Humans are most definitely creatures of habit. For the most part, these habits are a rather useful evolutionary feature of living in a modern world. They enable us to make easy decision through an ‘autopilot’ and helps us to save our mental energy for more important tasks and decisions.
When we get into a car and drive off, we don’t need to think about the separate actions of buckling a seat belt, turning on the ignition, putting the car in drive, checking the mirrors and the blind spot, and pressing the gas pedal. All these steps, bundled into a single unit in the memory, are triggered by the environmental cue of getting into your car.
Having the opportunity to make decisions can be good and healthy; but having to make too many decisions can lead to fatigue. That is why routines are important to our daily lives.
With the advent of the world’s largest work-from-home experiment, many people are now facing drastic changes to their personal and professional habits. Old routines and habits can no longer be applied. We now have to establish new habits in order to not mentally exhaust ourselves.
Here are a few strategies that have been compiled to help teams to maintain productivity and prevent mental burnout.
Stick to the usual schedule
When working remotely, try to stick to your old schedule. It will help with the transition when you make use of your old habits while making minor adjustments to fit your new environment.
To the extent possible, keep your usual office hours. Try to get up at the same time, and do all the things you would typically do to get ready for work. If your day usually begins with a status meeting, organise the same on Zoom or Google Hangouts. If you squeeze in a workout before heading to the office, don’t skip your sweat session.
Set some ground rules with family
When working from home, it would be a good idea to have a dedicated study or room where you can sit and work in undisturbed. It is important to set boundaries with anyone who will also be using your space, keeping in mind that we’re all functioning outside of our comfort zones.
It is a good idea to gather the family together to go over some basic points and rules for working so that you will not get on each other’s nerves. With ground rules established, it will be easier for all parties to organise their day and work effectively.
Provide teams with the infrastructure to succeed
While resources may be limited, do your best to set up a neat, organised workspace where all of your hardware is readily accessible.
During times like these, the usual resources that we easily have access to are not present. However, we live in a digital world now. Employers and leaders can help their employees by establishing online communication software to ensure teams stay connected.
They can also help by providing employees a means of accessing the companies, resources and data on the cloud; thus allowing them to work more effectively from home.
Accept that home will never replicate the office
While working from home can offer some great perks, it doesn’t come without some drawbacks. Distractions abound, communication is more challenging and family obligations may compete for your attention.
Getting distracted comes with the work-from-home package. However, do not feel too bad for yourself. With a little practice, you might find new ways to be efficient and work just as effectively from home.
Take time to ease yourself into your new schedule, and you will find that it will become easier to focus and be more productive out of habit.