I hope you all are continuing to stay safe and healthy.
Here in Kansas City, businesses and retailers are starting to reopen as the city eases its coronavirus restrictions, but like many of you I am not rushing to return to a shared office space just yet.
Working from home is great for reducing your daily commute and is obviously ideal in terms of practicing proper social distancing, but it can also be challenging to remain focused and connected to your work when the lines between your personal home life and your work life are so blurred.
With this in mind, I wanted to share a few tips with you that help me maintain my focus and more importantly my mental health while navigating these new workplace dynamics.
Set up a Designated Workspace
Whether you have a home office or not, make sure you have a space in your house where you can spread out and concentrate without disturbing other members of your family or letting them disturb you. Going to this same space everyday ensures that your mind will associate this space with work and not the personal tasks that are so temptingly close.
Dress Up (Sort Of)
As much as most of us are living in sweatpants right now, it’s still important to maintain some aspects of your morning routine to get you in the work mindset. No need to commit to putting on a suit or heels, but at least change out of your pajamas, brush your teeth, and go through any other steps to make you feel ready and awake for the day.
Part of being productive is learning to step away from work to refocus when you’re in a funk and can’t seem to be making any progress. Get away from your screen and take a walk outside, talk to a friend or family member, or even do some spring cleaning. When you return to your desk with a refreshed attitude, you’ll be more prepared to maximize the time you do have to work.
Stay Connected with your Coworkers
When working from home, it’s easy to feel isolated or disconnected from your office. Make sure you’re utilizing instant messaging and videoconferencing tools to stay connected to coworkers both for your own personal health and the greater health of the company.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone if you feel that you aren’t being heard – sometimes words can be misinterpreted over text. And remember to share the occasional funny email with coworkers to lighten the mood.
There are plenty of other strategies for maximizing your time when working from home, but these are a few that I have found to be the most helpful for me. Ultimately, I would suggest using trial and error to figure out what functions best for you, since every person works differently.
I would also love to hear from you about how you work best from home. Out of the box strategies are especially encouraged.
Please continue to make smart decisions both for your own health and the health of others. I know it is difficult to picture a life after the pandemic right now, but I am confident that together we can carry each other through this difficult period.
~ Michael Gortenburg, CEO and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.