faced... This group was amazing and the skills I learned “back in the day” have become the foundation for working at home success.
We are starting a “Corcentric Virtual Lunch Bunch”. This group does not promote or sell business services. The focus revolves around work at home topics/challenges and how to overcome them.
If you would like information, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) – all are welcome to attend and/or be a guest speaker on a topic related to working remotely.
*CNBC.com 3/31/2020 on-line - transcript of interview with Julie Morgenstern
**Published on-line by Moneycrashers.com, written for Fast Money Magazine
***Research completed by Vanderbilt University Psychologists published that when we blink it is a shift in our attention and breaks the activity of the neurons in the visual cortex of our brain.
**** According to Rover.com - 54% said they feel less anxious because they have their pet with them. Two-thirds said they feel happier working from home because they have the company of their pet. Most pet parents (70%) said working from home helps them get more exercise by walking or playing with their pet.