Once viewed with skepticism, working from home has gained momentum in recent years as technology evolves to provide greater flexibility and access to a larger talent pool. These days, however, working from home has gone from a convenient option to a crucial necessity.
With COVID-19 wreaking havoc, companies are scrambling to ensure business continuity. Many companies have been forced to shift to a remote work model to keep employees safe and keep business moving.
For some, working from home is a familiar arrangement. But others may be struggling to manage the transition. Here are some tips for staying productive while working remotely.
Claim your workspace
At home, distractions are abundant. That pile of dirty dishes, closets that need rearranging, yards that are begging for attention. Having a dedicated workspace at home is foundational to minimizing distractions. Once you’ve designated the “professional” area of your home, it will be much easier to focus on your work. Keeping that space clean and organized also helps to minimize distractions.
Don’t throw out your schedule
Maintaining a regular schedule is the key to being productive and reducing stress and anxiety in an uncertain time. You’ll likely miss the face-to-face collaboration that occurs in an office setting. Scheduling time to connect with teammates is another helpful practice that keeps work flowing, facilitates prioritization of important projects and helps chase away feelings of loneliness.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
One of the drawbacks to working from home is the lost opportunities for quick huddles with teammates. Resist the natural tendency to communicate less frequently—communication should increase in a remote working arrangement. Do not assume your team, or even your supervisor, knows what you are working on day to day. Additionally, your supervisor may not be accustomed to managing remote workers. Regular updates not only help the team move forward, they also ensure that you are aligned on priorities, which can change within hours.
Focus on deliverables
Plenty of managers are concerned about remaining productive outside of a traditional office. Fortunately, there is an easy fix – execute your deliverables. Stick to the schedule that you’ve established based on the needs of your company and team. Communicate frequently on progress and ask questions. Share your progress with your supervisor and team. Encourage and be receptive to feedback. If you have an idea that helps move the team forward, take the initiative to execute on that idea.
Plan for the future
With news about COVID-19 changing daily, it can be hard to focus on the future. However, taking some time each day to plan for longer term goals can be helpful both personally and professionally. It gives you something to look forward to and strive for and helps alleviate daily stress. Some ideas include learning about something new to help your team or to advance your career, laying the groundwork for a long-term project or writing a thought leadership piece about a timely subject.
An established self-care ritual can boost your productivity and overall mental health. For some, continuing with the same morning routine they had before they began working from home establishes a sense of continuity and more easily shifts the mind from home to work.
Just like many of you, Daszkal Bolton has tackled the challenge of moving employees to a remote work model. Our advisors are poised to help others during this time of uncertainty.
Henry Martin is a Director in the Audit & Accounting Services Department, and the Head of our Technology Industry Group.