In light of the current global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are now – or will be soon – working from home… or, teleworking, working remotely, whatever you choose to call it. Point is, you’re working at home and not at your office. However, for many, this is a new endeavor… a transition that is not always so smooth. I have had many years of experience in this… as a pastor/church planter, insurance agent, and as a recruiter. I have learned to be successful at it, but it was not all that easy at first.
Working remotely has some “default” benefits that make it enjoyable – if not preferable – for some employees: dramatic decrease in commuting costs (gas, parking, public transportation), decrease in dining budget (if you’re used to buying lunch), and – probably best of all – no distractions from fellow employees! 😊
However, there are several potential distractions that can keep us from being as productive as we normally would be. Here are some things to keep in mind, to make your teleworking experience as productive as possible:
- Don’t minimize the importance of the daily conference call. This is your time to to get feedback and guidance; connect with your team; and to remind yourself that you are not on your own.
- Remember: YOU ARE AT WORK! Even though you are working from home, you must be in the right frame of mind in order to stay productive throughout the day.
- “It is the little foxes that spoil the vines.” This is an ancient saying that basically means that it is the little disruptions that sidetrack us. It won’t usually be BIG things that make us unproductive; it will be the little things… like the TV, personal phone calls, social media… that will eat up your time and render you less than productive.
So, in light of this, what are some things that we can do to help us remember we are at work?
- Keep your same work schedule. Don’t sleep in until 30 minutes (or 15!!) before the morning conference call. Get up, shower, get your coffee or whatever you need to get going, and GET DRESSED – maybe even consider dressing how you normally would for work – whatever is necessary to remind you that you are at work.
- Work from a quiet place. Do not attempt to work where the rest of the family is gathered (living room, family room, kitchen, etc). As long as you’re around, you are basically baiting them to disrupt your work flow. For some, of course, your living arrangement may not be the most conducive to pull this off; but try as much as possible to find a non-disruptive/quiet place to work.
- Have your family keep you honest. Everyone in the house must remember that you are working, not on Mommy/Daddy/Spouse duty. Have them help you to stay on point.
- Make sure you have To-Do Lists/Goals EVERY DAY. Now, more than ever, your work time needs to be structured. Use your last 30 minutes of the day to wrap up and set your goals for the next business day.
- Use your “private office” time to your advantage. If a certain kind of music helps you to relax, put it on! Whatever you need to be productive individually, teleworking will give you the opportunity to do it.
Again, teleworking can be extremely beneficial; but, if we’re not careful = if we don’t master the disciplines needed to be productive – it can also be very frustrating. So, be diligent in paying attention to the little things that can disrupt your day… and be intentional in disciplining yourself for productivity in working from home. Who knows? In a day or rapidly-changing business and corporate strategies, this may become the new normal for many of us.