• Lindi Engelbrecht

Tips to stay productive whilst adjusting to the new remote working environment

Work from home - "shut-in Economy"

In the last week our world has been turned upside down. We've seen the following hastags trend #stayhome, #thenewnormal, #covid19 #workfromhome #remotework, just to mention a few. We have all been tasked to work from home, to adjust to a remote working environment.

Myself, just as many of you I' sure have been constantly refreshing your social feeds to ensure you are most up to date with the news about the pandemic. As a professional and leader of an organisation, my focus has been on 2 areas :

  • People's wellbeing. How do we as leaders and business professionals care and serve our people, as well as prepare, equip and train them to adapt with speed and agility.

  • Predictions on how this pandemic will impact not only the South African economy but the Global Markets outlook, the future world of work and how technology will enhance and assist with our new normal.

This last week, I was reminded of the following quote :

Innovation is key. Only those that have the agility to change with the market and innovate quickly will survive
- Robert Kiyosaki

Whether you're working remotely, searching for your next job, or learning to use the various online tools, it's an uncertain time. And it can be quite difficult to stay focused and productive. I believe the next couple of months we need to mature our skills to innovate and adapt in order for us to not only survive but to thrive in this new world of work.

I agree with Angela Hall, a professor in Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations. She says that this experience will “change workplaces of the future — big time.”

“Employees and employers will be — and are already becoming — more creative,”. “We’ll find things we would have never been able to uncover because we’ve never had this kind of ‘living laboratory’ before.”

I want to encourage, equip and support you with tips that I have come across and also experienced in my own remote working environment.

Angela Hall guides us to Create boundaries. - “Set boundaries for family, roommates and even your pets! You need to set up a quiet area in which you can have the least amount of distraction and interruption from others, including our four-legged friends and kids. “We saw what happened a few years ago when a child didn’t know about boundaries when the father and commentator was live on the air!”

According to @Emily Grant, Synthesis Academy head and contributor of CHRO South Africa, Set working hours - Setting a schedule for yourself can be helpful in balancing work and life. Get up at your usual time, and be clear when your workday starts and ends. This way, you’ll feel more in control of your time and know when you can walk away without feeling guilty. It also gives you some flexibility to catch up with others – can you work for an hour or two before the kids wake up, or work another couple after they’ve gone to bed?

Nextivia, has excellent points, however the one which stood out for me was : Invest in Quality Technology

Yes, setting up a home office or workspace may require a small investment. Much like starting a new business, you may have to purchase technology, such as a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone system to do your job every day.

Invest in whatever you need to comfortably and efficiently do your job.

According to The Verge, Dress the Part

One of the biggest selling points of working from home is that you can wear what you want. This is true, and some days, especially if it’s miserable weather or you’re not feeling 100 percent, indulge a little and wear sweats and comfy socks. But to keep a sense of routine, try to get dressed and do it around the same time every day. This might sound a little odd, but I find that in addition to jeans and a comfortable shirt, wearing shoes (instead of slippers or just socks) helps me keep that sense of work vs. relaxation. I’m not talking about the most expensive shoes in your closet; sneakers, flip flops, or other comfortable footwear are just fine.

In my experience connect with others and connect regularly. As much as you might feel isolated and cut off from society, time is still passing and the world is still turning. Use Online Collaboration Tools

Online tools like Slack, Teams by Microsoft, and Google Hangouts create a sense of community among remote teams. You can chat with coworkers just like you would in an office, contribute to group conversations periodically throughout the day, and private message colleagues with birthday wishes, condolences, and congratulations.

Still apply for new job opportunities, build your professional profile because as cliched as it may sound, "this too shall pass", and you don't want to fall behind as soon as our new normal will return.

Digital Technology will now be widely used by organisations, especially video interviewing tools. So keep enhancing your video communication skills.

As many wise leaders have said, with freedom comes great responsibility. To truly enjoy the freedoms that telecommuting provides, create a flexible work structure and put in the extra effort toward staying connected to the world around you and focus on Productivity. The world as we know it is not ending, just changing.

If you have other suggestions that could assist us, please comment with your insights.