If you are one of the many who has been thrust into a remote working environment since the lockdown in the UK, you may have been faced with an entirely new way of working with no time for preparation.  Whether you are loving the new situation or longing for it to end, the work still needs to get done, and you need to focus and be productive, no matter what new distractions each day may bring.  So what can you do to sustain your productivity and focus in this new environment, and what lessons can be learned for your future working life?

1. Create a designated workspace

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a dedicated space in their home where they can work, but it’s important to define somewhere as your own personal workspace in order to set boundaries for others in your house.  No matter how small or multi-use this area may be, it will help you to stay in the right frame of mind while you are working; it will help to reduce interruptions; and it will help you to create a clear separation between your work and home life.

Once lockdown is over, keeping this space as your ‘focus’ zone can help you to utilise remote working in the future, slipping easily back into the good habits you created during this time.

2. Stick to a routine

If you treat working from home just like you would going to the office, you will find it much easier to be productive.  Get up at your usual time, get dressed and get started.  Make a schedule and stick to it as much as you can.  If you find that you are more productive working 6 am to 2 pm rather than 9 am to 5 pm, then try that.  Or if you are a night owl, or juggling childcare at home, then adjust your working hours to suit when you will be most able to focus and be productive.  What matters is, sticking to a daily routine to help ensure you get the most out of each day.

If you find that you are far more productive at times other than 9-5, and your organisation supports flexible hours, it may be worth having a conversation with your team leader about changing your hours once you are back in an office environment.

3. Communicate Constantly

Video Conferencing, phone calls, emails, Slack, WhatsApp… the list goes on.  Find a system that works for you and your team and use it.  Communication in your professional life has never been more key than when you are in a remote environment.  Teams need to catch up on targets, projects, collaborations, and goals.  Even little things like letting them know your availability if you are breaking for lunch, this will help your colleagues to manage expectations and plan accordingly.

4. Embrace the opportunity

Whatever your situation spend some time reflecting on what this time has given you.  Perhaps keep a journal, noting which things work for you and which don’t.  How might your experiences shape your choices, if not immediately but in the future. Consider what you really care about and decide what you want from life and work moving forwards.

 

Sue Winton is the founder of Open2Change and a developmental leadership coach interested in helping you further develop your confidence, expertise and skills to transform your working environment and become known as someone others want to work with and for.