March 24, 2020  |  Culture

Tips for working from home

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As COVID-19’s presence in the United States has become unavoidable, more and more companies have asked their employees to start working from home. For some employees, this decision is met with excitement at the opportunity to increase freedom and productivity in the comfort of their own home. For others, this is met with trepidation as the shift requires a change in behavior and change in their normal routine. Here are tips for how to make the most out of the next few weeks (or months) while working from home:

Create Boundaries

One of the themes that employees who regularly work from home discuss is that when you work remote, it’s easy to blur the lines between work and personal home life. Office hours become more fluid, your bed becomes your desk, and you steamroll through your lunch hour.

If the fluidity starts to tip the scales in one direction, do your best to create some boundaries. Avoid your couch or the laundry room if those places trigger your brain to shut off or go into housework mode. Schedule a lunch break or a walk outside if you find yourself not getting up from your office chair. And if possible, create a work nook that you “go to” when you’re working and then “leave” at the end of the day. This might be a section of one room or a separate room in your home, if you have the space.

Maintain Routines

I laughed when I read that some K-12 schools who are conducting virtual learning via zoom are still requiring children to be in their uniforms. But studies have shown that professionals feel more competent when wearing their formal business attire, so maybe this applies to children, too.

Establish a routine that works for you and makes your work day most productive. Maybe that’s getting showered and dressed for the job, or perhaps it’s starting work immediately when you wake up and skipping the shower, to get more working time in before the kids get up. Whatever works for you, establish that routine. “Go to work” even if it’s in your own home. Set your working hours. Plan breaks and stick to those breaks.

Find Inspiration

The New York Times published an article that touts studies that have shown working from home leads to more productivity but less creativity. What does this mean for marketing and advertising agencies, and other industries that rely on creativity?

Find new forms of inspiration. Call your creative partner who used to sit three feet away from you and pitch ideas over the phone. Talk to your spouse who’s working from home too for a different, outside-of-the-industry perspective to spark new ways of thinking. Creatives teams can add an “inspiration corner” to their daily stand up meetings. For creative professionals out there, feel free to share ideas in the comments section on how you’re getting inspired while working from home!

Reach Out and Seek Out

It’s easy to shift too far into isolation. While email and skype and slack make it easy for teams to communicate remotely, pick up the phone. Call your coworkers. Call your clients. Call your vendors. Call your mom. Even if it takes an extra minute, these calls are nine times out of 10 guaranteed to make you smile and put a little extra spring in your step.

At Ideabar, we have found ways to still connect as a team in large group settings through zoom video conferencing. Instead of participants talking over each other, we’re making use of the chat box and having one to two team members moderate the discussion and chat box, calling on people to elaborate based on their responses in the chat box. In some ways, we’re seeing this to be more productive and there’s been a lot of “LOL’s” in the chat box, so we can tell the team is having fun too.