Information Today, Inc. Corporate Site KMWorld CRM Media Streaming Media Faulkner Speech Technology Unisphere/DBTA
Other ITI Websites
American Library Directory Boardwalk Empire Database Trends and Applications DestinationCRM EContentMag Faulkner Information Services Fulltext Sources Online InfoToday Europe Internet@Schools Intranets Today KMWorld Library Resource Literary Market Place OnlineVideo.net Plexus Publishing Smart Customer Service Speech Technology Streaming Media Streaming Media Europe Streaming Media Producer Unisphere Research



News & Events > NewsBreaks
Back Index Forward
Twitter RSS Feed
 



Tips for Working Smart at Home
by
Posted On May 12, 2020
I used to really enjoy working from home. Work-from-home days were reserved for those occasions when a particularly challenging task would just refuse to complete itself in the office. My home was this sacred place where I could clear hundreds of emails off my inbox, write annual reviews for the team, or formulate a compelling business case for a new project. It was a place free from office drama and from the usual distractions. A place where great things happened.

Now that I’m working from home every day, things aren’t as exciting anymore. Some days are productive, but other days, not so much. It made me wonder to what extent it’s possible to engineer a working environment at home that fosters both high job satisfaction and high achievement. Here’s what I learned over the last 6 weeks of working from home.

Fitness and Well-Being

In times of crisis, well-being and health should be the top priority for everyone. Even under normal circumstances, for example, depression among people who work in the tech sector is five times the U.K. national average, and their high levels of work-related stress are likened to those of health professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty that it brings further increase the risk of anxiety and depression. So if you ever thought about stepping up your game in terms of health and fitness, now is the time. It will make you more resilient and help you to cope with stress.

When the lockdown started, I tried to stick to my daily routine and replaced my usual 1-hour cycling commute with a morning ride of similar length near my home. As time went on, I experimented with different regimens, and found that a longer exercise period at the end of the work day is more beneficial because it acts as a natural divider between my busy working day and a relaxing evening with my family. It helps me to switch off from work and get a proper rest.

If finding enough time for fitness is an issue, try the scientific 7-minute workout, which is a set of simple, well-known exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, and crunches. It claims to provide similar benefits to longer workouts due to the high-intensity effort needed to complete it, and it doesn’t require expensive equipment or a lot of space.

For mental health, it is important to carry on doing things you enjoy. When we feel worried, anxious, or low, it’s easy to forget about the good things in life. Make a conscious effort to plan your free time in a similar way to how you plan your working day—and stick to it. My favorite activities during the lockdown have been jigsaw puzzles and listening to audiobooks by the fire in the backyard.

If, like me, you find yourself struggling with anxiety from time to time, consider the book Worry No More! by Bruce Van Horn. Van Horn invites you to see yourself as a director of the play of your life—as the person in charge who has the power to rewrite the script, leading to performances free of failures, anxieties, and insecurities. With practice, Van Horn argues, it is entirely within your power to change the script, to change your life. Worry is such a waste of imagination.

Productivity

Once you’re in the right place physically and mentally, you can consider factors that influence your productivity. According to a survey by Airtasker conducted in 2019, remote staffers work the equivalent of 1.4 days more every month than people who work in an office, which adds up to more than 3 additional weeks a year.

However, productivity isn’t just about being busy for a certain number of hours; it implies achieving what you set out to do. A productive day starts with a clear, meaningful, and achievable to-do list. Choose three to five things to do and aim to get most of them done by 3 p.m. Then review and reprioritize what you can realistically accomplish in the remaining hours of your working day, when your energy is naturally lower.

If you’ve not yet developed a habit of ruthless prioritization, check out The Bullet Journal Method. It takes you through goal-setting, scheduling, and decision-making principles in a way that feels like written meditation.

Once your goals are clear, the next trick is to get into a habit of taking regular breaks. No one can be productive indefinitely; we all go through peaks of concentration that inevitably subside and fade into long periods of inattention and fatigue. According to a study by the Draugiem Group, the ideal work rhythm is 52 minutes of work time followed by a 17-minute break.

