28 Remote Workers Share Tips on Working From Home During Coronavirus Outbreak
23 Seasoned And 5 Seasonal Remote Workers From A Variety Of Fields Share Their Practical Working From Home TIPS To Make Your Office To Home Working Transition More Productive And Mangable During The Recent Coronavirus Outbreak.
COVID-19 has rendered the world home-bound. Unfortunately, a big chunk of the world’s population has gone jobless on account of this Pandemic. As for the rest, they make a living, working from home.
But remote working does come with its downside, especially if you are not used to this mode of working. As a matter of fact, if you are doing it for the first time during COVID-19 Pandemic, you can easily fit yourself in one or more of the following categories:
- You might have been feeling overwhelmed and stressed out because of the Pandemic. On the other hand, being clueless about how to manage work is a dangling possibility.
- The communication lapse might be niggling you and affecting your work progress.
- The social distance you are not in the habit of must be feeling creepy.
- You are finding it hard to track time and tasks.
- As if that’s all not enough, you’d be hit by the feeling of total lack of productivity.
- This follows the fear of losing the job and seeing no way to meet the expenses; read *more stress*.
- With so much unfinished work, all this lethargy, chaos, and nothing up your sleeves to handle the situation, you can’t decide the more dangerous of the two, coronavirus or remote working!
However, no matter how common these feelings get, there’s always a solution.
For a fact, trying never hurts no matter how incompetent you consider yourself as a remote worker.
Well, that explains why everyone around you is talking about coronavirus.
In fact, this sneak-peek into an inbox might seem familiar to most of you:
What do Big Names say on COVID-19?
The Grammar girl sent an interesting read on the naming convention of diseases. You might like to read Mignon Fogarty here.
Lead Pages has compiled some online resources to help businesses thrive through the time of crisis.
And here’s a chunk of Ramit Sethi’s email sharing some inspirational tips to keep life going – at it’s best.
None of them appear hopeless. Everyone is trying – trying to get through this hard time and support others around do the same!
And that’s the way it should go; life must go on!
So, to help you devise a plan and try to be productive managing work from home, we made a little effort to get you tips that could change this scene to serene!
In the face of adversity, let’s try to brew prosperity.
Working From Home Productively
Tips From Seasoned Remote Workers
We reached out to many experts – who have been nailing it working from home – for their pro tips. Here are some of the responses we got.
Here’re the tips the marketing veteran dedicates to the “knowledge workers, i.e., all of us who have to be resourceful and produce creative solutions to complex problems on a daily basis”:
Elimination or limit unnecessary distractions
Remove the things that are not related to work. For example, I put my phone away and check it only every 3 hours. I don’t go on Facebook before 6 pm, that is when my work finishes.
Limit and schedule the necessary distractions
Email and corporate messengers can shred your concentration and your day into tiny pieces.
That’s why I check my email only every 3 hours, team chat – every 2 hours and disable notifications.
This can be difficult to get used to for you and your coworkers (who may expect instant responses from you), but it pays to do it!
Have active breaks
Try working out in the middle of the day to avoid afternoon energy plummets.
Sneak in small workouts in-between your in-depth work sessions to reload your mind and regain sharpness.
The best part?
She’s been nailing it at work with THREE KIDS around her. Also, she claims to have been saving loads on childcare costs, working flexibly around her kid’s needs.
Needed more inspiration today? Hear her out:
Ensure appropriate support to your employees
- Guide what is a safe home office environment
- Require workers to familiarise themselves and comply with good ergonomic practices, for example, by referring to a self-assessment checklist.
- Maintain daily communication with workers. Appoint a contact person in the business that workers can talk to about any concerns.
- Provide continued access to an employee assistance program.
She is one of a kind example for the various field workers who have always considered remote working in their field a taboo.
She says, “Traditionally, counselors and their clients have been hesitant to take services online, fearing a loss of rapport when not meeting face to face. This Pandemic has challenged us to be more creative in providing services to people who have difficulties traveling, such as people with disabilities or non-traditional jobs and schedules.”
