Current uncertain circumstances with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected businesses of all sizes in all sectors across the globe and no doubt will be making history for changing the way that companies work for good. Corporate giants including Google, Amazon and Apple are all working remotely and here at Futures we’ve set up all of our consultants and team to work from home so that we can maintain business as usual (or as close to this as possible).
Here’s how to ensure you maximise productivity whilst working from home in what might feel like an unsettling time.
GET READY FOR THE DAY AHEAD
Whilst the idea of working in your pyjamas sounds tempting, it’s a no go for maintaining productivity. Getting showered and dressed each day can works wonders for your motivation levels and sets your mind set for the day ahead. Ensuring that you maintain your levels of self-hygiene is vital for your mental health. Consider dedicating a designated area in your home exclusively for remote working as this is thought to have a beneficial effect on your concentration levels. If you don’t have a home office, this could mean setting up a comfortable temporary workspace, with a table to rest your PC on and a chair that allows you to sit in an upright position which supports your posture. Aim for a space in your home which has natural lighting and a comfortable chair, in a room that’s ideally free from clutter. In a survey of 7,000 workers, 65% reported productivity increase when working from home, which could be due to having a quiet spot to zone into a workload. Seek a quiet environment away from all distractions and prepare your task list for the day.
MAINTAIN YOUR ROUTINE
Stick to your usual working hours in order to maintain a routine, logging on and off at set times. It’s helpful to have a clear structure by starting the day with a task list of everything you’d like to achieve. Ticking off a simple to-do list can help to make you feel accomplished at the end of each working day. Consider checking in with your manager at the start of each day in order to clarify what they hope to achieve from you, which will create clarity and help you stay on track. Suggesting a call at the start of each day (or even at the end of each day to discuss progress, issues and the day ahead) can ensure that you stay working at optimal productivity and maintain clear communication on tasks and projects. A clear plan for the day ahead can help you feel organised and will add structure and routine to your working day.
TIME YOUR DAY FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE
Although we do recommend working to set hours to maintain a routine, it is worth noting which hours during the day you are at your most productive. For the early birds or larks, productivity levels peak first thing on a morning, some individuals are naturally night owls and the middle birds sit in between. Whichever bird you may be, make sure you use this to your full advantage, planning the tasks requiring more brain power for when you’re at your peak.
KEEP IN TOUCH
Working from home doesn’t have to mean feeling isolated – keep in touch with your team regularly, as human contact is vital for mental wellbeing. Experts say that maintaining face to face social interactions via video calls can fight feelings of social isolation. Scheduling daily check-ins using video conference apps such as Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts can work really well for staying connected with your team. Stay social, celebrating things you normally make time for in the workplace with the rest of your team, such as birthdays, or congratulating colleagues for a job well done. This kind of positive communication can really boost morale for others and can prevent those feelings of isolation all round. However, do restrict the time you spend on your personal social media accounts in order to keep concentration levels high. Consider muting notifications and checking them at lunchtime to ensure a working mind set which is free from distraction.
Whether you are remotely working because it’s feasible for your workplace, or you are attempting to self-isolate, keeping active can pose a challenge for most. Remember to take breaks from your PC as you would in an office setting, as sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy for your body. Whilst going to your gym or swimming pool may be off the schedule for the next few weeks, it’s important to keep active, for your mind and body. Taking a daily walk or run in a quiet place outdoors can help with the cabin fever you may suffer as a consequence of remote working. It is good for your mental health being outdoors and humans need natural sunlight and fresh oxygen for healthy brain functioning. Make time to exercise at the beginning or end of your working day to add routine and break up the time spent indoors.
REMAIN CALM AND STAY POSITIVE
If you are finding it hard to stay positive amid the uncertainty, every dark cloud has a silver lining which can help to put the negative parts of your day into perspective. Look for the good in others and perform random acts of kindness, considering elderly people in your neighbourhood or giving thanks to the medical staff you may know who are working overtime to help others. Perhaps it’s time to read that book you can never seem to finish, have that declutter you can never find the time for, or do those jobs around the house you’ve been putting off. Cherish the absence of a stressful commute and enjoy that extra time in your day spent with family. For those who are in a family lockdown, now is the time to spend quality time with loved ones. Aim to close every day with an acknowledgement of something you have accomplished whether professional or personal – staying positive is the key to coping in a crisis.
We would like to reassure our clients, candidates and contractors that we have taken measures in order to minimise any impact on the service that we provide and so that we can continue to support you during these uncertain times.