Working-from-home (WFH) is a new phenomenon for many people. It takes some getting used to. There are ways to make it more productive and lessen the problems both personally and when a working group. My suggestions:
Communications – This is where most work-from-home strategies affect productivity and performance, both for the individual and the work group. As an individual, social distancing affects the interaction that most people need. We are social animals. A certain amount of contact with others is necessary. Keep your personal connections active.
As far as the work group is concerned, the word I would use is “overcommunicate”. During normal working conditions you have face-to-face interactions that produces give-and-take conversations with a back-and-forth forum that provides clarity to questions, a discussion of issues, potential problems, and a dialog that is needed to understand the goal, objectives, strategies and results expected from each member of a group, and the group as a whole. Points are made to unearth impediments, holes in the approach, or external influences affecting results. Unless the boss is extremely articulate, and each member of the group is exceptionally insightful, most communications fall way short when using the written word. Even electronic videos don’t provide the environment for a deeper meaning to directions, questions or concerns, unless the sessions are deep and convened often. Even when someone thinks they understand, the piece that falls through the cracks may be the part of the work-product that is critical to its success. Group interactions are imperative to WFH
Breaks – Take a break every hour or so. You need to get the blood flowing again while creating a pause in your mental focus. The break doesn’t need to be more than 5 minutes, but just enough time to re-think what your doing and readjust your passive positioning.
Every 3 hours or so take a longer break, maybe for a small lunch or snack. The reason why I say “small” is since your mostly passive, it’s easy to gain weight you don’t need. You may also find that in mid-afternoon a half-hour rest to read a book, watch the news or take a walk will do a world of good. Some find that a mid-afternoon set of mild exercises give you the stimulation you need to finish the day with renewed energy.
Hours – Unless you have a deadline or get involved in a project, don’t work past your normal hours. If your normal pattern is 8 to 5 with an hour for lunch, try to keep that schedule. You’ll find it easier to adjust to a new pattern of work if your hours are similar to your pre-WFH worktime. If you find that you work more productively in the early evening, no problem. Take off the morning or afternoon time so you have two-out-of- three segments of work, and one segment doing different things you enjoy.
Define expectations. Provide constant feedback. Interact openly with co-workers. Track progress and results.
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