Telecommuting: Six Ways to Stay Productive

While many professionals are now returning to the office, experts believe that the revolution brought about by the emergence of telework, then hybrid work, should remain the norm for many employees, with the latter dividing their time between the office and the home.

For those who continue to telecommute, a question still arises despite the experience gained in recent years: what is the best way to stay productive? Business leaders give us six great pieces of advice.

Establish a routine

If you want to continue to be productive, you can’t afford bad habits. For Emma Frost, director of innovation at the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), the best advice is to make sure you start your working day the right way and in the best possible mood.

“I purposely wake up a little earlier than necessary and go for a run or do 10 minutes of stretching,” she says. “I really like to start the day with a feeling of well-being. So even though I’ve been in Zoom meetings all day, I feel like I’ve done something mentally and physically to start the day. »

Cindy Stoddard, IT director at Adobe, has a similar approach. She advises all professionals to manage their schedule effectively from the start. “I take my dog ​​for a walk every morning. I start with a fresh mind, and I will not do anything that will upset the way I start my day.

Install yourself correctly

What the past two years have taught us is that to work effectively from home, you need access to the right equipment. Professionals who are making hybrid working a new norm need to ensure that their hardware, software, and desktop are as well set up at home as they are at their office.

That’s why Alejandro Massuet, IT manager at Supernus Pharmaceuticals, replicated his home office setup: “I try to have everything here to allow me to do everything I need. I have my speakers, my webcam and my two monitors”.

Define your rules of engagement

Telecommuting allows you to mix the demands of work and home. But it’s also important to make sure that privacy requirements don’t impinge on your ability to work productively and effectively. One way is to establish ground rules for engagement, says Alejandro Massuet: “I work from our basement when I’m home. My kids know when they come home from school that if the basement door is closed, they can’t come in. I am busy working. »

It is also important to recognize that rules of engagement work both ways. Be sure to use the time saved by avoiding commutes or working late at the office to give back some quality time to those you love. Loïc Giraud, global head of digital platform and product delivery at Novartis, says this kind of flexibility helps everyone feel better, even if you’ve had a busy day: “I try to m make sure I have dinner with my family every day. »

Use isolation to your advantage

Working from home can be a lonely affair, but it’s also a good opportunity to get away from some of the distractions found in the office. For Emma Frost, it is easier to concentrate at home than at headquarters. “When I’m in the office today, I keep having meetings,” she says. “There are people asking questions and you have to go from place to place. I’m pretty disciplined at home. So I find it much easier to focus on important tasks when I’m out of the office. »

It’s something that resonates with Lee Cowie, CTO of Merlin Entertainments, who advises professionals to think about how they can make the most of the splendid isolation that working from home provides. “I’m always better in the morning. I structure my day so that if I have to think seriously, I try to do it in the morning,” he says.

Make time for casual encounters

While it can sometimes be difficult to concentrate in the office, it is also pleasant to chat with people around the coffee machine. Cindy Stoddard acknowledges that we’ve all missed real human contact over the past two years. As hybrid working becomes the norm, she strategizes to ensure that the occasional collisions that occur in the office are also part of her work-from-home day.

“I block time to be able to call people. If your day is all about meetings, you don’t have time to think. So, I have blocks during the day and take advantage of them to create my own occasional collisions. »

The manager at Adobe therefore challenges her teams on Slack, in order to spark seemingly innocuous conversations, but which can quickly lead to the highlighting of more important issues. “I think it’s about breaking up the day with different activities that can help keep your mind fresh and connect with people,” she says.

Take time to rest during the day

Telecommuters have a bad reputation in some circles for spending all day in their pajamas watching Netflix. As many professionals will attest, the reality is often very different. “One thing I should do, but don’t do, is take my breaks,” says Alejandro Massuet. “Sometimes I get stuck in work and forget the time. This is something I need to work on. Evidence suggests this is a common problem, with many professionals remaining tethered to their desks while at home.

To break this pattern, Loïc Giraud, of Novartis, makes sure to run for 30 minutes every day, usually at lunchtime, when it’s calmer: “It allows me to cool off. More importantly, Merlin’s Lee Cowie says professionals need to be careful not to feel guilty for taking time for themselves. “If you need to walk around the block in the daytime or go to the shops, do it,” he advises.

“Mix private and professional life. You don’t have to sit at your desk for 10 hours, focused on your screen. In fact, if you do, you’ll be unproductive. So set aside plenty of time to stretch your legs and get a breath of fresh air. »


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