Welcome back to another monthly blog post. We are Hanna Lee, Marketing and HR Assistant, and Heloisa Gomes, Administrative Assistant, at Encepta. Since Encepta has always offered our employees a hybrid work style, we would like to share some ideas on achieving results while working from home (WFH). We hope you can find inspiration to implement some of these strategies to ensure you make the most of your day!
It can be overwhelming to completely change your routine all at once. We recommend focusing on 1 or 2 habits to implement, and once that feels natural, start integrating more strategies. These tips may work differently for you than with your co-worker, friend, or family member, so try different directions until you find what works for you!
Pick a workspace that you can use consistently, free from distractions, that will help you stay focused and productive. Remember to have conversations with others that may be at home about your boundaries and expectations as well.
Maintaining a schedule similar to working in an office can help you stay organized and on track. However, it's also important to be flexible and adjust your schedule as necessary to accommodate unexpected events.
Breaks and wellness check-ins are essential for productivity. When needed, step away from your workspace and take a few minutes to move around, stretch, or grab a snack.
Turn off notifications on your devices and limit the number of apps and websites you open simultaneously. Try to keep only the essential and relevant things open and eliminate multitasking. Multitasking can be counterproductive and decrease work quality.
Break down the tasks you need to accomplish into smaller, more manageable chunks. Then prioritize them based on importance and due date. This will minimize feelings of overwhelmingness.
There are many tools and apps available to help you stay organized and efficient while working from home. Consider using task-management apps like Notion or ClickUp, scheduling tools like your Calendar, and email to keep on top of work.
Staying connected with your team is crucial for maintaining a sense of community and accountability while working remotely. Utilize company programs like Slack to communicate with team members to stay connected and accountable. Organize social events to connect with other employees on a more personal level.
Sometimes, working from home can be isolating, so it's important to take breaks and get outside when possible. Fresh air and a change of scenery can help you relax and reset, ultimately boosting your productivity.
Andra (A): “While working from home, I ensure my space is clean and organized so that I can easily reach for my notepad, pens, etc. I also keep cords out of the way. A clean space designated specifically as a workstation always helps.”
Hassan (H): “The biggest thing that helps me stay focused when working from home is understanding when I can do my most focused work and leveraging that. I set up “Focus Blocks” for one hour each in my schedule (usually in the morning) and implement the Pomodoro technique to do uninterrupted work within that time. This has helped me tremendously in being very efficient with my time working from home.
A: “Always start the day by doing something for yourself, whatever that means. Sometimes it can be a warm shower to start the day fresh. A moment of silence while drinking coffee free of distractions. A moment to meditate before work. Even to put on nice clothes as if you were going into the office and making a lunch date with yourself/co-worker later.”
H: “I think having a routine doing something you enjoy outside of work is an important aspect of avoiding burnout while working from home. For me, that would be working out and playing basketball. These are my hobbies, and when I am done working from home, they help my brain detach from work, which is a challenge for many working from home.”
A: “First and foremost, treat them like people. Ask about their day and be kind to your team. This establishes a sense of trust. Then do what you said you would do and hold them accountable too. Set reminders for yourself, etc. Make time to check in here and there and create social events.”
H: “One aspect that helps to communicate effectively with my team and maintain a sense of collaboration and teamwork is our weekly meetings that occur on Mondays and Thursdays. We can talk about our weekends and upcoming work in the week on a Monday’s meeting and then give an update on Thursday on the work we accomplished and our plans for the weekend. It’s rewarding to update my team on the work I have achieved that particular week, share fun activities I have planned for my weekend and, most importantly, be able to hear what my team accomplished and their plans.”
A: “Losing track of time and losing motivation. Set up timers for yourself and reward systems. For example, I will put 1 hour of interrupted focus on a task. After that hour, I will go make myself tea for 5 minutes. After 4 hours of work, I will go on a 10-minute walk, etc.”
H: “One challenging aspect for me would be the lack of people I get to interact with. I love being able to bounce ideas off my colleagues and teammates and brainstorm solutions together on the fly, which is sometimes difficult to do when working remotely. However, having access to the recently available office space has immensely helped combat this challenge. I usually book office space in our Edmonton office once a week and can invite my team members. We can collaborate, brainstorm, and interact with each other. This has helped curb this challenge while working remotely.”
A: “My established routine is based on the challenges I faced and how I learned to overcome them”
H: “I try to structure my day based on a priority list of my work tasks. Doing the tasks on top of my priority list first in the morning when I am most focused and using the focus blocks and the Pomodoro technique to accomplish the most important task in the first half of the day. This allows me to feel a sense of accomplishment and stay productive every day.”
A: “Writing down my tasks, tracking my work production based on a day, on a week, and on a month. Always, always setting goals and working on being accountable for them.”
H: “Apart from setting up focus blocks and using the Pomodoro technique, I would say that staying undistracted is critical in helping me focus. So, for this reason, I love Slack’s “Pause notification” functionality, which has helped me stay focused for longer periods. Another aspect which has helped me stay focused is avoiding blue screen lights for long periods while working from home. Having blue light filter glasses is my personal favourite, and using my computer’s built-in “Night Light” feature, which eliminates the harsh blue tint from my monitor screens. These have been game changers for my focus and avoiding eye strain.”
Remember, everyone's experience working from home is different, so try different strategies until you find what works best for you. Start by implementing 1 or 2 of our tips, and once those become natural, integrate more strategies into your routine. With the right mindset and strategies, WFH can be just as productive as working in an office.
As an engineering company involved in everything, you can imagine that we are a tight-knit group of people. With the emergence of COVID-19, however, all our personal interactions in the office were cut off, and we had to devise other ways to stay in touch and remain productive throughout the day.
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