With the changes specifically in the workplace during COVID-19, it’s an adjustment for many to be working remotely, but it isn’t a new concept. There’s many emotions employees experience if they aren’t used to working remotely. The most important thing we can do is help each other feel supported and connected. Here are four tips for remote-working:

1-Routine. Keep the same daily work schedule. This is helpful especially when there’s uncertainty in our lives, the certainty of our routine helps us feel more stable by having structure to look to. A daily routine also helps reduce our stress with a consistent plan. As John Maxwell said, “The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

Be sure to get ready and say goodbye to your pajamas while working. Putting on real clothes gets you in the right mindset of work mode instead of home mode to start your work day effectively. Along with helping you feel more professional, which you owe to yourself and your job. 

2-Encourage a dedicated workspace. This is what separates your job or career from a hobby. Declaring a workspace reduces distractions, helps you be more productive and organized. For the first week of working remotely from home I was working from my laptop and switching locations from the dining table and couch. I quickly realized I was having a hard time turning off work and actually working more. It was hard for me to ‘shut off’ work when I needed to. 

That Friday I went to my office and picked up my monitor, cords, mouse, and trackpad. I set up my workspace downstairs on a small table we weren’t using and got an office chair. It has made a world of difference in my stress-level, attitude and productivity. 

3-Maintain relationships. Check in daily with employees and other colleagues. As a manager I try to check in with my employees daily through Skype chat, text or a phone call, to see how they’re doing personally and professionally. Taking the time to check in with employees and not just about work helps us feel connected and supported.

It’s not easy working remotely for some employees. There’s feelings of loneliness and social isolation, since there are not as many opportunities to connect with others in a remote-work environment. With several communication technology options, many are using for virtual meetings, chats, and the like. 

Many companies also have virtual events, such as virtual yoga, lunch, happy hours after work hours, along with teams sharing interesting articles, videos or experiences to promote a sense of belonging.   

4-Take breaks. Make sure you don’t get chained to your chair or computer. There have been days where I am guilty of doing this. Take time for a break. Taking breaks improve your mind, creativity and productivity. Decide what breaks look like and schedule them on your calendar. Break ideas include: stretching, standing up and going outside, going for a walk, reading a fun article or video.

For me, each night I schedule a set time to exercise and put it on my calendar.  Exercising doesn’t have to be intense and can be taking a walk outside, lifting weights, doing a free workout video on YouTube or other apps that are offering free workouts at this time. Exercise benefits our physical bodies but also our mind, attitude and mood. I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing I have taken the time for me.

Remote-work is an adjustment, however, with some of these tips we can improve our productivity professionally and personally to be the best employee and team member.

Lori B. Williams, MPA
University of Utah Health, Associate Director of Marketing
Follow on Twitter: @lorib_williams

Lori Williams, MPA, is an associate director of marketing for University of Utah Health. For the past 11 years, she has worked in marketing and communications in the health care and education industries. She has created and lead successful marketing and communications campaigns, which include the rebrand initiative for U of U Health, Breast Assured, Vas Madness and Here for Every Body.  Lori, a Cali girl, is a transplant to Utah; you can find her on the ski slopes in the winter and spending quality time with her husband and lively son, which is her pride and joy. She is fro-yo fanatic, adventure seeker and enjoys learning from others. 

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