01 April at 10:00AM
7 Productivity Tips on Working From Home during the COVID-19
Amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, in response to advisories from public health authorities, Ontario declared a state of emergency, forcing many companies to implement mandatory work-from-home (WFH) policies.
For some project teams, working remotely is either an everyday activity or a totally new playground. No matter which category you belong, working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic might feel overwhelming – unprecedented, in its entirety.
These coping strategies will help you take ownership of your roles while getting work done and maintaining your overall well-being.
1- Designate a Workspace
For many, a key challenge when it comes to working remotely is drawing the line between their lives at work from home.
Getting into the rhythm of WFH could be mentally and physically draining for most project managers because most of us are stuck to a well-structured daily routine.
Allocate an isolated space for a “home office”, and make it a point to separate this area from where you will relax or spend some alone/family time.
Develop a practical WFH routine that mimics your regular workday!
2 - Set Clearly Defined Work Time: Try out the Pomodoro
Time management is a big one during these times. Something about WFH shouts flexible hours in our minds. This can create a false perception of time.
Get into the habit of making to-do lists; use a calendar/planner to avoid losing sight of priorities, deadlines and relevant tasks. Alternatively, there are lots of project management apps that can make WFH feel more natural.
Break down large projects into chunks using these techniques and distribute them to your remote teams.
If you work in small to medium-sized teams, you could try using Pomodoro with a colleague working on similar tasks. There are a couple of mobile compatible apps that incorporate the technique in maximizing productive hours. Check out Focus To-Do.
Track your work hours, mentally check out like you would on a normal workday, and celebrate the successful outcomes of each day.
3 - Avoid work creep
It is no secret that we have had to take on extra work to compensate for the contingencies; as a result of the COVID-19. Don’t get caught up in the vicious loop of overworking to overcompensate.
If you manage to define work hours, prioritize tasks, and develop an efficient schedule; these will increase your overall performance while WFH.
Take charge of the Clock!
4 - Invest in Professional Development
As project managers, we cannot overlook this great opportunity for continuous learning. Take the time to learn new things, brush up on existing skills, take an online workshop and earn rewards in the form of PDUs. It is a win-win situation!
PDU-worthy courses online:
5 - Communicate Effectively
Want to maintain the magic of face-to-face communication while WFH? Yes, Video chat serves the purpose. Video Conferencing is the hallmark of remote work. Get acquainted with the numerous platforms available; take a vote with your team and decide on the widely accepted forum.
Out of sight does not necessarily mean out of mind. For the project manager, adapting to these uncertain times is a walk in the park.
Check-in with co-workers frequently: set up video meetings and conference calls regularly.
6 - Stay physically and mentally active
Exercise boosts release of endorphins, naturally-occuring chemicals in the brain responsible for contentment and happiness.
Keep moving with HIIT exercises that can be done right from home without necessarily using any equipment.
Use a Vision Board to keep your ultimate goal in sight, and stay motivated.
Don't forget to socialize with your circle, Take short breaks and Stretch regularly!
7- Stay informed
- Get validated information about COVID-19 from your local public health authorities on best practices: Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Follow the updates for your local provincial or state government: The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Ontario.ca.
- Log into the Project Management Institute website at least once a week to get updates on how other project managers across the globe are tackling the COVID-19 situation.
- Follow your local chapter on social media for latest news and developments.