A recent presentation from members of Bend Young Professionals offers some tips and tricks for maintaining productivity and a healthy attitude during the coronavirus crisis.
Quick poll: In the last month have you found yourself:
- Reveling in the opportunity to put in a full day of work on the couch without ever changing out of your pajamas?
- Working odd hours in an attempt to hang on to your job when so many around you have been laid off?
- Held hostage in the laundry room, the only "kid-free" zone in the house?
- Missing the chance to goof off with your co-workers, but discovering your productivity has suddenly skyrocketed without distractions?
If you answered in the affirmative to just one of these questions, read on.
From common-sense tips like blocking out time to turn off your phone, to how to transform turn a task list into a morning ritual, three local work-from-home veterans shared their recommendations for getting the most out of your day in the middle of a pandemic and recession.
As we come out of this lock down, the people that leaned in on community, these are going to be the biggest leaders and winners coming out of this. - Gabriel Davis, Strikepoint Mediatweet this
The three Bend entrepreneurs—a life coach, a marketing executive and a food blogger—presented as part of the Bend Young Professionals remote series, hosted (virtually) by the Bend Chamber of Commerce Tuesday afternoon.
While home environments vary, the primary challenge of working from home remains the same: How to sustain a productive and focused workday, without the motivation and accountability of actually “going to work?”
Dave Salciccioli—the chief development officer at Coachwell, a leadership and business coaching organization—suggested developing new systematic rituals to help you maintain spiritual, physical and emotional energy in the midst of a scary and unpredictable time.
“All of the rhythms that we had are all up in the air,” he said. “They helped us function at our peak, they helped us do really well in our work. We have to establish a new lifestyle… to survive and thrive in this moment.”
Defining your time and space
Justin Winn, who runs the Real Simple Good Life blog with his wife Erica, recommended scheduling morning workouts or exercise commitments, even if going to the gym wasn't part of your former rituals.
Establish a structure: get up, get dressed, put on your shoes and walk out the door if it helps you to get into the right frame of mind, he said.
Find a physical space in the house as your home office, he suggested.
“Communicate this space to your spouse and your family so you are not bombarded with distractions and interruptions,” Winn said.
“[Your workspace] is not being on the couch with your sweatpants on,” Winn said. “That only works for a certain amount of time. When you enter that space your are in work mode, when you leave you are in family [or relaxation] mode.”
“How do you set boundaries when you’re in absolute triage mode, when you’re working really long days, working more, not less,” said Gabriel Davis, the second panelist. Davis has worked remotely for three years in Bend as a growth strategist for a California-based marketing company.
“When work is always there, always associated with our place at home, come up with some kind of activity that says ‘I’m shutting down for the day, letting the day go,'" he said. "I don’t have to open the laptop at 7pm; I can start it tomorrow morning and the world isn’t going to end.”
Perceptions of productivity
Winn advocated structuring and planning the work day on a formal calendar or a notebook. Because communication channels with other co-workers and supervisors are limited, prioritize the things that you will work on that will “move the needle for your job,” Winn said.
At the close of the workday, write down what needs to get done the following day.
Davis added that a quick and easy hack for day planning is starting a shared Google calendar that is open to everyone in the office so co-workers know the best times of the day to check in, and can see your workflow. Davis said he’s very transparent about his time and adds time slots for homeschooling his children.
He explained that it is common for people when they first begin working from home to feel nervous that their boss can’t see them working, when in fact they are actually more productive.
“People are probably very thankful [for their jobs] and want to hang on to that and may be overproducing,” Davis said.
Even if you are working unconventional hours, it shows your bosses you are putting the time in, he said.
“Document your progress each day to get an objective perspective of what you did,” he said.
Motivation and independence
“Working from home tends to be more about results,” Davis said. “Bosses will be looking for productivity. Treat the work you do as a business, even if you only serve one, the person you are working for.”
Winn said that because you are working from home, it's important to clear away distractions.
“Get notifications off your phone,” he said. “Turn it off if you can when you are in the middle of a task.”
Davis advised that during this socially isolated time, to try to stay connected with like-minded people across different industries. It helps maintain a sense of camaraderie while also offering fresh perspectives on how to adapt your business during the pandemic.
“Join networking groups… talk through ideas… engage… it takes the burden off your own shoulders,” Davis said. “As we come out of this lock down, the people that leaned in on community, these are going to be the biggest leaders and winners coming out of this.”