People and Social Interactions

Working from home certainly distances you from distractions such as small talk, gossip, and office drama. And yet, being “out of sight, out of mind” all the time isn’t always where you want to be either! Effective relationships at work involve a mixture of formal discussions and informal chat. Good managers are consistent with their approach to communication regardless of whether they work remotely, and they should maintain the same structure of project meetings, team meetings, and one-to-ones. However, if you are not getting as many opportunities to build and maintain relationships as you should, take the initiative: Ask for more feedback, create a “water cooler” chat online, or organize a meeting or an event around a common hobby or a good cause. Online quizzes, online book clubs, and virtual running relays are some ideas that you can use to connect with your colleagues remotely on a personal level.

Conclusion

The situation we have found ourselves in amid the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. Remote working in the middle of the crisis is not necessarily what you would have planned it out to be—you may be lacking good equipment or adequate home office space. You may be lonely if you are living by yourself, or your mind may be all over the place if you work in a house full of children. Whatever your circumstances, every crisis brings risks as well as opportunities. With the right attitude, there is something we can all learn from this situation that will help us grow and transition into new way of working together.


Marianne Kay (mariannekay.com) currently leads a WCM team at the University of Leeds (U.K.). Prior to this, she led web CMS projects in large organizations, advised web CMS software vendors on product strategy and marketing, and worked with digital agencies specializing in WCM implementations.

