This is a fantastic time to begin to truly understand what it means to work remotely. In the spaces we all occupy today, so much can go unnoticed. Working remotely is a commitment in itself to begin to create and develop the aptitude to be completely disciplined in your focus, but it is also a chance for many to increase their productivity, sometimes in double digit numbers. Remote working has been proven time after time to not only create flexibility and a work-life balance for those who choose to optimize its benefits, but also to spike quality productivity at its finest.
Alright, alright, alright, but what about the other effects? You know, like where you hop online at 6 or 7 or 8 a.m. because that’s the time you normally wake up to drive to work and start to feel good about being online so early. You grab a cup of coffee or tea, take your laptop to your office or your favorite spot in your house, maybe even a spot you use to hide from the kids, pop your laptop open and begin cracking away. All of a sudden, you look at the time and it is 2 p.m., and you start to wonder where your day went and what you’ve been doing. For some of us tasked with managing the business effects of the mandate to work virtually, suddenly it’s sundown and your cup of iced water has melted into a room-temperature puddle. There’s also the feeling of isolation that you get knowing that your form of interaction with people has now changed to mostly hearing their voices and on occasion seeing an image of their faces while video is on during a conversation. Or perhaps the 3 to 5 minutes you have in between meetings to run to the restroom or simply catch up with a co-worker you haven’t seen a while.
Understanding the effects of remote working go much deeper than what we can physically see. We are wired and fueled by human interaction, and when our ability to communicate is drastically changed it can be hard to begin managing the effect of this on our business, our psyche, and our morale. So! Enough complaining, I understand, I get it, as a leader who manages a large number of remote workers and clients, I understand all too well what it is like to work remotely. So, what do we do Jacob? How do we manage the good and the bad, and keep ourselves sane enough to interact with our families at the end of the day?
- Designated workspaces. While we spend a fair amount of our lives at work, going into an office for many is an opportunity to leave the worries and stressors of work at work. Ensuring you have a space in your home that is purely designated for working will ensure you are still able to do just that after a long and hectic day.
- Physical activity. But, but, but, COVID-19! I know, I know, limit your exposure as much as you can but this doesn’t mean lock yourself in a basement and hope for the best. Take a walk around your neighborhood, invest in some dumbbells, skipping ropes, play with your children, get into gardening, do something that will allow you to actively work with your hands and requires little to no brain stimulation.
- Schedule chat times. This is something that has really helped me ensure that I take little breaks through the day. With a few of my teams I have a standing daily 30–45 minute chat, where we spend most of that time talking about how things are going, what our plans are, and just use the time and opportunity to catch up.
- Institute mindfulness before meetings. The importance of mindfulness is at its height right now, as the world around us spirals into chaos we must remember to breathe. As a leader on a call I participated in recently put it, “everyone should take a few minutes and just breathe.”
For anyone working remotely, understanding that this often comes with feelings of isolation, frustration, and most times back-to-back meetings, will allow for an effective and out-of-the-box approach to creating alternate practices. Above all, while we seek to understand the world and times we live in right now, let’s commit to staying strong together, building a community of support for each other, and remembering that we are all – just – people.
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