Is it possible for time to go by in slow-mo and lighting speed? That’s what the past 12 months have felt like. Baking sourdough feel like just yesterday, while binge watching tiger tamer reality TV feels like eons ago.
One thing that many of us have grown accustomed to throughout this pandemic is staying at home. From date nights, happy hours, movie premiers, and so on, we’ve managed to adapt and create a social circle around our digital screens. Our work lives weren't an exception either. Many of us began working from home, and likely still are.
The majority of us have grown accustomed to working from home, while many of us have been working remotely voluntarily for years. If remote work is the new norm, we want to share a few of our tips and tricks we’ve learnt over these past few months.
Remote work is the new norm and it's likely here to stay
As people stay home to help stop the spread of Covid-19, remote work has dramatically increased and is the new normal. According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, 82% of Canada’s employees worked externally prior to the pandemic. During the midst of the lockdown, only 27% of employees worked externally, while 59% of employees work remotely at home. Many of us are still working from home and some of us have even grown to prefer it.
Remote working positions aren’t a new phenomenon, in fact they’ve been around for quite some time. Working from home had always seemed unappealing to either the project manager, boss, or the employee. Today, it's a completely normalized situation. That leads us to ask: is working from home now preferable to office work? It’s definitely up to one's own tastes, but comparing how we felt about WFH last march to now, it doesn't seem all that bad.
Benefits of working from home
Working from home could be a possible tool in reducing overhead costs such as rental fees; commute time and transit costs; increased efficiency; freedom of working wherever you please, such as working while abroad, in a coffee shop or in your bed; and so on. Could these benefits push employers to increase remote positions? Would you consider continuing remote work if you had the option?
Pitfalls of working from home
We’ve all experienced them. Working from home can be lonely, stressful and decrease motivation. Humans are naturally social and collaborative beings, and it definitely feels different connecting through a screen. Remote working can also lead to over working and many end up putting in more hours than they would typically at the office.
If working from home is here to stay, we need to get it right.
Managing remote teams: best practices & motivation
As many businesses and corporations were pushed into remote production, managers and leaders were thrown into the position of figuring things out for themselves while needing to lead teams who were just as lost. Met with the same pitfalls that any remote worker might encounter, managers must also support their employees in the new(ish) remote environment.
Here are a few tips on how to boost productivity and motivation in a remote team:
Set common & interdependent goals.Creating shared goals and task structures that are interdependent will foster motivation and productivity. Interdependent tasks increase efficient work and build accountability. Personal contributions and individual tasks bring the team closer to fulfilling their common goal.
Keep communication open and frequent.Communication should be both structured and free flowing. Consider having scheduled video calls for status updates and goal setting, while using Slack for casual communication and daily collaboration.
Build trust.It’s the difference between a good leader and a strict boss figure. It’s important to continue building trust and relationships with employees, especially during times of uncertainty and change.
Create opportunities for socialization.Not only will this decrease the feelings of isolation and loneliness, it will help build steady relationships between employees, boost motivation and strengthen team spirit. In these times, small talk can make a big difference. Open up the floor and begin meetings with a few moments of casual conversation. To go the extra mile, consider organizing a monthly social event such as happy hour cocktails or a group online experience/class. Work hard and play hard as a team!
Remote Work- Tips on How to Stay Motivated
The #WFH movement has grown significantly throughout the lockdown. Here are a few tips on boosting motivation we’ve learnt from these past 12 months:
Create a routine.Start your work days similarly to how you once did. Create a ritual or routine that will get you into the right mindset. It can be as simple as grabbing a latte from a local cafe before you begin the day; walking your dog; dedicating 15 minutes to physical exercise; you name it, it might just help.
Get dressed.“All dressed up with nowhere to go” is a line we’ve become all too familiar with, but the power of dress really makes an impact. It would be a blatant lie if we claimed that we got dressed up to WFH everyday this year, but on the days that we do, we definitely feel a positive difference. Getting dressed as we typically would for a day out at work boosts confidence, energy, and motivation.
Make lists and keep an agenda.Writing a list of daily or weekly tasks to complete keeps you accountable and organized. Plus there’s nothing more exhilarating than checking tasks off from your daily agenda - is that an embarrassing statement? Maybe. But we’re not kidding!
Schedule breaks for yourself.Give yourself a few mini breaks throughout the day and try taking the same lunch hour you used to while at the office. Seriously, stop skipping lunch! Feel free to schedule in a few mini dance breaks while you're at it.
Create a workspace.It's okay to be guilty of it from time to time, but working from bed might not be doing you any favours. According to Healthline, working while in bed decreases sleep quality, energy levels, hygiene, relationships and productivity. Where do you work from home?
Don’t over work yourself.Remote positions often blur the lines between work and home, leading to overtime and added stress. If you worked a 9-5, use that timeline. Set a time where you log off for the night.
Photos by Unsplash: Charles Deluvio (@charlesdeluvio) & Helena Lopez (@wildlittlethingsphoto)
How have you been staying motivated throughout the lockdown and remote working conditions?
Keep your chin up and stay positive. We’re in this together!