With the onset of Coronavirus, the past 4 weeks have transformed modern society into a virtual global community. Due to the advances of contemporary technology virtual workforce collaboration and social media socialization are now a new reality that the modern workforce and humanity are embracing. Staying in is the new going out and working from home is the new normal.
So now you have to work at home and are faced with the new stark reality. Soon you may realize that you miss the in-office meetings, onsite client meetings, and much of the camaraderie that a dynamic and engaging corporate culture can provide such as Friday Happy Hour, Monday morning office chatter regarding the latest business news, sports scores or the scoop on the latest hot TV series that everyone is talking about. I have been a remote employee Pre-COVID-19 and have experienced the transition from working in office environments for years to working virtually.
There are many pros and cons to working virtually and I’ve outlined a few tips that may make your transition to remote work easier.
Rest, Exercise, and Eating Healthy
I’ve found that getting a good walk or jog before or after the workday is a great way to break up the workday. To avoid cabin fever from COVID-19 isolation and social distancing, a lunchtime walk break is a great way to calm the nerves and maintain productivity for the day. Yoga can also be a fantastic way to avoid stress.
Find a Quiet Place to Focus
Finding a quiet, uncluttered workspace is key towards eliminating distractions. My experience working at home in an urban environment where noise from the street such from traffic, fire trucks, and sirens can permeate the surroundings made me greatly appreciate noise-cancelling headphones and white noise machines.
Meditation & Mindfulness, Music, and Apps
It’s important to maintain a consistent life/work balance. Anxiety can often creep up from time to time. Understandably the current conditions brought on from the Coronavirus epidemic have likely exacerbated anxiety in many virtual workers. In addition to practicing social distancing, mindfulness and meditation are great for achieving calm and focus. Meditation music at 528 HZ, 852 HZ in addition to Classical, Downtempo and ambient genres are great for maintaining calm and staying focus. I personally like the Calm app for my iPhone. Calm is rated the #1 app for sleep and meditation and I use it on a pretty regular basis.
Pace Your Workday + Routine
The last thing you want to do is burn out. Keep a daily schedule and prioritize. What helps me is my iPhone alarm clock, my scheduler, and to keep a regular routine.
Although you don’t have to wake up earlier for a daily commute to the office, it’s probably not a good idea to set your alarm to wake up a half an hour before the daily team synch call.
Stay Connected to Your Teammates
The biggest difference I noticed when I started working remote and not being in an office was the inability to get direct live contact with my contacts. Gone were the days of walking to a colleague’s office to ask a question or stopping by your coworker’s cube a short walk away. Although the vis-vis approach of engaging clients and colleagues wasn’t available, excellent collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams for web and mobile users have made collaboration easy, effective and efficient!
Stay Social Virtually with Friends and Family in Off-Hours After Work
In the current age of CoronaVirus, you can’t meet most of your friends and colleagues out and about socially. Many great social Media mediums, like Instagram and Facebook, or Facetime can help you stay connected for fun and easygoing moments in light of external stressors. I make a point to stay in contact with my friends and family via facetime, Facebook, Skype, Instagram on a regular basis.
Wardrobe & Routine
In the past, you were used to donning the right attire for the office that day whether it be a formal suit for a high-level client meeting, corporate casual Friday,s or a sweater for the annual Tacky Holiday Sweater themed office party. Now, you have the flexibility to wear whatever you want and don’t have a commute. It can be tempting to work the whole day in your sweatpants, slipper, and T-shirt. I’ve found through experience that I’m more productive and tuned in to work when I dress as if I’m the office, at the meeting, client site, event, etc.
These are some of the tips that have helped me through my transition as I was joining the remote workforce and hope these can help some of you out there as well.