Almost everyone has been impacted in some way by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). No industry has been spared. Either you are working more than you have ever worked, you are not working at all, or you are working with kids at home; I could go on and on. The bottom line is a large majority of us have a new normal and that new normal is blending work, family, and life in general in the same space.
If you have been working on Agile teams or within the IT industry you are most likely familiar with the concept. There are also other industries like the Pharmaceutical industry that are pros at WFH. But this blog is for the accountants, attorneys, manufacturers, government agencies and other professionals that have thrived in a brick and mortar eco-system for decades. If this describes you, then I’m speaking directly to you.
Many of you have had no choice but to transition from your office or cubicle to your home office or kitchen table. Some of you may welcome the change and are enjoying the “freedom” that comes with working from home and some of you want to throw your laptop out the living room window! I hear you and I think I can offer a few tips that may help you manage to work from home.
Six Tips to Boost Your Productivity in a Remote Environment
1. Have a set schedule. Establish a clear start time and a firm end time
2. Find a dedicated space to work, if you don’t already have a home office
3. Stay connected. Maintain human interaction by using a collaboration tool like Teams, Slack, Workzone, Whatsapp, Flockdock, Chanty among other tools. Use your camera as much as possible. When you were at the water cooler in the office, weren’t you looking at the person talking to you? Please use your camera as much as possible.
4. Create a working agreement with your team so that you are on the same page when it comes to working from home guidelines
5. Have a daily check-in with your teams. At least once a day, but ideally at the start of the day and toward the end of the day
6. Develop the right mindset – transparency, trust, empathy, no-guilt, positivity. Remember that every great success requires some kind of struggle:
a. Some of your co-workers may have two-legged or four-legged children at home OR BOTH! Be empathetic to your workers that are also serving as a teacher, pet-sitters, the lunch lady, in-school detention office, school nurse . . . I think you get my point
b. One of my favorite Agile principles says in part . . . give them the environment and support they need and TRUST that they will get it done
c. Don’t feel guilty and work to the wee hours of the morning because you want to “prove” that you are truly working. Your eyes and your brain need a digital break!
d. Mind your mental health! Laughter is good for the soul. Watch funny videos on social media. Catch a virtual music party on Instagram. Find encouraging affirmations to surround your workspace. Open the blinds and let the beautiful natural light flood into your home
Last but certainly not least, stay encouraged. This too shall pass. Before long we will be catching up at the water-cooler and having lunch together!