Working form home is here to stay. And for many employees, it remains difficult to maintain the same focus at home as in the office. There is no clear disctinction between workday and personal time, and we may lack structure in our lives.
Not only do we lack structure, we lack connection. And yet we can make a big difference in how energetic we feel with a few small changes in the way we work and live. I like to list a few.
1. Provide focus
It is not easy to work at home when your partner also works at home and the kids are at home. Therefore, try to make clear agreements. If possible, choose a workspace where you can close the door behind you and also hang a “signal” that you “do not want to be disturbed”. This way you will not only avoid getting into an awkward situation in the middle of a Zoom or Teams meeting, it will above all give you a lot of ineer peace that you know you can continue working for a while undisturbed and in full focus. So working at the kitchen table is not such a good idea.
2. Give yourself a break
It is scientifically proven that our brain can only concentrate optimally for 58 minutes and then needs a short break. Allow your brain that and don’t consider this a loss of time, but rather a gain in productivity afterwards. So take a break of fresh air outside, unwind, stretch or move a little and catch your breath before you start your next meeting or assignment. During your break, just leave your cell phone inside to relax optimally.
To make sure that you still had enough exercise on such a day, you can, for example, bike or walk to work, park your car a little further down the street or take the stairs instead of the elevator. But even during your workday, there are some things you can do to have enought exercise. Combine your coffee break with a short walk or do one of our exercise snacks. This way, even on a hugely busy and stressful day, you still had some exercise.
3. Don’t just sit there
We sit way to much. And if we don’t move to another colleague or to the coffee corner in the office, we break up sitting far too little. Stand up at least every hour so that blood flows through your limbs again. Try to work standing up for 15 minutes at least once in the morning AND once in the afternoon. What also definitely helps break up sitting is to do your phone calls as standing, or better yet, while walking.
4. Find each other
Working from home can make us miss our colleagues and the fun informal moments. We miss the conversations in the corridors and at the coffee machine. But why not hold your next meeting while walking in the woods at the park? Safe and healthy.
5. Take care of each other
Inquire how your colleagues are doing. And then don’t ask the short, closed question “Are you okay?” but show genuine interest and ask “How are you doing?“. Make intentional time for each other. If you are an executive, you start the way with a “check-in”, and your meetings are best started by taking a quick round of questions to see how everyone is doing. This can be done very easily with the “traffic light”, are we feeling green/orange/red today? What you don’t ask, you can’t know. And if you don’t know how your colleagues are doing, you can’t do anything either.