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The new normal. How to stay productive while working from home

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
not the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

 Charles Darwin

It takes a lot of emotional energy to accept the impossibility of changing the situation we find ourselves in. But if one looks beyond those thoughts, one can see how quickly the world around us and our perceptions are changing.

It’s time to let go of our definition of normal. For many, remote work no longer seems unrealistic. The underlying problems associated with remote work are more likely to be caused by psychological factors than by real problems. People need to  overcome the idea that working remotely is uncomfortable or unusual, that there’s no human contact, the day is endless, housework is distracting, and so on. All these problems are only inside people’s minds. It is very important to work on your own feelings and attitude towards the situation.

COVID-19 presents an opportunity to work remotely and prove how successful and sustainable remote work can be. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to get past that barrier and understand that you can actually work more efficiently, not wasting time on getting to the office.

But remember:  Remote works work well only when it is organized well!

The most common mistakes during remote work:

  • Doing everything the same way as in the office, only online.
  • Mixing work and household duties – the entire remote experience is more effective and productive when everyone has healthy boundaries about work. ( Balancing your work life and home life might be more challenging now because your family is also home 24/7)
  • Overworking – when your home becomes your office, it’s far too easy to feel that all the time is work time. just because you happen to be at home during working hours, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a life. There will be times when it’s okay to turn off Slack and turn on your out-of-office message. Set up good personal habits, like getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, going outside often (if you can safely do so), eating a healthy diet, and making time for hobbies, relaxation, and connecting with family and friends.
  • Locking yourself – there is a certain connection you get from being around others and that disappears completely when you’re working remotely. Not participating in the entertainment and in the general cultural events of the company can lead to feelings of isolation. The mistake is to consider that it is enough to spend time with your co-workers only on work-related issues and that you should not waste time on coffee breaks and small talks.

What works:

  • Stay connected – check messages in all communication channels regularly so that there is no feeling that the person is not at work.
  • Respond quickly to messages and emails.
  • Block off times – Keep your calendar relevant and open to colleagues. Plan time for communication, for work, and for personal things! Put blockers – for lunch, for the time when you need to concentrate on a task, for checking homework with a child, etc. Let everyone know that you are busy at this moment and don’t want to be distracted.
  • Stick to your schedule.
  • Communicating via video – Facetime with your coworkers is incredibly important for maintaining team morale and productivity. Video transmits a lot of emotion. Make a rule – only those with video on can speak during meetings. If you just listen – okay, but if you want to say something – you should be seen. Facial e gestures tell a lot. Use a virtual background, if you don’t feel comfortable in your home environment. Display your favorite place and attend the meeting while you’re “working on the beach.”
  • Workspace where you can focus on your jobHaving a separate space for work is super important. Try to isolate yourself from what is bothering you. If you don’t have a separate workingroom, at least – put on soundproof headphones to be focused and productive.

What does not work:

–  Continuously switching from one thing to another – turn off notifications at a time when you are focusing on something. You should manage your time, not Telegram, Whatsapp and other messaging apps with constant notifications. If you don’t turn them off, you won’t be as productive.

When you are in the middle of an online meeting, it’s easy to fall into other work and not really pay attention to the conversation – it’s like looking at your phone throughout a meeting.

  • Trying to combine work with something else. Since we are at home, it’s easy to get distracted and go clean something up in the apartment, house,
  • Long virtual meetings. When you have physical meetings, we need time to get to the meeting place. If you need to spend an hour in traffic, then there’s no reason to get together for just 10-15 minutes. There are no traffic jams online, so you don’t need to follow the standard that if an appointment was made, then it should last an hour. No! Better to have short but meaningful meetings!
  • Being late It is important not to be late – when working from home, there can be no excuses. Everyone can start on time.

Remote work is a new reality, not a temporary condition. The coronavirus is the best motivation for digital transformation. Resilience, creativity, and hard work are always the keys to long-term success. We cannot predict what the consequences of COVID-19 will look like, or how long this period of uncertainty will last. There will be tough time and revenues will decrease, but at the end of the day, we will all get through this together, and emerge stronger and more agile than before.

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