Try These Six Strategies:
Under normal circumstances, working from home is not for everyone. Doing so requires a delicate balance of self-discipline, flexibility, and some creativity. For many work-from-home professionals, it can take weeks or months of adjusting to get in the groove and attain optimal productivity and performance.
When COVID-19 hit the United States in March, many companies responded by encouraging eligible staff to work remotely. Others were slower to make this transition – waiting on states to issue stay-at-home orders. Regardless of when those changes were made – you don’t have the luxury of taking weeks or months to get to assimilate. If you are still struggling with productivity or even just getting adjusted, here are some tried and true tips for staying productive while working remotely.
- Maintain Your Routine. While your regular workday may have its unexpected moments, chances are – your hours, environment, and daily routine remain relatively consistent at the office. Working from home should be the same. Start and end your day just as you did before COVID-19 struck. Take breaks that include lunch at the same time whenever possible. If it helps, keep your pre-work morning routine the same to get your day started. This could mean showering, dressing, and eating breakfast as usual. Or, if you typically exercise before heading to the office or during lunch, try to stick to the same routine. This will signal to your body and mind that things haven’t changed completely and could help you be more energetic and productive throughout the day.
- Find Your Focus. The ability to focus is the most important aspect of working from home effectively. For some, this means a dedicated or secluded place where your family members, kids, and even animals cannot interrupt. For others, it could mean wearing headphones and working anywhere in the house, while some may work well in open areas with music blasting – whatever it is you need to focus, making that happen is the best path to success.
- Communicate Often. Communicate with your fellow household members about your schedule, your needs, and your challenges. Develop a plan together that will enable success. If you have children, devise a plan for who will respond to questions, prep meals, help with schoolwork, etc. Establish a system to let family members know when you absolutely cannot be interrupted. This could be as simple as red, yellow, or green pieces of construction paper on the door to signify – ‘STOP,’ ‘Enter with Caution’, or ‘Come on In.’ If something isn’t working, hold a household meeting to brainstorm better strategies. Open communication will not only improve productivity, it will also keep everyone much happier and in sync.
- Stay in Touch. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you have to stop interacting with your team. If you are a leader, establish ways to keep your team connected and motivated – whether over the phone, video, or even email or group texts, ask your team how they would prefer to communicate. If you are a worker bee, find colleagues to connect with at least once a day – even if it’s just to check in and see how they’re doing mentally. Remaining connected to one another can help with both productivity and accountability – and can truly make the workday more enjoyable.
- Step AWAY From the Computer. Be sure to step away from the computer at least once an hour for just a few minutes, which will help you maintain focus once you’re back at it. Grab a snack, a glass of water, or take a quick walk around the house. The Pomodoro Method of time management works well for many, which is an approach that hardwires 5-minute breaks every 25 minutes and a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes every two hours. If you have children, these breaks can allow you to reconnect or help with schoolwork on your time – which can also limit interruptions when you are focused on work. Other ideas include – do some online yoga or an exercise video, read a chapter of a good book, watch a few minutes of your favorite TV show, do the laundry or light cleaning, check in with your spouse/partner, or stay in touch by calling a friend or family member.
- Reduce Emotional Clutter. Millions of Americans are managing COVID-19-related stress and anxiety, which can be amplified by obsessively reading or watching the news or following social media. Setting limits for media consumption can help reduce anxiety and allow you to stay more focused on your work tasks. If you want to stay connected to what’s happening each day, set aside one break per day to catch up on the news. After catching up on the news, take a quick walk or get some fresh air, which will give your mind some time to process before getting right back to work. This will help you maintain your focus, remain positive, and improve productivity.
While working from home isn’t normally for everyone, during a global pandemic, it absolutely is normal. The CDC, WHO, and other leading national healthcare experts recommend staying at home whenever possible. At this point, everyone working from home is a huge experiment for employers and employees everywhere. Strengthening your ability to be as productive as possible while working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic could open the doors for future flexibility once the world returns to some semblance of normalcy. But if you are like many – you’ll be more than ready to get back to the office once restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, being consistently productive can help you stand out from the crowd as a high-performing employee at a time when there are so many uncertainties so stay positive, focused, and productive, but most importantly – stay healthy!
GeBBS Healthcare Solutions is a national leading provider of Revenue Cycle Management services and solutions. Our in-depth healthcare industry knowledge and experience enables us to provide innovative, end-to-end technology driven solutions to successfully resolve revenue cycle challenges, while fiscally enhancing overall business operations. To learn more about our technology enabled solutions, visit us at gebbs.com