Covid-19 threw us a curveball far into 2020. It has been almost nine months since people have transitioned to a work-at-home model. According to Stats Canada, approximately four in ten (38.9%) Canadian workers are in jobs that can be done remotely or from home. Stats Canada’s March 2020 Perspectives Survey Series found that as many as 39.1% of workers were teleworking during the last full week of March (Statistics Canada 2020). The Canadian labour market responded very quickly at the onset of the pandemic. It looks like remote working is a trend that is going to last. According to Review42.com, 99% of remote workers want to continue telecommuting in the future. We want to help you stay on track while working from home.
During the first couple of months, we were all in shell shock, coming to terms with the new normal and finding ways to make do while working from home. For many people working remotely is going to be a permanent gig. But it is easy to slide into bad habits that can be detrimental to your career, your health, and your relationships. Take time to take stock of what works and what doesn’t work for a successful, long-term, stay-at-home work model. Stick to the positive, and work through the negatives to ensure a productive and satisfying workday. Nothing beats checking off the to-do list before the 5 pm bell.
Benefits of working from home
- Saving time on a commute can increase your freedom to fill in the time with more positive and healthy activities.
- Although we don’t encourage wearing your work out gear (unless you are a yoga instructor), you will probably save money on your work attire budget.
- Working from home allows more focused, productive work time.
- At home, you can control the features of your home office setup.
- Being at home allows for eating healthy lunches and/or using your lunch hour to exercise, walk the dog, or have lunch with your kids if they go to school in the neighborhood.
- Reducing commuter travel is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
- Quality of life can increase as people can move to places that have more affordable housing.
Set routines & stick to them
Stay on track while working from home! It can be all too enticing to get up to bake some cookies or do the laundry, but resist the temptation and set up a regular routine. The goal is to maximize your work-life balance but maximizing your productivity.
- Establish set working hours and break times. This will help eliminate the loss of distinction between work and home time.
- Compartmentalize your day into segments. .
- If you don’t have natural light where you work, get up, and get outside a few times a day. Vitamin D is one of the best minerals for our brain health..
- Stay hydrated. Keep a beautiful carafe or mug on your desk full of water.
- Turn off your notifications when you are doing work that takes focus..
- Get into a routine where you manage your email in a way that works for you. It is human nature to continually check email, but this is unproductive when you need to be on focused work. Set expectations for your colleagues and clients.
Turn off social media accounts and texting apps. If you need to check your accounts during the day do so at coffee and lunch breaks.
Make your space a place you want to be
- Make the space your own. Your office should be a connection to yourself, your spirit and your productivity. Ensure that the space is a place you enjoy being and it reflects your personality. Key elements will help your space be a lovely, calm place to work.
- Find the best light you can. That may be natural light, or you may have to supplement with some good desk or floor lamps.
- Organize your space to suit your work habits.
- Personalize your space in moderation. Add a personal touch or some greenery (i.e. live plants). But not so you are distracted with bobbleheads and fun travel photos.
- Create some storage so that your office space is organized.
- Buy the best ergonomic chair you can afford.
- Try to segregate your workspace. Ideally, if you have a space behind closed doors that is ideal, but moveable screens, folding walls, and a good set of headphones or earplugs will also help. Another option is a sound machine set to low.
Avoid becoming a work hermit
One of the biggest downfalls with the working from home model is loneliness. We are social creatures and need our daily dose of interactions with others. It is key that you fit in some water cooler time into your weekly routine. Plan times with your workmates to catch up socially (digitally, once a week in the office, a coffee walk). Encourage your HR department to implement remote team building town halls and morale-building events that keep teams connected.
Ideally, keep your boundaries. Be disciplined on how you work in a day. We have a saying in the marketing department and that is taken from cross-fit training: AMRAP – as many reps as possible. This is our way of reminding ourselves to stay focused on the to-do lists. Create a system where your plan your week in segments based on time-sensitive work, meetings, planning, and creative.
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