No matter what your role – employee, leader, business owner – the challenge of working from home is to maintain productivity and stay just focused, and energised as you are in the office – sometimes with dogs barking, children playing in the background (especially since schools are closing), and untimely deliveries knocking at your door. Distractions aside, most of us also adopt a different mindset at home. We’re more relaxed, more family-oriented, more tempted by Netflix.
How do you continue ‘business as usual’ with the same standards and expectations (of yourself and others) when the environment around you typically puts you in a different mindset? Challenging enough in a ‘typical’ business day – but in a world seemingly gripped with ‘coronavirus chaos’ – how do you keep your mind sharp, productive, and focused – when so many around us aren’t?
Working practices built up over years have temporarily been turned on their head – so now is a time for a clear, new perspective that will not only see you through the new regime of working from home but could make you more agile and productive than ever.
The key to being equally, if not more, productive at home is structure – and maintaining connection with your peers, leaders, and employees.
Key steps that have helped improve our remote work productivity:
Communicate with confidence. Worry and uncertainty are the enemies of productivity. Business must go on, and whilst we are in challenging times, this too shall pass. Once you’ve decided how you intend to run your business through these troubled times, clearly communicate the strategy with the team, and regularly thereafter. People make up what they don’t know and with lots of troubling news in the press, knowing how your company intends to survive and thrive is key.
Commit to keeping your in-office schedule and routine while working at home, including getting up at the same time and getting dressed in office-appropriate clothes. Continuing your in-office routine helps you keep your in-office mindset.
Designate a quiet place in your house as your temporary office. Post a Do Not Disturb sign. Set some ground rules with your spouse, partner and children – remember, this is new for them too!
Keep all scheduled meetings, but move them to video-conferencing (we love Zoom). Keeping to schedule, come what may, is very grounding. There is so much we can do, when we’re determined, to maintain business as usual — even when events are anything but usual.
Adopt an abundance mindset. As challenging as the new environment can be, to be truly productive you need the right mindset. Stop for just a couple of minutes at the start of each day to consider what’s now possible as a result of the new working arrangement instead of what you’re losing out on. A subtle but potentially significant shift that could reap rewards and create new ideas that you can leverage in both the short and longer-term.
Employees unable to work – ideas for keeping them productive
If part of your business must be done in person and is temporarily shut down due to coronavirus, you can ask your employees who can’t work remotely to consider other things they can do with their time that would be of value to your business. For example, completing an online learning course, reading relevant material, watching online training videos or reviewing training documents, or setting their own personal objectives for the next 90 days.
Remember, when teams are working remotely, productivity is key. Here are some thought-provoking questions that you can ask your team to unlock ideas, insight, and value.
Clients of Engagement Multiplier can utilise our On-Demand template on this topic.
1. What one project or initiative would it be easier for you to make progress on now that you are working from home rather than in the office?
2. If you were to invest the time you were spending on travel to and from work in your personal development, reading a new book, or learning a new skill, what could you do?
3. What area of the business are you most worried about now that you are working from home?
- Interaction with colleagues
- Managing my time
- At home distractions
- Lack of energy or momentum
- Remaining connected to customers
- Connection with my manager
You don’t have to lose productivity with a remote workforce. Rather, we see it as an opportunity to think outside the box (or outside the office, as the case may be).
In closing, I believe very strongly that: “we can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can always choose our actions”. In these difficult times we hope this note helps you take action to help your business and your team.
In our next post, we’ll talk about how you can heighten performance while working remotely.
If, as a result of the challenges posed by coronavirus, you’ve adopted winning working practices that could be shared with our community, we’d love to hear from you.