Since the influx of COVID-19 cases in early 2020, offices across the country have closed—leaving marketing and advertising teams to work remotely full-time. It’s possible that this is the first time telecommuting has been your primary work style, and it comes with its own challenges.
As you transition to a new normal, here are some tips to effectively manage your time while avoiding burnout or work-life imbalances:
1. Dress Like You’re Office-Bound
This tip may seem obvious, but it is essential. Putting on “real” clothes sends the message to your brain that sleep time is over and the workday has begun. Keeping daily routines in place, like getting dressed and brushing your hair and teeth, helps create normalcy in a new situation. It may be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, but you will benefit from dressing like you’re headed to the office. Besides, with video conferences as a main form of telework communication, you won’t want to show up to your Zoom meeting with bedhead.
2. Make a To-Do List
A great method to stay productive, in or out of the office, is to start your day by making a to-do list. A list can help ease anxiety and generate a sense of accomplishment. A good to-do list is specific; it breaks down big projects into smaller, more manageable goals. As you complete your tasks, take a moment to revel in the satisfaction of crossing it off your list. If you don’t complete every task you planned to, that’s okay! Look at your remaining to-dos as a head start on tomorrow’s list.
3. Take Breaks
There are an infinite number of ways in which technology improves our lives. It allows us to stay connected with people across the globe and gives us the option to work from home during these uncertain times. However, the constant sense of connection can be detrimental as well. It is imperative for your physical and mental health to take breaks from your work and devices. If you’re able, give yourself at least 30 minutes for lunch, take the occasional 10-minute screen break, and get outside for a quick walk around the block. Your health and work will benefit from it.
4. Prioritize Communication
Without the option of in-person meetings, team collaboration can take a hit. As a manager, implement multiple forms of communication and take time to learn everyone’s preferences. Some team members may favor email or instant messaging, while others prefer video conferencing. There are also many project management tools like Basecamp, Asana or Trello that help break large projects down into smaller tasks, monitor progress, and streamline communication.
5. Keep a Dedicated Workspace
With your office now in your home, worktime can easily bleed into your personal time. If you don’t regularly disconnect from work, your productivity can suffer, as well as your home life. If you don’t have the room for an office, reorganize and redecorate a table as your new dedicated workspace. Avoid working from spots like your bedroom or couch. These are places for leisure — not work.
Whether telecommuting is a permanent or temporary solution, there are tangible ways to make the most out of your days working from home. Be patient, as it may take some time to figure out what works best for you. Try implementing some of these tips to improve your team’s productivity and internal communication. While Coronavirus has us all taking extra precautions to stay in good physical health, it is important that we improve our mental fitness as well by maintaining a healthy work-life balance!