Here’re her tips on staying home and work management:
Take it easy
If you find it difficult to adjust to remote working, don’t be too hard on yourself. This will only cause more stress, frustration, and avoidance.
Take regular, short breaks to move your body
Something as simple as standing up and stretching or wiggling for 60 seconds will help your nervous system settle and your brain to refocus.
Maintain a routine as much as possible
It doesn’t have to be the same routine as you usually have, but humans thrive on structure. This also means finishing work at a set time, so your work and personal life don’t bleed into one.
Here is what the NetBookNews‘ representative shares with managers and business leaders:
Use multiple project management software
It’s hard to keep track of your employees when you aren’t there personally to check on them. So you should use programs like Asana and Hubstaff so that you can tell if your employees are working and not slacking off.
Here is Venessa’s advice for better productivity, working from home:
Create your own timings!
Who says you have to work 9-5 pm? Talk with your boss and team and work out a schedule that works best for you.
If you have kids, it will be hard to keep them ‘quiet’ all day. Maybe it’s better to work a split shift so you can work in the mornings and evenings when the kids are relaxed or have gone to bed.
She has quite an interesting view on improving productivity. She says:
Implement the Pomodoro Technique
Batch small tasks or project bites into 15-minute blocks, set the kitchen timer, and get stuff done. Take a 5-minute break and do it all again.
This reduces the overwhelm, and a ticking clock can help get some adrenaline running too.
As for the tip, he says:
Focus on Focusing
Get a high-quality set of noise-canceling headsets and listen to classical music as this creates intense focus and will go a long way towards reducing distractions.
He has also compiled a list of professionals that can conveniently work from home without compromising productivity.
Here’s what Barbara advises the remote workers:
Have a dedicated space that is your zone
If you need to use the dining room table, have a kit that you pack and unpack with your necessary resources.
To create your zone in shared space, use a headset to play your favorite Spotify track.
Ensure you are tracking your time so that domestic distractions don’t chew into your time, blocking out your calendar time for specific tasks or projects. This includes domestic ones such as housework or exercise.
He beautifully sums up his remote-marketing experience, saying, “The only traffic I encounter is my little girls’ toys on my way to work.”
Here’re his expert tips for working at home:
Create a WORKSPACE
If you don’t already have a home-office, stake your territory and make it your own.
Have pens on hand, figure out how to connect all your chargers, and maybe put a pretty picture there, too.
Separate work and Home Space
Get comfortable with this updated setting and put yourself in the mindset, “When I’m in this place, I’m in ‘work mode’.
Conversely, when you’re not working, avoid spending too much downtime in this area.
Because you just never “hang out” at the office, do you?
This also “trains” those around you to respect that area as your place of work.
He’s a classic example of running operations successfully from home (or road as he says running his business as such). He frequently needs to run one of the businesses remotely based on the part of the world he is in at a given time.
He says, “In my opinion, generally any job or function that can be done on a computer can be done remotely except where a face to face meeting is required. The need for that is, however, very much reduced today with the access to video conferencing.”
To make this happen, he suggests:
Follow a fixed structure to your daily routine
Following a routine keeps the operations (including the starting and the ending) streamlined for you.
Tough job, nicely done!
Here’re the veteran’s tips, especially for the parents.
When you have small children to look after, it’s easy to use all the housework as an excuse not to get your business work done.
So, involve kids in all your housework to have it all done and be left with ZERO excuses to procrastinate.
Be a stickler for discipline
Tackle your biggest, hardest tasks straight away.
Don’t be tempted to fall into the trap of spending all your time on the little things (as responding to emails) and never get the big things done.
The business owner thinks, “everyone can make a smooth transition to working from home, as long as you have reliable equipment and stable internet access. Adjustments like work processes and meetings will be made, but with the right intent and practices, everyone can make the best out of it.”
To make the transition work for you, he shares his pro tip:
Eliminate all distractions
If you need to block YouTube, Netflix or social media while you work, do so. It’s not that drastic of an action.
