Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the start of the first wave, it was evident around the world that how we work would forever change. Soon after the new remote working trends started emerging, Intalio had published a blog post entitled: Working from Home During COVID-19 |Productivity at Its Best! , during which it highlighted six tips on how to stay productive when working remotely. With the ongoing second wave of the pandemic and worldwide lockdowns, we decided to update our list to help you thrive further during the second wave.
During our first list of advice, we talked about starting early, getting dressing for work, designating a work-station, staying in touch with co-workers, planning by using a daily agenda, and not forgetting to take breaks throughout your day.
To stay sharp during the second wave, here is an updated list of advice.
10 Tips to Stay Productive During the Second Wave:
1. Work hard during regular hours, then turn it off.
People tend to spend more hours working when they are at home than at the office as it becomes more challenging to ‘unplug’ without the commute home; remote working takes away the privilege of transitioning in and out of ‘work mode’. The key is to start and end at regular hours, just like at the office, and learning to ‘shut it off’ once you finish working. The same way you create a morning routine, you can create an evening routine that will help you transition yourself out of work.
2. Always keep your notepad ready.
If you find it difficult and challenging to ‘disconnect’ after working hours, you can start by keeping a notepad and pencil nearby. That way, if you get random bursts of inspiration or remember anything work-related that you need to do, you can write it down and start with it the next day without fearing leaving the task behind.
3. Keep your goals realistic.
You are not working in a normal environment. This is a pandemic, and it is always important to keep that in mind as you plan and review your productivity and set realistic goals. Dissect your large projects into smaller tasks and organize your priorities, then try to focus on what needs to get done today instead of what needs to get done in the long run. Also, make sure you don’t burn yourself out by making sure you balance your amount of work with the amount of self-care you need.
4. Leave the chores at home.
During your workday, don’t try to take care of your home and the chores you need to do simultaneously. Try to keep your chores for ‘home time’ and don’t let them intrude on your ‘work time’. Housework might be very frustrating and time-consuming; it will make it harder to go back and concentrate on your corporate tasks.
5. Plan your workflow.
Concentrating for hours on end is almost impossible and could stand in the way of your productivity. Taking small breaks at small intervals is found to be more efficient than having a brain drain. A good method to organize yourself would be the Pomodoro Technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The method consists of taking at least a 3-minute break every 25 minutes of concentration, followed by a 15-minute break after every four 25-minute intervals.
6. Set ground rules with the people in your space.
Children, spouses, siblings, parents, and roommates. While wanted distractions may keep you more efficient, unwanted distractions can throw you off track and give you a hard time to go back and concentrate. Set up a schedule with those around you, or decide on a system where others can be notified when you are working or when you are in a meeting, or even when you can get off your desk for a few minutes. Designating a workplace where you can physically keep people out is also a healthy practice.
7. Tune in to Inspiration.
Music is known to stimulate brain cells and induce concentration and productivity. Listening to your favorite rendition of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” song may be more entertaining and evoke positivity, but to truly concentrate and be productive, you can find special concentration music online that incite your Beta Waves, causing you to concentrate and keep your mind sharp.
8. Plan virtual lunches.
One of the most important factors of office life is the co-workers and office spirit. It’s challenging to keep that team spirit when all communication is happening over email and quick calls. You and your team can make it a point to have at least one virtual lunch per week or month, depending on the task load. During that time, try to catch up with your co-workers and talk about non-work-related matters.
9. Don’t Stop working if it’s a hard day and take sick days off.
Some days are easy, some are a little harder and more demanding. Working from home makes it easier to feel like quitting during tense times or leaving everything and calling it a day. During those times, instead of dropping your day altogether, try doing smaller and easier tasks to stay productive, pushing through your to-do list instead of procrastinating and not accomplishing anything. And finally, if you are feeling sick and unable to work, remember that you are still allowed to take your sick days off as they are a part of your labor rights even though you are at home.
10. Remember, people work differently.
During these challenging times, it especially important to remember that this is an exceptional phase for everyone. However, we don’t adapt the same way, and we don’t have the same living conditions as others. Remember, some of your co-workers have parents at home that need support or have children that need to be taken care of, and this may cause constant distractions, making it harder to complete any task, no matter how simple.
Being patient and understanding your team’s situation, coping mechanisms, and work styles will take you and the team much further if you create a supportive remote environment.
Meanwhile, just like we’re doing at Intalio, stay home and stay safe!