By Meghan Jarret
Although many companies are bringing their workforces back into the workplace, many employees across the country have resorted to keeping their employees remote due to the still pertinent effects of COVID-19. As a result, many employees, including myself as a remote intern, have found themselves with a lack of motivation and focus that may result in the diminished quality of work employees are producing. Since we are all in this together, I want to share some of the useful tips that have helped me keep a routine and stay motivated and focused while working remotely for the past couple of months.
First and foremost, one of the main tips I found to be helpful is maintaining a routine, meaning your regular morning routine, hourly work schedule, and break times. In keeping a routine, you can return to some sense of normalcy in working despite being at home and maintain structure to your day since we can easily become distracted while working remotely. Similarly, maintaining your break times is a crucial part of staying productive during your workday. It’s important to take time for yourself to benefit both your mental health and productivity by walking away from your work for a period of time. In my experience, taking a walk during my lunch break is a great way to move away from your workspace and have some peace of mind in the fresh air, especially on a sunny fall day!
Next, let’s talk about your workspace. Because in the office you had your workspace apart from home life, it was significantly easier to separate the two settings. Now, however, the two have seemed to be intertwined with family, pets, and chores always present. To help combat the intermingling of the two, it is important to have a designated space apart from everything else that is solely dedicated to working. Furthermore, set expectations for that workspace, especially around other family members entering the space. Having a separate space will result in higher productivity and focus as there is a multitude of distractions that exist when working remotely.
In addition, socialization is a key dynamic in the workplace that many of us have lost due to the pandemic. As a result, communication is key when working remotely. Having full transparency in asking for help and over-communicating your needs will greatly benefit you in the end as others know that you are making the effort to communicate and ask for help you need to be successful in your work. Similarly, socialization includes social interaction, which can be done safely and socially distanced through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, Google Hangout, and more! As many of us miss our coworkers and teams, it is more crucial than ever to continue to have these interactions to benefit our mental health in a time of isolation. Although online face-to-face chats will never replace in-person social interaction, these are some of the many sacrifices we must take to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Although the pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, it’s important to continue to push ourselves to the best we can during this trying time. Whether you have children doing school remotely or you’re an intern like me, whatever you can do to better yourself in your work is all that matters in the end!