I have a stunning fact for you: in 2019, about 16% of the U.S. workforce worked remotely at least some of the time.
It’s hard to believe that statistic considering how normal remote work has become in 2020.
In a recent Gartner survey, 88% of business organizations from all over the world mandated or highly encouraged all their employees to work from home during the onset of the pandemic in March.
If you, like many others, expect to find yourself working remotely well into 2021, we have some expert tips on how to improve the work from home experience. As a remote-first company, we have some tried and true methods to stay productive and bond as a team while working from home. Use these tips to reignite your passion for work in 2021.
Embrace new communication channels and make time to socialize.
Without the frequent interactions of daily office life, communication can become difficult and disjointed. When you’re working from home, it takes more effort to effectively collaborate and communicate.
You’re going to have to embrace new communication channels, such asTeams, Slack, or Zoom. You’ve probably got a solid system in place to keep up with team to-dos and progress and are well-versed in the new communication tools available at your fingertips.
Staying on top of projects while working remotely is crucial to every business, but don’t forget to set time aside to socialize. Remote work can be very lonely, especially if you’re used to working in an office with lots of coworkers and small talk. It’s very important to actually set aside time to socialize to support employee health, engagement, and overall happiness.
Try making it a priority to chat with five coworkers each day. Just taking five to 10 minutes to chat can do wonders for your mood and work satisfaction. If you want to get creative, see if any coworkers would like to start a virtual book club, tasting club, or game group to get some socialization time in.
Feeling Zoomed out? If you’re suffering from Zoom fatigue, check out this article for tips on minimizing the exhaustion that comes from too many video calls.
Focus on mental health.
According to the American Psychological Association, 2020 has brought forth a national mental health crisis. In a recent survey, nearly 1 in 5 adults said their mental health is worse than it was at this time last year.
The impacts of 2020 on our psyche are not going to dissipate anytime soon. To shift the tides, there needs to be a focus on improving mental health and providing outlets to proactively take care of stress before it possibly turns into a crisis.
For individuals, this might mean seeking out a therapist or psychiatrist, reading books on mental health and coping with stress, or finding positive ways to relieve stress. Organizations can take time to highlight medical benefits around mental health, invest in mental health focused initiatives, and encourage employees to take time off when they begin feeling overwhelmed or burnt out.
Did you know? Formstack employees access confidential coaches who can help them navigate stress through Bravely. Listen to our SVP of HR, Miranda, discuss the importance of Bravely in the podcast episode Adjusting to a New Reality.
Replace the physical whiteboard with something digital.
Collaboration looks and feels different when you’re remote. Things that used to be easy, like grabbing a conference room to chat or brainstorming on a whiteboard, are a bit more difficult now.
But there’s no need to despair! If you’re a lover of collaborating over a whiteboard, there are lots of digital options available to help you reimagine team brainstorming in 2021. Here are just a few digital whiteboards you can use to make collaborating easier next year:
Set a realistic schedule.
Burnout is real. It has a major impact on employees, reflected in the $190B per year employers spend on burnout-related healthcare costs.
When working from home, setting a realistic schedule is crucial to minimizing burnout. It can easily feel like you should be on all the time when your home is your workplace. But don’t let this trap you into a cycle of working 24/7.
As Mike Barnes mentioned in a recent Ripple Effect episode, it’s incredibly important to set a schedule—and stick to it. This not only helps you avoid burnout, but also helps you stay more focused within your working hours.
If your calendar app allows, add your working hours to ensure coworkers know when you’re on and when you’re off. Also add time blocks as needed for lunch, school pickups, and child care needs.
Pro Tip: If you’re able to set your own working hours, set up your schedule so that you’re working when you’re most productive. Align your schedule to when you’re able to focus best, whether it be morning, mid-day, or evening.
Reimagine and Reignite Work in 2021
Although no one can predict what is ahead, using the tips above can help you make working from home more enjoyable and hopefully a bit less stressful. Let’s hope 2021 will bring fewer challenges and more joy.
Head into 2021 on a positive note by listening to the Ripple Effect podcast episode Reimagine and Reignite Your Work in 2021 now! From tips on keeping company culture thriving during a pandemic to using no-code tools to be more productive, this episode covers a lot. Listen now and be ready to start 2021 with more energy, focus, and ideas.