Working from home right now is not without its challenges. The line between home life and work-life has become blurry. Roughly 46 percent of American businesses have implemented remote-work policies as of mid-February. This is a huge jump from 2017, when just 3.4 percent of Americans worked remotely, half of the time. In other words, working at home for many of us feels foreign. Many of us have children at home and have had to transform ourselves into teachers overnight. And those of us with spouses, well, they’re also our new coworkers.
Here’s the silver lining: Despite all of the distractions at home, having employees work remotely may be beneficial for companies and employees. Small experiments have found that combining work and home life can boost morale in certain situations. And today, we have the technology to get work done, create and move forward, virtually. Virtual offices are a thing. We’re sure many of you have used video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Skype, to meet with your team which helps to stay connected. Here are a few other tips to boost your team’s creativity and productivity during quarantine.
This might seem obvious, but if we’re being honest, how many of us are in our pajamas right now? Pre-quarantine, we got up and changed into our work clothes, right? It’s no secret that how you dress influences your mood. Wearing something suitable makes you feel human and the act of changing your clothes is a signal to your brain that it’s time to get things done — even if it’s remotely.
Have a Workspace
The separation of work and home life is critical. The more a person’s workspace bleeds into their home life, the less productive they’ll be. Encourage your team to design their own workspace, whether it’s a corner in their bedroom, a spare room, or a kitchen nook. The point is, it should feel separate from the rest of the living space. When work is over, the space should be packed up. It’s this physical act of leaving work that helps us recharge and reset.
Keep Work Hours
Some evidence indicates that people working remotely are actually working longer days. Those employees who are also homeschooling might be catching up on the weekends or after hours so they seem to always be available. So it’s important to encourage employees to log off at the end of the workday.
We mentioned tools like Zoom and Skype that help with communication and connection, but really staying
connected takes more than just the technology to do so (though, at the moment, that technology is critically important).
Make time for small talk. Carve it into your day. Working from home means that the opportunity for spontaneous conversation on your way to eat lunch or refill your coffee cup isn’t quite there like it used to be. It is important to remember that we are not machines, and that to do our best work, we need to be ourselves. Staying connected with your coworkers starts with making intentional time to do so!
For more tips, tricks, and insight into what it means to be a part of the small business community, check out our Small Business Resource Hub.