Maintaining Productivity While Working in a New Environment.
This week’s guest post is written by Luke Smith. Thank you, Luke for writing this post.
Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more than 4 million people in the U.S. working from home. But, due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, millions of more people are finding themselves forced out of their traditional working environment.
According to a survey by the law firm Seyfarth, between March 12-March 16, 2020, 36% of employers were encouraging all of their employees to work from home across the country. For some people, this transition is easier than it is for others.
One of the most difficult things about changing to a new working environment is staying productive. If you’ve been forced to work at home now, what can you do to maintain your productivity? How will things change again when you can physically go back to work, and how can you adapt to both scenarios?
One of the best things you can do to make the transition to a new working environment easier is to stay mentally and physically healthy. Stress impacts productivity, so while you may not be used to working from home, it’s important to keep your stress levels low and focus on your wellbeing.
Dealing with poor mental health while on the job can reduce work performance. In these uncertain times, it can also trigger feelings of anxiety or even lead to depression. Not taking care of your mental health can also impact you physically, causing potential issues like:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory disorders
- Musculoskeletal disorders
You can take care of your mental and emotional health, even in the face of uncertainty, by understanding the things you can control and the things you can’t. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, challenging yourself to stay in the present can be helpful, as it keeps your mind from wandering over all of the “what ifs” facing our world right now.
The foundation also suggests spending some time outside, which can also help to keep you physically healthy. Staying active, taking breaks during the day, and getting outside can all boost your mood and energy levels, so you’ll have more motivation to get back to work.
If you’re used to seeing people at work every day, it can be difficult to go from having quite a bit of social interaction to having none. Data from 2018 showed that 82% of American workers surveyed would suggest that they have at least one friend in their workplace. Even if you don’t have friends at work, social interaction is important. It offers benefits like:
- A boosted immune system
- A more positive outlook
- Improved concentration
- Developing healthier habits
When you have to transition to a remote work environment, it’s easy to feel isolated. Many companies have taken advantage of technology during these trying times, using programs like Zoom, Skype, or Slack to hold virtual meetings when necessary. It’s important to continue working together not only for your own wellbeing but to stay productive.
Collaboration is an important part of any job. The ingredients of effective collaboration include:
- Using the right tools
Again, thanks to technology, it’s easier to stay connected and collaborate on your work efforts while practicing social distancing. If you find that you’re more unmotivated than usual during the workday, take some extra time to connect with one of your co-workers. Chat with them over the phone, hold a video call, or send them a quick e-mail to check-in. Staying connected with the people you’re used to seeing every day can bring back a bit of normalcy and can help to boost your productivity.
You might find that one of the major struggles in being home is separating your work from your home life. It can be tempting to sleep in every day or shuffle off to your computer wearing your pajamas and set your own hours.
Unfortunately, that isn’t effective for productivity and it will make it more difficult to go back to a traditional working environment when that time comes.
One of the best things you can do for yourself in order to stay focused is to create a working environment for yourself. Set up an office space somewhere in your home that is strictly dedicated to your job. If your family is at home with you, make sure they know that it’s your workspace and not an area to watch television, play, or do puzzles.
It’s also important to stick to your routine. If you usually get up at 6 a.m. for work, continue to get up at 6 a.m. One of the benefits of working remotely is that it allows some flexibility, but if your productivity is struggling because you’re not used to it, keeping things as normal as possible will be your best solution. Set specific hours for your workday, and don’t allow yourself to work into the night. It’s still important to have a healthy work-life balance, even when you’re working from home.
The more you can do during this strange transitional time to keep things as normal as possible, the easier it will be for you to stay productive. It will also make going back to your regular environment easier.
Set goals for yourself each day, and give yourself things to look forward to in order to stay motivated and productive while working. Remember, this is a temporary solution, and things will eventually return to normal. In the meantime, do your job to the best of your ability, make adjustments as needed, and continue to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but leadership and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.
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