She – like her business – has a unique take on improving productivity while working from home that she shares here:
Take three long slow deep breaths.
Anger hijacks the fight-or-flight response in our amygdala. Focusing on our breath helps calm the amygdala and our thoughts.
Deep breathing calms our nervous system and allows us to take responsibility for how we behave, which influences our productivity and, ultimately, our destiny.
As a remote content coach, she has a fantastic tip for us all:
Be present where you are!
Display your office hours in your home office/kitchen so that other people in your family know when you are available and not available. Try to avoid taking work calls or checking emails outside of these hours.
By setting time boundaries, you are also sending a message to your clients that your time is important and, therefore, valuable.
Helping people shift to remote working while maintaining wellbeing, focus, and productivity are integral parts of his job. Here’re his tips to increase remote work productivity:
Get into the right mindset
Effective remote work means using techniques such as getting dressed for work to signal to your mindset that you are transitioning into work. You then get changed at the end of the day to transition back again.
Be very clear about when you are working – your “office hours” – and when you are in “home mode”.
Use a notepad to record your “parking lot” of tasks that need to be parked for now but completed later. That allows you to maintain focus on work tasks and park the home tasks for later.
You’d also find the productivity checklist for leadership roles he compiled very useful.
Running her business Project TGL, she is a public speaker and trainer in productivity.
Choose a spot you don’t use in your relaxation time
Our brains very strongly associate particular places with particular activities (for example, you associate your bed with sleep, and the couch with watching TV).
If you have a spare dining table or a room, you can turn into a home office, that’s great! Even setting yourself up in a rarely-used armchair would improve your productivity if that’s your office spot.
The remote veteran at the audacious agency has a tip, especially for the Parents of teenagers and tweens trying to manage work remotely:
Establish ‘office hours’ with your family
It is vital to give your family a perspective of how you must be able to work without interruption.
Give them an insight into the ins and outs of your work. Explain the importance of being able to focus and be productive while working at home and explain what that means for them – income still coming in, and a relaxed parent.
Let them text you urgent queries. Share with them at the end of the day what you have achieved with their support. Let them have ownership of the outcomes.
Here’re Ayesha’s pro tips for everyone trying to adjust to the new mode of working for the first time:
Create a nice workspace for yourself
Pick a spot that is away from others where you can enter your work mode. When you leave that space for the day, you can leave your work behind.
Create a normal routine
Get dressed, make your bed, make yourself a cuppa.
Connect with others virtually
Perhaps schedule a regular virtual coffee (on Zoom or another platform) with colleagues or friends so that you feel connected with others.
Make sure you have regular breaks
Make your lunch and sit in your garden if you have one.
Here’s what she recommends to make working from home more productive for you.
Have a routine
When you work from home, it’s easy to sit down at your desk and not get up again.
Make sure to take a lunch break, get up and move around, and get outside for some fresh air if you can. You could even consider using a timer to make sure you get up every hour and move around.
Normally, you finish work and leave the office, which becomes a bit harder when you work from home. So make sure you write a to-do list for the next day, switch off your work phone, shut your laptop, and switch off.
Being a veteran working from home for the last 12 years, she has covered several tips on the subject here.
Here’s the pro tip she shared with us:
Stay productive keeping the routine
Use the time you’d typically commute to read, catch-up on the news, exercise (if you’re well enough!) catch up on personal emails.
Be productive at this time. Or make this “family morning time” where you do something together to get the day started on the right note. Keep the routine during this time.
Tegan has a fascinating practical tip on improving employees’ productivity:
Engage the team
Your staff – used to have a chat throughout the day – are likely missing that personal connection and loneliness could creep in during isolation.
Utilizing collaboration tools such as Yammer, Teams, Slack, or even just a Facebook chat group, you will be able to engage in non-work communications.
Team mental health and inclusivity possibly come down lower in the priority when companies are new at setting up the work-from-home environment. Still, it is one of the most vital pieces to keeping a disparate team together, especially during a crisis like COVID-19.
