It’s funny, when I wrote my first blog post the US was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13th mission to the moon. As luck would have it, as of today two different startup companies have made their first ever civilian space flights. Hopefully my granddaughter’s generation will bear witness to the commercialization of space travel by the masses in their lifetime. This too will change the landscape of the workplace for all those in the space travel industry.
Once in a generation, if that, we have the opportunity to reimagine how we work. In the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution moved many in Europe and the United States from fields to factories. In the 1940s, World War II brought women into the workforce at unprecedented rates. In the 1990s, the explosion of PCs and email drove a rapid increase in productivity and the speed of decision making, ushering in the digital age as we know it today. And in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic drove employees out of offices to work from home. Thanks to the development and wide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, 2021 presents another such opportunity. The return to the workplace is a chance to create a new, more effective operating model that works for companies and people navigating a world of increasing uncertainty. There is, however, one big catch: employers must confront the broadening disconnect between how they and their employees see the future.
Companies risk alienating their employees and even losing them if they refuse to acknowledge the disconnect between how employers and their workers see the future. Employers want to reestablish normality by bringing workers back to the office; employees want far more work-from-home. For employers, the risks are high; recent surveys found that 40 percent of workers globally are considering leaving their current employers by the end of the year. Companies must acknowledge that figuring out a hybrid working model will be a long-term project and require a significant period of testing and learning.
Everyone knows how to do their jobs in an office setting so during this blog I will be focusing on those employees who are new to working remotely and I will be sharing some tips to that effect. Now this is something I have a bit of experience in since my job for the last 23 years requires me to travel quite a bit, and I feel I have some expertise and wisdom I can share on this topic.
Tip 1: Try to maintain the same morning routine as if you were going to the office
Following your normal morning routine will help trigger your brain into work mode. In my case I wake up, shower, get dressed have breakfast drive toward the office, maybe stop at a local restaurant to buy a Cuban Coffee to go, and then continue to the office. Once in the office I check to see if I have any pressing emails that I must respond to right away and after that I read the local and global news online. I am usually at my desk forty-five minutes to an hour before we are open for business depending on the traffic. Obviously, your commute might take you 30 seconds when working from home, but it is very important to do everything else you normally do every day you go into the office, especially getting dress. If you are in your pj’s all day, it feels like a weekend or staycation. Once you dress yourself there is a purpose to do something, which in this case is to work from home.
Tip 2: Designate a place in your home where you will conduct your work and call it your home office.
Again, the goal here is to trigger your brain into work mode. In my case, I have a built-in office in my home. Once I am in the office the rest of my family knows that I am working and for the most part they don’t want to bother me. I understand it’s difficult for children to respect the office boundary, but the interruptions are far and few in between when you have a designated work area.
Tip 3: Make a to do list
A simple to do list can do wonders for keeping you organized, motivated and productive as you work from home. Make sure to write out or type your list instead of having it in your head. This once again will help you stay focused and on track. When working on your list make sure to include large goals and go checking off all the smaller goals. This will make sure you stay positive and will also reinforce your work throughout the day.
Tip 4: Schedule everything
Try and maintain the same schedule you keep at work. If you normally have lunch at noon, make sure you still eat at noon. Also make sure to block out some personal time as well. Have a coffee break or step away from the office for short period of time. In my current situation during the peak of Covid I was taking care of my granddaughter 3-4 times a week since her daycare had closed. I want to keep some sort of normalcy in her schedule as well. Even though she is only five years old I gave her small assignments to keep her busy while I was tending to my office work. Same goes for those of you who have older children who are being home schooled now. You want to make sure they are keeping up with their education, so spending time looking over their work or helping them learn something will give you a small break from your work and the ability to overcome a problem that you might be having difficulty with by stepping away for a bit. This will usually give you a fresh perspective on the issue at hand.
Tip 5: Socialize with colleagues.
One of the main ways people socialize at work when they are working from home is via a business messaging apps or apps like Zoom. The only problem is that these apps can provide too much opportunity for socializing, so it’s important to monitor yourself accordingly. Another easy way is to just pick up the phone and call a colleague, talk about work or discuss a problem or just chit chat about anything. This will give you an opportunity to disconnect for a few minutes so you can refocus at the task at hand.
Tip 6: Don’t be too hard on yourself
The most successful remote employees have a reputation for being extremely disciplined. After all, it takes serious focus to do any full-time office job from an unconventional space. That said, everyone lets their attention drift sometimes. If you find yourself working one minute and booking flights for your upcoming vacation the next, don't reprimand yourself too harshly. Instead, ask yourself whether people in an office setting do the same thing. If the answer is yes, cut yourself some slack, then get back to work.
Tip 7: End your day with a routine
Just as you should start your day with a routine, create a habit that signals the close of the workday. It might be a sign off on a business messaging app, an evening dog walk, or a 6 p.m. yoga class. Something as simple as shutting down your computer and turning on a favorite podcast will do. Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours.
I hope these tips are helpful. Also drop me a line or give me a call and let me know any tips you might have to get you through your workday at home. Stay safe everyone.
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