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Don’t Wear Your Pajamas While Working From Home And Other Tips

Business goes on as usual when working from home routines have been established, but there are still a few kinks to work out. So here are a few tips.
Working from home is now part of the new normal. Even before the current crisis, it has been growing in popularity because of benefits like saving employees the trouble of commuting to work and reducing workplace expenses. While business goes on as usual when remote work routines have been established, there are still a few kinks to work out. Especially when due to the lockdown people have few other places to go and stretch their legs. The days can blur, moods can swing, people can feel restless because they are all cooped inside but at the same time exhausted from all the negative news. 
So here are a few tips, like don’t wear your pajamas while working from home: 

Seriously, try to wear work clothes when it’s your shift

No, the managers won’t have a Zoom call just to check if you are following the company dress code. But it is for your own sake. It will be more difficult to get up and do your job when you are still wearing them, because their feel is mentally associated with rest activities. This isn’t just some mumbo-jumbo but part of the science of embodied cognition, namely that our thoughts and mental states do not exist in a vacuum, the brain is not an isolated organ, so what goes on in our head is informed by external stimuli.  So the feel of pajamas and house clothes are associated with relaxation or downtime. Conversely, the feel of work clothes brings forth the connotations of tapping away at the keyboard. This will get you “ready” and in the mood, making you more productive. Moreover, it can go the other way, you don’t want to feel anxious about work when it is your rest hours and you are in your house clothes, you don’t want the mindset of working at the office to bleed into your moments of R&R.  So change clothes before going to work. It doesn’t have to be the entire work outfit. You don’t have to swap the slippers for shoes or put on a tie. Just don’t work in the attire you sleep in.

Take Walking Meetings

If your meeting doesn’t have to be in front of a computer, you can take your phone or your wireless headphones and go outside. Or just walk around in the living room. We are already sitting down for most of our shifts. And even afterwards it isn’t like we can hit the gym and even jogging might not be as convenient for some. So move those muscles a bit, get that heart rate up a little, it will be great for your overall well-being. 

Maintaining Boundaries When Working From Home

Working from home means that you and your colleagues might have to care for children, elder relatives or even pets during regular hours. Conversely, during our supposed downtime and even when we are not handling family responsibilities, we might also check in to respond to messages or emails. Some might have their usual 9-to-5 schedules thrown out of whack. So they need to find work-time budgets that work best for them. Teams need to be conscious and respectful of the idea that others might work at different times and paces than they do. A bachelor working from home would have a different routine compared to someone with a spouse and several children.  So it is important to be courteous and mindful. Simply message that you are out of office or on break during certain hours of the day. Or that because of various activities your pace in responding might slow down. These can be a big help in letting people know so that their expectations will be informed. It will also help with team coordination. 

For Managers and Supervisors, go ROWE-ing

With all that said, managers and supervisors are also working from home and it can be jarring because. Aside from spreadsheet trackers and various cloud-based platforms, keeping abreast of your subordinates will naturally be more difficult. You can’t see whether they’re tapping away at their keyboards or just bantering by the water cooler. And naturally you fret, wondering whether they are actually going to get their jobs done. This is understandable and is part of the reason behind an approach called “Results-Only Work Environment” that many businesses are adopting.   Like the CNN article says, this involves the power of trust as well as delegation. Which is the bread and butter of the Virtual Assistant industry anyway. As Jody Thompson, principal of CultureRX, explains: “Each person is 100% accountable and 100% autonomous, which means I am self-governing and independent.” You (and your subordinates) aren’t in the office anymore. So you might be tapping away only to be distracted because your cat has jumped onto the table to look for some affection. Or your kid might have an urgent need and is calling for your attention. Maybe you have to do errands earlier because stores are closing earlier, or there’s a lack of transportation, or a curfew is in place. You are working from home and things will pop up in ways that they don’t in the office. So maybe the focus should shift on whether the results are delivered.  As Tim Jones, Precise Nutrition CEO, puts it: “By focusing on goals and metrics, the old-school idea of how much time was spent sitting at a desk quickly goes out the door.”

Focusing on Priorities When Working From Home

Working from home is nothing like a vacation. As mentioned before, workloads can increase especially as people juggle family and work tasks. Research has shown that workers are actually only productive on average of three hours a day, in times that should be free of interruption or multitasking. Before the current crisis, this was already hard enough to focus on core work tasks for three continuous hours. Now, the boundaries between work and home and family are eroding employee time is all the more fragmented.  So employees who are “on” all the time are at increased risk of burning out when working from home than if they are in the office, because of the erosion of boundaries. Squeezing in work and email responses between nap times, during weekends or even when pausing a movie in the evening, can actually be detrimental not just to overall productivity but well-being.  All this means that workers should focus their energy on top priority tasks. Especially in the case of those who are juggling family and household affairs. The human body and mind have a finite capacity of energy and focus. So it is important to pace yourself, prioritize what’s most important, and maintain your capacity and energy levels to avoid burning out

Takeaway

Maintain boundaries between work and personal life as best you can to avoid burnout in the long term. This requires flexibility to sort out how to make one’s circumstances work best in these challenging times. And at the very least, stop wearing pajamas during your work hours.

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