For many companies, including Write2Market, working from home has become the “new normal” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While working remotely offers advantages, it also comes with many challenges such as lack of communication or having to work alongside your stir-crazy kids. Especially if you’re working remotely for the first time, it might take some trial and error to find your groove. Luckily, there are a few simple strategies that you can implement today to boost your productivity when working from home.
Choose a Workspace
There can be distractions around the house that make it difficult to concentrate, so it’s important to find a workspace that separates “home” and “work” as much as possible. If you don’t have a home office, that’s okay. You can create a workspace wherever you’d like — that might be in the kitchen or on the porch outside. Just try to avoid working in your bedroom at all costs, no matter how comfy your bed is!
Casey Stokes, a Senior Account Executive at Write2Market, says “going straight from bed to work doesn’t help you get into the right headspace. Get up, get ready for your day, go through your normal routine to ‘jumpstart’ your day and your brain.” He also suggests changing up the scenery. “Spending every day in the same spot can drive monotony and a bit of variety can help greatly.”
Another Write2Market employee, Carla Etheridge, suggests getting dressed in the morning. “My biggest piece of advice is to ‘get ready for work’ in the morning,” she said. As tempting as it is to stay in your pajamas all day, the way you dress influences your mood and productivity. I’m not saying you have to wear a business suit or heels, but put on something that makes you feel like you’re ready to tackle the day.”
Create a Schedule
Working remotely allows flexibility in your schedule, but that doesn’t mean you skip a schedule altogether. You must have some kind of structure in your day. What time of day are you most productive? When are your colleagues and clients working? These are necessary factors to consider when creating your work from home schedule. It’s also important to set boundaries with whoever you live with — whether it’s your family or roommates, they need to respect that this is your time to work (you’ll be able to binge watch Netflix with them later!).
Victoria Jackson, Account Executive at Write2Market says that creating set work hours for herself is critical in maintaining the work/life balance at home. “This also ensures that I incorporate a few breaks into my workday to get those creative juices flowing for whenever I start spinning my wheels,” Victoria said. “My best piece of advice is to get a schedule, stick to it, and don’t forget to add essential snack breaks.”
Jean-Luc Vanhulst, President at Write2Market navigates his work into ‘scheduled’ and ‘unscheduled.’ “Unscheduled are hours just responding and helping with what comes along. For my ‘scheduled time’ I like to close most browser windows, disable notifications and put on my headphones,” he said. “I listen to the Alfa Chill channel from the Focus at Will app that helps me focus.”
Meet with Your Team, Every Day
At Write2Market, we usually have standup meetings on Monday morning to discuss what’s planned for the week and reflect on what happened last week. With everyone now working from home, we’ve upped those meetings from every week to every day. Setting aside 15 minutes to share priorities for the day will not only ensure that team members stay informed but also helps keep you accountable. If your team isn’t having daily meetings, you can link up with a coworker or friend outside of your organization to be your quarantine “accountability partner.” There are several online task management platforms to help you stay on track, as well (at Write2Market, we use Trello).
The Write2Market team meets every morning on Zoom.
Paul Snyder, VP of Healthcare at Write2Market stays on top of tasks with a simple routine. “Every Friday afternoon I list the top items accomplished from the week, prepare my week ahead including the priority items and mark time on my calendar for those tasks,” Paul said. “I have been adhering to this practice for years and I can maintain it from anywhere. It supports a stress-free weekend and helps me come out of the gate running on Monday. I’m confident it contributes to consistency in productivity regardless of location.”
Communicate Like Crazy
As mentioned above, communicating with your team is critical when working from home. This means communicating with your colleagues and clients on platforms like Slack, as well as using shared documents like Google Docs to encourage project collaboration. It’s easy to feel isolated when working from home, and open communication enables the social interactions you might be missing. Do you typically go to lunch on Wednesdays with two of your coworkers? You can still keep that routine, just over a Zoom meeting.
Unplug at the End of the Day..Happy Hour Anyone?!
When you’re working from home, it can be hard to shut down and transition to the next part of your day. Have a designated activity planned that indicates that you’re shutting things down. That might mean going for a walk at 6 pm every evening or perhaps doing a virtual yoga class. At Write2Market, we’re having virtual work happy hours on Friday afternoon to kick off the weekend. It’s a great way to interact and boost morale during these uncertain times. We had fun getting to know our team members even better last week with 4 Truths and a Lie!
Finding your perfect work from home routine takes time, and it’s important to remember that what works for someone else, might not always be best for you. But, with a little bit of effort, structure, and inspiration, you can boost your productivity in no time.