At the onset of 2020, our ambitions were painted with classic New Year resolutions, resonating with the familiar refrains of “new year, new me” and “this is my year.” However, the world took an unexpected pause, shifting our focus and transforming our work landscape. Now, after ten months of navigating the remote work terrain, what have we learned, and how do we carry these lessons into 2021, now that we’ve graduated from “rookie” status? 😜

Adapting to Remote Realities

As we adjusted to life in isolation, our homes became makeshift offices, blurring the lines between personal and professional spaces. The traditional 9-to-5 office hours seemed to follow the dinosaurs into extinction, with remote work swiftly becoming more of the “new normal.” Companies started considering reducing their office footprints, ushering in an era where working from home is not the exception but the rule.

But how do you optimize your home for productivity? How do you maintain focus, create a schedule, and balance your work and home life? Here are some tips to maximize productivity while working from home:

👉🏽 Create a Comfortable Workspace: Your home office should be comfortable, free from unnecessary screens and distractions, fostering focus and productivity.

👉🏽 Stay Organized: Adopt a new organizing system or leverage day planners to ensure you stay on schedule, fostering consistency and routine.

👉🏽 Commit to Intense Work Intervals: Work intensely for shorter periods, take short breaks, and repeat. This method can significantly boost productivity.

Taking Time to Disconnect

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once credited meditation for his best ideas. In a remote work scenario, where 44% of respondents reportedly worked more than 40 hours a week, the challenge becomes separating work from personal life. The blurred lines between the two realms, existing under the same roof, create a unique challenge that we need to navigate.

Here are some simple and effective tips on how to disconnect from work:

🛑 Stop Working: Set a “Stop Working” deadline; logout of work-related platforms, shut down your devices, and create a clear boundary between work and personal time.

🌟 After-Work Activities: Engage in activities you are passionate about, be it fitness, art, reading, or learning something new. This transition time helps you disconnect from work.

😌 Decompress: Find your unique way to unwind – it could be a drink, a few minutes of relaxation, or even closing your eyes for a moment. Prioritize this at the end of every workday.

The Critical Role of Feedback in Remote Work

Feedback is the compass guiding professionals toward improvement and success. In a remote work setting, the challenge is ensuring that the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality becomes obsolete. Constructive feedback, whether positive or redirecting, plays a pivotal role in individual and collective growth.

Here are some tips to enhance communication and the feedback loop:

👉🏽 Choose the Best Way to Communicate: Opt for video calls to establish a human connection and share feedback effectively, setting the tone for improved morale.

👉🏽 Invite Feedback: Encourage employees to share their thoughts and insights. Effective feedback flows both ways, creating a culture of open communication.

👉🏽 Communicate Regularly: Consistent communication is key. Regular check-ins, even informal ones, help maintain a connection beyond work-related discussions.

As we navigate the evolving landscape of remote work, let’s carry these lessons forward into 2021, transforming challenges into opportunities for growth and collaboration.