Working Remotely in the New Normal: Tips on Remaining Sane & Being Productive

We're all feeling it. The stress that comes with working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. This new normal doesn't feel so normal, but there are certain things we can do to stay on course from the home office and keep ourselves both mentally healthy and productive.

According to the Harvard Business Review, drawing lines between our professional and personal lives is crucial to our mental health. Yet, for many folks in an unfamiliar work environment, they may feel they should work at all hours to demonstrate productivity, and that's not necessarily the best approach.

"Employees who feel “on” all the time are at a higher risk of burnout when working from home than if they were going to the office as usual. In the long-term, trying to squeeze in work and email responses whenever we have a few minutes to do so —during nap time, on the weekend, or by pausing a movie in the evening—is not only counterproductive but also detrimental to our well-being. We all need to find new ways—and help others do the same—to carve out non-work time and mental space."

So how can employees continue to compartmentalize their work and non-work lives, given the landscape of COVID-19?

How can we leave work at the door when we're not walking out of it to head to the office?

Here's three tips on how to avoid crashing and burning while working remotely.

1.  Maintain physical and social boundaries

Do things that indicate you are transitioning from “home you” to “work you.”  Keep your schedule as usual.  Put on your work clothes, take a morning walk instead of commuting before sitting down to your laptop.  

2.  Maintain temporal boundaries as much as possible

You might have a whole new host of responsibilities with kids, family, and pets around your workspace.  Find work-time budgets that function best for you and coordinate times with others to get things done. Let others know when you're available to keep a sense of normalcy.

3.  Focus on your most important work

Forget the busy work, focus on the top-priority stuff. You'll feel more rewarded.  According to some estimates, the average knowledge worker is only productive on average three hours every day, and these hours should be free of interruptions or multitasking...and be focused. Prioritizing will help with your fragmented day. 

Have you found ways which have helped you adjust and function during these turbulent times?




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