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Making Working Outside the Office Work

Organizations around the world are mandating that employees work from home in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, and to take care of the health and safety of their people. Home offices will be the new normal for the next couple of months – forcing many to change their ways of working and environment practically overnight. While remote working may not feel like a big shift for some, it’s unchartered territory for many organizations. And it’s happening at a time when employees and leaders are being asked to remain both productive in their new set-ups, and calm amidst a global pandemic.

We don’t know when life will return to normal, much less when we will be able to return to our offices. But for the time being, we can try and maintain as much balance as possible.

We asked our colleagues around the world to share their tips for working at home. We’ve compiled those into 7 videos so you can make working outside of the office, work: 

1. MAINTAIN YOUR SCHEDULE: Set and work the same schedule from home that you would’ve worked in the office. For example: wake up, get dressed and sign onto (and off of) your computer at the same time you normally would. Keeping your routine will help you maintain a sense of normalcy while working outside the office.

2. TAKE BREAKS: Make sure to build in breaks to walk around, get outside, or talk with your colleagues about personal things when you’re working from home. One of the easiest pitfalls of working remotely is forgetting to make time for necessary breaks and separation from work and your computer.

3. STAY ACTIVE: The average professional takes approximately 7,500 steps at the office every day – that’s built in exercise you won’t be getting at home. To combat the lack of movement (and to keep your brain and body energized), take walking meetings when you can to get some fresh air and exercise during breaks when appropriate.

4. CREATE A DEDICATED WORKSPACE: Find a spot in your home (an office, a corner, a desk) to be your “work zone” so you can prepare yourself to easily transition into (and out of) your workday. Make sure it’s clear of clutter and somewhere you feel comfortable getting some work done.1

5. LIMIT DISTRACTIONS: Find your creative flow regardless of where you work. Experiment with different ways to stay focused. Try muting notifications, putting your phone away or setting your Spotify to the classical music channel.

6. STAY ON TOP OF YOUR TO-DO LIST (despite household distractions): Working from home comes with distractions, especially if it isn’t something you do on a regular basis. Create daily goals or checklists for what you intend to accomplish each day and share them with your peers and/or managers as applicable to hold yourself accountable.

7. BUILD YOUR VIRTUAL COMMUNITY: Like when you’re in the office, make sure you have a community “virtually” around you for support. Examples may include a technical guru to help with the transition to remote work, a confidante to share concerns with, a creative partner for new and existing projects, and a mentor to ask for advice on how to navigate the uncertainty and keep your professional development on track.2

1 Fast Company: 8 Strategies to Set Up Remote Work During the Coronavirus Outbreak

2 The Mind Gym (Webinar): How Coronavirus is Transforming Work & What You Can Do About It