With the spread of coronavirus continuing, many companies are putting into practice “social distancing” by requesting that employees work remotely in order to help curb the spread of the virus. For some this will be their first great length of time working somewhere other than their office.

While the concept of working from the comfort of their own home may seem enticing, seasoned remote-working experts know that keeping on task and engaged with your team takes extra effort. Here are five tips to help you stay productive (and sane!) while working remotely as we navigate these challenging times.

A dedicated space
Try to find yourself a dedicated and comfortable spot to work that you can associate with your job and leave when you’re off the clock — that means get off the couch!  It will help you remain on task, reduce the chance for distraction and allow you to keep your balance of work versus personal time.

Schedule time to socialize
You might find it easier to be productive without chatty coworkers dropping by, but social interactions will help alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness – especially as you practice social distancing outside of work hours. Many times, people underestimate the psychological effects of working remotely for extended periods of time despite it being an essential factor in our mental well-being and team bonding.

To help fill the socializing gap, find a colleague you can reach out to when you’re feeling the need to chat. Alternatively, get in touch with a friend who works elsewhere and is going through the same experience. Collaborate during the day using social collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams or others. Even better? Host a virtual coffee talk or happy hour to share how your day is going!

Structure out your day
When working from home, it helps to keep a more structured daily schedule than usual. Because our time and daily structure is often influenced by others while in the office, you’ll feel the lack of structure while working remotely.

Make sure you schedule time to eat lunch, stretch your legs or even grab the mail. Studies show that even a few minutes outside can give your productivity a real boost.

Communication is Key
It’s important to go beyond email and use other social tools that help to replicate the face-to-face office experience and provide clear communication. Again, social collaboration tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams allow colleagues to video conference, screen-share and give real time feedback.

Furthermore, better communication while remote can help maintain your relationship with your colleagues, managers, and direct reports while away from the office. It builds trust and confidence if you are available and sharing your results even if they can’t see you working towards those goals in person.

Everyone Works Differently
Even though we are all doing our part to stop the spread of this virus, companies and managers should remember that not every employee wants to work from home.  This shift in schedule and routine can be very stressful for some.  By giving employees as much information as possible, companies can help ease the burden caused by the disruption and position their workers for success.

Finally, remember that we are all in this together.  If Hollstadt can be of any assistance as we navigate this uncharted path, please get in touch with us.  We excel at coming up with creative solutions to challenging business problems.