Working from home quickly became the standard, whether companies and employees were prepared for it or not social distancing required businesses to keep their community safe and shift to remote work. COVID-19 won’t last forever but remote work will continue to grow as an essential work opportunity. What you learn from this pandemic will prepare you for the future of adapting to new working dynamics.
Advantis Global’s company culture thrives on high energy and building relationships so for us the hardest part of working from home has been the lack of in person interactions. With the help of our creative company leaders we have been able to adjust and set up as many virtual connections to keep that energy going.
We interviewed leaders in from our management, sales and payroll teams and collected their 5 essential tips to help staffing teams thrive from this new normal.
1.) You Need A Dedicated Workplace
You’ve seen this on every WFH list but setting up a workspace is truly essential; it not only improves your ability to focus and limit distractions but ensures you have the clarity to be productive.
Our business development manager, Sarah Birns, shares “its important to set up your workspace in a quiet room with limited distractions! I personally make sure to avoid working from my bedroom, sitting on a bed or couch, or near a TV.
Our Director of Training, Kyle Dover, also “if you have others that are going to be in your workspace, make sure that you communicate about your schedule ahead of time so that everyone is on the same page.”
2.) Stay Connected
Sarah highlighted how technology is so important, “having a solid internet connection and my preferred computer screen, was a complete game changer! The biggest change I am adapting to is holding client meetings virtually (via Zoom or Facetime) instead of in-person. For the most part, I think the transition to this was very smooth, and I feel so lucky to live in a world where we can still be so connected virtually, even without meeting in person!.”
Kyle was actually seeing response times improve and more virtual connections “With the right video conference and chat apps I am confident that my scheduled trainings and everyday support for my team is accessible. Zoom and Microsoft Teams help us stay connected, in some respects i’m feeling like I get answers and responses quicker than I normally do. Efficiency is still really high!”
3.) Have a Routine
This was overall the hardest for all in the beginning and with good reason everyone's experience at home is different. Whether a working parent, living alone, or with roommates creating routines for oneself or a family is key.
Aida Williams, our Payroll Lead, shares her experience as a mother juggling work with two toddlers, "...I had no idea how we could entertain them constantly while simultaneously focusing on my work duties. Luckily by the end of week one I was able to set up a daily routine that worked well for all of us!”
Sarah also found comfort in creating her own structure, “I started planning my time around the daily team zoom meetings by making a schedule to accomplish goals and commitments for each day. I found it much easier to stay on track and hold myself accountable with limited distractions.”
Kyle reminds us of our normal work habits too, “transition your routine to include your regular work at the office habits, this is what makes you successful on a regular basis. Still exercise, eat breakfast, and get dressed! Communicate your schedule to whom you need to whether it includes blocks, breaks, or calls so everyone is on the same page.”
4.) Unplug When Needed
With the ability to always be online and connected it’s also important to limit the screen time when not working.
Aida was able to set clear boundaries and enjoy time with her girls, “I make sure to shut down work at least an hour before dinner and spend time with my kids. They are currently enjoying tea parties, puzzles, and reading. I look forward to spending time laughing and playing together at the end of each day.”
Kyle also has a young 18 month old and for him, “the easiest part of working from home was not having to deal with the Bay Area traffic. As soon as I wrapped up my work for the day I could turn all my attention, almost instantaneously, to my family.”
Sarah reminds us all of the power of taking breaks. “Make sure to take breaks! It gets very lonely working from home, so keep a strong goal of taking care of yourself. Make a coffee, stretch, or facetime a friend during the day. Make sure you take your regular lunch break and enjoy a meal in the middle of your day. You can still do things that make you happy, you just have to implement them.”
5.) Keep A Healthy Productive Mindset
Kyle was pleasantly surprised with his teams adaptability. “In this time of uncertainty I have seen all our team make an efficient transition to working from home and managing the complexities of the situation really well. We are working really hard and continue to support each to maintain a healthy and productive mindset.”
When we asked Aida how she stays positive she shared a series of gems, “I stay positive by focusing on my faith, family and seeking solutions vs. worrying about the problem. Life is about perspective, and we still have the power to impact lives by putting them to work if you’re a recruiter, and my impact is being able to process payroll so our employees can support their families. We can’t take our responsibilities lightly as we are fortunate to be in this situation and have the ability to help others. Also, I limited how much news I allowed myself to watch. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now for everyone so we just have to control what we can control.”
For Sarah, it has been the additional efforts in checking in as a team that have helped. “At the end of each workday, our office sends out a daily email answering the question “what made you smile today?” This activity really helps me pause and think about all the positive moments and small wins from the day. I look forward to reading those emails from my coworkers every day! It reminds me to stay positive because there is always something to smile about, even in such hard and uncertain times!”
Remote work can bring up a series of emotions but can also be manageable with some structure. We don’t have all the answers but we have found these tips to help us take care of ourselves, stay productive and manage this new normal.