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The New Normal – Tips and Tricks for Making the Most of At Home and Virtual Work

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It’s temporary, but we’re all adjusting to this “new normal”.
There are a lot of firsts. Working from home full-time, exclusively virtual meetings…it can be a lot to take in.

In this blog, we’re covering some of our favorite tips for at-home and virtual work – How to stay connected, remain productive, and make the most out of your new normal.

YOUR AT-HOME OFFICE

Set a Schedule

Keep your work days as normal and routine as possible. Get up at the same time every day, establish office hours for yourself, and stick to them. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that work needs to take over your at-home life.

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Make Some Space

It can be tempting to lay on the couch, or maybe even prop yourself up in bed, but are you really the most productive in those spots? Establish a dedicated place for your work at home. Set it up with everything you need for your day, just as you would an office desk. Grab your notebook, pens, and post-its and make it your own! Having a dedicated work space is especially helpful in separating your work and personal life.

Dress for Confidence

There’s a lot about working from home that’s great, and some might say that working in your pajamas is a big perk. We recommend wearing whatever makes you feel most confident! When you feel your best, you tackle tasks with a new level of tenacity. Whatever you’re wearing, try to start your day with some aspect of ‘getting ready’ whether that’s making a cup of coffee or getting a walk in before your day starts. Starting your day off this way brings some normalcy to your routine and has a positive impact on your mindset for the day.

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Take a Break (No Really)

When you’re in the office, you’re not constantly sitting down at your desk, and working from home should be no different. Taking breaks is important for your mental health and will actually help increase your productivity. Whether it’s taking a break for a deep stretch, a walk outside, or a quick workout, it’s important to step away every now and then and bring some variety to your workday. Which brings us to our next point…

Plan Social Connections

In the office, you’re not alone, and you shouldn’t be at home either! Schedule time with your team for some non-work-related conversations. Whether it’s a virtual coffee break, happy hour, or just time to catch up, it’s important to plan time to connect with your coworkers and embrace human connection. We’ve been seeing some great examples of virtual team building events lately, from virtual wine and paint nights to virtual scavenger hunts. Think outside the box and get everyone together even though they’re physically apart!

ROCK THOSE VIRTUAL MEETINGS

Virtual meetings are a necessity right now, and no matter what platform you’re using, they can take some getting used to. Humans aren’t meant to communicate entirely online, we crave true human connection, so how can you create virtual meetings that are productive, but still bring people together?

Be Present Without Being Present

While you may not be in the same room as your team members, pretend you are! You wouldn’t be mindlessly scrolling through your phone during an in-person meeting, so don’t do it now. Ignore those dishes piling up in your sink - Don’t let your in-home surroundings distract you from the task at hand. You can schedule separate time for those. Give your full attention to the speakers just as you would in the office. Take notes, ask questions, and be present - You’ll be sure to get more out of your meetings.

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Turn on Your Video

Even if it’s uncomfortable for you at first, we encourage camera-on meetings. Seeing each other’s faces helps you all to continue to connect, and read each other’s facial expressions/reactions as you’re talking. Some people may be alone during this time, and seeing people’s faces is a welcome change. If you’re in charge of scheduling a meeting, perhaps include “cameras on!” in the invitation, so no one is caught off-guard.

Make Time for Casual Conversation

Picture a normal, in-office meeting at your workplace. How does the meeting start? Do you all silently enter the room and start with immediate work-talk? Probably not. As people are logging into the meeting, and before you jump into the main topic, take some time to ask how everyone is doing and allow for some idle chit chat. Once you’ve gone over everything you need to, the end of the meeting is a great time to talk too! Those who need to get off can exit the call, but others can use this time to dig into some fun, new working from home stories and experiences.

Include Introverts

Some people are more reserved and not as likely to chime in on the conversation. If you sense some people are having a hard time connecting, try to get them involved! If they don’t respond to the blanket “how’s everyone doing?” question, find a specific question to ask them and address them by name. For example, “Mark, how is it being home with the kids?”, or “Amanda, have you been catching up on Stranger Things?” Help to make them feel recognized during a time when we’re all feeling a little isolated.