Even before the pandemic hit, technology was enabling more people to work remotely. Colleagues from around the world and different time zones could connect in one meeting via platforms such as WebEx, Zoom and Skype.
Now, with coronavirus affecting our way of life, working remotely is fast becoming the norm, especially working from home. While it offers various benefits, it also comes with certain challenges. To help deal with some of the obstacles and distractions, here are five suggestions for staying focused in this new work environment:
1. Write down your daily goals
Before you shut down the computer for the day, make a list for the goals you want to accomplish tomorrow. Having a daily “to-do” list can help combat distractions in this new work environment. As you finish each task, make sure to cross it off your list. This way, you can stay focused and motivated to complete what needs to get done. Writing down what you want to accomplish also helps give you a sense of direction.
2. Try ergonomic exercises
While you may be used to the comforts of home, it can require time to acclimate to a home office. For those who have had to carve out a workspace quickly to adapt to our new working conditions, you may still be adjusting to its feel. Things such as the chair, desk, keyboard or wrist pad probably feel different from those you use in your traditional office setting. Subsequently, your body may tense or stiffen, often without you even realizing it.
Therefore, try to incorporate ergonomic exercises into your day, if possible and where appropriate. Examples include:
- Shoulder rolls
- Wrist rolls
- Hand stretches
- Hand grips (squeezing a stress ball or hand grip)
These easy exercises — along with other simple arm and leg stretches, and short walks — can help get your blood flowing and keep your body relaxed. The more comfortable and tension-free you feel, the more likely you can stay focused on your work.
3. Personalize your work environment
If your work requires you to be away from familiar settings for any substantial length of time, try to personalize your workspace. Whether you display a photo of a loved one, a small piece of art or even a favorite mug, having something familiar nearby to glance at throughout the day can be calming and motivating.
4. Stay in touch with co-workers
In an office, it’s easy to casually drop by a colleague’s desk to ask a question, seek an opinion or confer on an assignment. Being able to work in proximity of your colleagues also helps you stay focused as you are likely working toward the same or similar goals under the same circumstances.
In lieu of in-person interaction, it’s important to keep in touch with others via email, instant message or phone. Be thoughtful about when, how long and how often to contact them. You want to be considerate of everyone’s time. It might be a good idea to establish regular check-ins with those individuals you work with most closely.
Not only will this keep everyone updated on a mutual project’s progress, but it’s a good reminder that you are not working alone in a vacuum.
5. Stick to your regular work routine
As challenging as it may seem at times, try to stick to a regular work routine. This means starting and finishing work at roughly the same times each day, as well as taking a break for lunch. Continue doing the same activities you would normally do if you were at the office. For example, if you like to go for a walk outside during lunch, continue to do so while working remotely. If you take a snack break during the day, continue doing that as well. Maintaining your usual routine as much as possible will help you create a sense of stability, keeping you focused on what is most important: the work.
Source: ComPsych Corp.