Perhaps it could be a competition, sharing riddles, jokes, memes, or games to learn more about each other.
Set the scene before you jump into work
There are so many micro-distractions when you work from home, so take 5 minutes to:
- Clear any clutter from your workspace
- Put away anything that might distract you (eg, washing or unpaid bills)
- Make yourself a coffee/tea and get a big glass of water
- Put a healthy snack nearby for when you get peckish
These little steps make it a lot easier to get into a flow state where you can concentrate on the task at hand.
Sitting from her design studio, here’s what she suggests people working on a computer:
Establish a working zone and a resting zone
Once that boundary has been blurred, it will be difficult for you to remain focused on your work, and you will find it hard to shut off work mode when it’s time to go to sleep.
Set up a work zone with an outside view or a landscape artwork. Remember to glance at it often to reduce sore eyes from looking at the computer screen.
Tips From Seasonal Remote Workers
You are not necessarily a pro at something if you are doing it for ages.
Some of the accidental remote workers are also acing it working from home for the first time. Here’re some great tips from a few such inspirational people from different fields.
The CEO works from home occasionally.
Here’s her tip for the founders/top management to make their remote work more efficient:
Have a daily phone or video meeting to connect with partners, co-founders, or other businesses to stay connected and avoid feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Prolonged isolation can hurt your productivity and motivation.
Working on her business from home, here’s what she advises the people struggling with making the switch:
Fight distractions with goal setting
When you’re in an office, it’s easy to keep focused, but at home, everyone is prone to distractions, procrastination, lacking a sense of urgency.
Having a to-do list written for the day can structure your day and comfortably finish the day knowing you’ve hit all your goals.
Take a step further after writing the to-do list and prioritize your tasks from most important to least.
Take mini-breaks to get away from the computer to give your brain a break and boost overall productivity.
Yes, he had his doubts working from home for the first time in his HR dept. They were reflected in the productivity-drop as well, as he says. But he worked his way around the situation and has a solution for us too, now.
Apply Parkinson’s law
The law says, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
Set a specific timeline for a task before starting it. If we don’t have enough time, you won’t stop procrastinating to get the work done.
Out of the experience of the whole company he represents, he says:
Take constant breaks. Just going for a walk during your lunch break can be super helpful in improving productivity.
Separate your workspace from your bedroom space
Working from the desk in my bedroom has made me feel productivity-lapse (as I feel I haven’t left my bedroom all week). Separating the workspace has an impact on the brain, resulting in better productivity.
Alexander Porter is the Head of the Copy department at Search it local. Though his transition to remote working is recent, his tip speaks volumes on how he has made it highly productive.
Here’s what he has to say:
Couple the physical shift with the mental shift
For many people, the shift from an office environment to the home environment is purely physical – that’s the first mistake.
Your mind attaches subconscious values to the places you go to.
That’s why you feel like sleeping in your bed. And it’s why you don’t feel like smashing out a 15-page report in your kitchen.
If you don’t make the mental shift, along with the physical, your productivity will flatline.
Start by creating a space that is ONLY for work. This means no checking your phone, no having the TV on in the background, no distractions.
There are endless tips and tricks to help boost productivity (take short breaks, don’t work in PJs, organize regular video meetings with your team). However, it is getting MENTALLY prepared for a day of work from home that is the first and most crucial step.
Working from home could turn out to be a big thing – rocket science – that you can’t handle or a breeze that you love as it is growing hot all around!
At the end of the day, all it ever has to be is PRODUCTIVE and MANAGEABLE, regardless of being easy or difficult. Because you are one fortunate person who got the luxury to work from home instead of the alternative – losing your job. Do better than the best you can, but before that, go easy on yourself.
You’d love this Home Office Webinar by TimeSolv if you can still digest more.
Devise a plan and get the ball rolling.
Together, we’d come out of it stronger!
Happy working from home, world! 🙂