Remaining productive and embracing the ‘new normal’
The Coronavirus hasn’t just changed the way we work. It’s changed the way we live, and even the way we talk. I don’t think anyone heard the expressions ‘self-isolation’ or ‘social distancing ’much before the pandemic.
Just a few weeks ago people probably would’ve thought ‘social distancing’ meant taking a break from Instagram. This new reality means we must use technology in our favour. We need it to be able to work from home, to keep our connections close and to make it as non-disruptive as possible.
Pre-Coronavirus, working from home was a luxury of the few, but it is now available to the many. This meant that a lot of us have had to adapt to bringing work home and not just for a day but for weeks, possibly months.
The first thing I advise to combat the temptation to stay in bed all day is to keep to your previous work routine as much as possible. Waking up early, taking a shower and continuing the day as if you were going to the office is key for getting into the right work mood.
Creating a space in the house that is specifically for work can also help you to stay focused and avoid home distractions. It’s important for our brains to clearly differentiate work from relaxation time.
Working from home has not only changed our daily routine but it has made us reconsider the way we manage and motivate people. In the absence of face-to-face meetings, I’ve started making video calls. Video calls are the next best thing because the interactions feel more personal. This is a good way to keep teams connected and discuss more personal topics – like anxiety or concerns – which are probably more likely than ever in these challenging times.
As a manager, I also make sure I am reachable, just like I was in the office. Some teams might find working from home hard and require a bit of extra help as this might be a novelty to them. Being present and creating virtual connections is extremely important. You must have the right technological infrastructure in place to facilitate remote working and keep productivity levels high. Access to VPNs, cloud storage, work drives and online communications tools such as Skype for Business is crucial. In the absence of paid software licences, the best free options can help such as Google Hangouts, Slack or Zoom.
The truth is that no one really knows how long we are going to be in this for, so we must tackle each day as it comes and be kinder to ourselves while we transition to our new normal. Like everything else in life, this too shall pass.