The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has had a deep effect on our daily work routines. It has also broadened our understanding of working remote. Some of us love it and have been doing it for some time, others are still unsure and are looking forward to returning to the office. Yes, we will all return to the workplace at some point, but in the meantime, we’re doing our part by staying home. To understand how this has changed the way we work, we reached out to colleagues and clients to see how they’re managing their new work environment. From these conversations, here is a top ten list of insights.

  1. Maintain a schedule – Waking up with the alarm, physical exercise, showering and dressing for work establishes a sense of purpose. You know what works best for you so maintain the routine that sets up the day.
  2. Dedicated workspace – Set the stage by creating a consistent location for work that is separate from family and leisure areas. If possible, include a 2nd location for a change of posture and perhaps greater opportunity for quiet, heads-down work.
  3. Technology – Data connectivity is paramount for both the organization as well as the home network. Some have been prepared with robust infrastructure and mobility, others have struggled and spent time and energy ramping up.
  4. Stay Connected – Whether with team or leadership members, regular touchpoints are necessary to maintain a positive outlook and a proactive stance towards priorities as well as changes that need to be made. Also, reach out and maintain personal and professional relationships.  While physical distancing may be important now, social connections are vital for our emotional health and well-being.
  5. Issue Resolution – Ensure your organization has a process for expediting important decisions and actions needed to mitigate risk or loss of productivity.
  6. Video Conferencing – Don’t be an example that blows-up on social media. Mute your microphone when not speaking and be self-aware of your surroundings for camera “muting” as well.  Maintain a professional appearance.
  7. Take Breaks – Keeping moving, stay hydrated and take a brisk walk outside to maintain energy and focus. Stand, change your posture and stretch frequently.  Take a break from Social Media as well (it will be there when you return).
  8. Re-set Expectations – Family, school and life commitments don’t go away when you are working from home. Cut yourself some slack, adjust your day, coordinate with your significant other to balance schedules and commitments.  Expect interruptions and take one day at a time.
  9. Maintain Perspective – Adopt an attitude of gratitude, control what you can control, let go of what you cannot. Keep smiling and laugh often.  Be thankful for the focused time and significant reduction in external commitments.
  10. Reflect Care for Others and for Yourself – Do what you can to maintain your support for local and favorite charities.  Now more than ever, your support is needed.  This is an opportunity for maintaining a positive outlook by looking outside of your current situation.  Slow down and try new recipes, pull out old puzzles or games, read a favorite book, enjoy time with those in your household, connect virtually with family and friends.

It may be weeks before we truly understand the impact of physical distancing and our ability to work effectively. While certain people may thrive working at home, others are merely coping with the current conditions and counting the days until we return to the workplace.

As we think the future of remote work, the question we ask next as workplace designers is this: how will what we learn now influence where and how we work in the future? Can we still activate our culture in a positive way that impacts performance and outcomes? It’s an interesting question and one we want to know more about. To that end, we’re working on a study with our ONE Global Design partners that will look at just that question. Stay tuned, we should have results to share in a few weeks!

 

Read on: Coronavirus has changed the way we work today and in the future