Effective Ways to Maintain (and possibly improve) Productivity While Working at Home

As many of us embark on week two of working remotely – I offer you several tips to stay healthy, sane and PRODUCTIVE!

  1. Stick to a routine. Get up at your regular time, take a shower, brush your teeth and get dressed! While you might not need to wear what you would to the office, it is imperative that you get out of your pajamas. Throw on some comfortable, yet presentable clothing (even if only from the waist up). You don’t want to get caught with the “I just rolled out of bed look” when your boss, client or colleague sends you an impromptu video chat.
    Maintain your regular schedule.  If you typically work eight-to-five, keep doing it at home.
  2. Create a workspace. Ideally, you want to choose a quiet, private space with little to no distractions and secure Wi-Fi. Set up a desk with everything you need. If that is not possible, use an existing table area. While it might not be 100% ergonomic, it is certainly better than sitting on the sofa or staying in bed!
  3. Remember your ABCs – Always Be Communicating. As Teresa Ralicki discussed in her March 19, 2020 post, stay connected to colleagues. Find tools that allow you to communicate and collaborate regularly throughout the day and be sure to carve out face-to-face time each day. Set up a water cooler chat channel for socializing in lieu of hallway chitchat. You are going to miss it.
  4. Move! Be sure to take every opportunity to stand, stretch and move around. Do you have a minute between meetings? Do some squats. Need to read a lengthy email or article? Stand up! On the phone? Walk while you talk. Of course, be sure to take breaks and take a walk outside during lunch.
  5. Major perk…no commute! Remember that drive or bus route you no longer have twice a day? Make the best of it! This is the perfect time to exercise, practice yoga, meditate, read, journal, take a walk or start a new hobby.
  6. Fresh air does the body AND MIND good. Get outside as often as possible and on warmer days, open the windows to dilute indoor pollutants! Fresh air is great for your overall well-being: 1. helps digestion, 2. improves blood pressure, 3. increases serotonin and makes you happier, 4. strengthens your immune system, 5. cleans your lungs and 6. gives you more energy and a sharper mind.
  7. No multitasking. Many of us pride ourselves on the ability to juggle multiple things at once. Do yourself a favor and resist the urge. Do not let household chores distract you from being productive at work.
  8. Children. While remote work is usually not a replacement for childcare, the COVID-19 situation has created a unique situation and exception. The struggle is real folks. No doubt about it. Especially for those of you with babies and toddlers. If you have family members living with you, older children or a partner that can share the responsibility during the workday, wonderful! If not, evaluate your work responsibilities and explore options with your supervisor. Is it possible to rearrange your hours to work early, during naps and after normal business hours? For older children, establish clear expectations and boundaries. Offer them new activities to keep them busy and use breaks to check-in. Have a work call or meeting? Lock yourself in an isolated space and put a note shaped like a stop sign on the door that reads, “STOP. I am on a work call. Please be quiet. I will check in as soon as possible. Love, Mom/Dad”.

Questions? Want to discuss further? Call your Ombuds.

Wishing you many sane, healthy and productive weeks ahead.

By: Elizabeth Hill, Associate Director, University of Colorado Boulder Ombuds Office

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