Related Articles

4/7/2020Celebrating Sunshine Week During the COVID-19 Crisis
1/30/2020COVID-19 NEWS: Elsevier Introduces Coronavirus Resource
3/5/2020COVID-19 NEWS: EveryLibrary Provides a List of Coronavirus Resources
3/10/2020COVID-19 NEWS: CDC's 'Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary'
3/10/2020COVID-19 NEWS: FDA's 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) Supply Chain Update'
3/10/2020COVID-19 NEWS: EveryLibrary's 'Libraries and Accurate Information About the Coronavirus'
3/10/2020COVID-19 NEWS: HBR's 'How Coronavirus Could Impact the Global Supply Chain by Mid-March'
3/10/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'CDC Warns Against Long Plane Trips and Cruises as Coronavirus Cases Mount'
3/10/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'APA Applauds Congress for Funding Efforts to Fight Coronavirus'
3/10/2020COVID-19 NEWS: PW's 'As the New Coronavirus Spreads, Conferences Suffer'
3/10/2020COVID-19 NEWS: PR Daily's 'How Brand Managers Should Address COVID-19'
3/10/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Cancellation of ACS Spring 2020 National Meeting & Expo'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'ALA Executive Director Tracie Hall Releases Statement on COVID-19'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'PBS Responds to Coronavirus Pandemic With Programming and Online Content to Keep Americans Informed and Support Families and Educators'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Coronavirus-Impacted Libraries Get Unlimited Access to Ebook Central Holdings'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Resources From Gale on COVID-19'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'ASIS&T Authors Examine the Role of Information During a Global Health Crisis'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Elsevier Gives Full Access to Its Content on Its COVID-19 Information Center for PubMed Central …'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: OverDrive's 'No Cost and Low-Cost Ebook and Audiobook Collections for Your Community'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Working From Home: Your Common Challenges and How to Tackle Them'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: '9 Strategies for Working Remotely During the Coronavirus'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: ByWater Solutions' 'Preparing for Library Closures'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'JoVE Offers Free Access to Extensive STEM Education Video Library to Aid Remote Teaching & Learning …'
3/17/2020COVID-19 NEWS: ITI's Computers in Libraries Is Postponed
3/19/2020COVID-19 NEWS: Academic Libraries Compile Lists of Companies Offering Free Resources
3/19/2020COVID-19 NEWS: ARL's 'The Contribution Research Libraries Are Making'
3/19/2020COVID-19 NEWS: PR Daily's 'Why COVID-19 Should Prompt Questions About Cybersecurity'
3/24/2020An Internet Pioneer Delivers an Orwellian Warning in a Timely New Book
3/24/2020COVID-19 NEWS: EdSurge's 'How Librarians Continue Their Work Digitally Even as Coronavirus Closes Libraries'
3/24/2020COVID-19 NEWS: American Libraries' 'Fighting Fake News in the Pandemic'
3/24/2020COVID-19 NEWS: ACS's 'Can Soap Really "Kill" the Coronavirus?'
3/24/2020COVID-19 NEWS: IFLA's 'COVID-19 and the Global Library Field'
3/26/2020COVID-19 NEWS: CCC Helps Educators Use No-Cost Materials
3/26/2020COVID-19 NEWS: Instructions for 3D-Printed Masks
3/26/2020COVID-19 NEWS: Internet Archive Creates a National Emergency Library of Non-Waitlisted Titles
3/31/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Your Facebook Page Is Your New Public Library Branch'
3/31/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Now Is the Time for Open Access Policies—Here's Why'
3/31/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'FCC: Closed Schools, Libraries Can Still Get E-Rate Funding'
3/31/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Smartphone Data Reveal Which Americans Are Social Distancing (and Not)'
3/31/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Coronavirus Will End Tech Conferences and Events as We Know Them'
3/31/2020How Libraries Are Responding to a Global Pandemic
3/31/2020Coronavirus Reshapes Law While Reshaping Society
4/2/2020COVID-19 NEWS: Internet Archive's National Emergency Library Draws Backlash
4/2/2020COVID-19 NEWS: OCLC Launches Resource Page for Libraries
4/2/2020COVID-19 NEWS: ProQuest Unveils Coronavirus Research Database for Its Customers
4/2/2020COVID-19 NEWS: EBSCO Creates Portal for Healthcare Info Pros
4/7/2020COVID-19 NEWS: Internet Archive Defends the Launch of Its National Emergency Library
4/7/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'COVID-19 Information Overload Leads to Simple but Unhelpful Choices'
4/14/2020COVID-19 NEWS: IGI Global's 'What Is the Role of Libraries During the COVID-19 Pandemic?'
4/14/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Q&A: What Do People Ask a Librarian in a Pandemic? L.A. Library's InfoNow Has the Answer'
4/14/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Public Libraries Launch, Expand Services During COVID-19 Pandemic'
4/14/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'How Effective Is Quarantine Alone or in Combination With Other Public Health Measures ... ?'
4/14/2020COVID-19 NEWS: CRP's 'The Psychological Fight of Our Lives'
4/16/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Most Libraries Are Closed. Some Librarians Still Have to Go In.'
4/16/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'IMLS Announces New Stimulus Funding for Communities Across America'
4/16/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'EveryLibrary Creates Fund to Help Library Workers in Need Because of COVID-19 Shutdowns'
4/16/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Library of Congress Cancels Public Events Until July 1'
4/21/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'WHO COVID-19 Database Launches New Search Interface'
4/21/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Libraries Brace for Budget Cuts'
4/21/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Verizon Will Buy Video Conferencing Company BlueJeans'
4/23/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Stanford Law School Creates Free Database of COVID-19 Legal Memos'
4/23/2020COVID-19 NEWS: APA Announces More Free Resources
4/23/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'Startling Digital Divides in Distance Learning Emerge'
4/23/2020COVID-19 NEWS: European 'Commission Launches Data Sharing Platform for Researchers'
4/30/2020COVID-19 NEWS: Library Resources From SLA and IFLA
4/30/2020COVID-19 NEWS: CCC Plans a May 5 Virtual Town Hall About Building Digital Resiliency
4/30/2020COVID-19 NEWS: ReadCube Implements COVID-19 Research Pass Program for Free Content Access
5/5/2020Going Virtual: Libraries See Challenges and Opportunities in the Pandemic
5/5/2020COVID-19 NEWS: Megaputer Launches Geo-Map for Tracking Cases
5/7/2020COVID-19 NEWS: Mendeley Group Offers Studies on the Sex and Gender Dimensions of the Virus
5/12/2020'The "New Normal" Agenda for Librarianship' by R. David Lankes
5/12/2020COVID-19 NEWS: 'BiblioCommons Launches New Features to Support Libraries in an Online-Only Environment'


Comments Add A Comment

              Back to top