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Get distracted at work?
Millions of people were able to work from home for months and see how much more productive (some of them) were.
Now – some of us are returning back to offices, and missing certain things about working from home.
Here are some of the challenges of ‘working from office,’ and how to deal with them.
“Socializing is tempting and can cut an hour off of working time”
My solution: Headphones, or listening to my own music – allows me to put my head down and get away from other distractions, while simultaneously signaling to other people that I’m in head down mode.
“Commuting to work takes up a lot of time”
My solution: Use your commute time to listen to educational podcasts or books, schedule work calls during your commuting time or use the time to self reflect and charge the mind.
“Meetings can turn into socializing”
My solution: When it’s evident that the meeting is over and the conversation does not relate to work anymore, either leave or actually open your computer instead of just chatting. Signals to myself & everyone else that I’m ready to get some work done.
“Occasionally getting in a creative rut or feeling burned out”
My solution: Getting out of the office for 10-15 minutes by taking a walk. It’s a great way to break up the day and allows you to ‘reset’ your brain when you’re stumped or just need a break.
“Wasted time & more money spent on commuting/vehicle, food, etc.”
My Solution: Get everything ready for the next day the night before, so there’s less time spent in the morning getting ready for the day. Also, prepare food the day before so you’re not spending money on eating out.
“Remembering to bring food, or having to buy lunch.”
My solution: Use the hunger I built up throughout the day as a reminder to prepare a lunch for the next day. Then, I set my keys inside my lunch bag so I don’t forget to bring it with me the next morning.
“Sometimes I slip into verbally giving someone a task and I know those easily can slip through the cracks.”
My Solution: Make sure that if I’m going to talk to someone in person about a specific thing or clarify it with them, that I am first assigning it to them in our PM tool so that they have a heads up and can easily move it to their to-do list.
Do the benefits of WFH, outweigh the con’s?
For me – as someone who needs personal interaction to thrive, the benefits sure feel like they outweigh the cons.
Benefits of WFH:
- No Commute
- Lower distractions (if you don’t have kids)
- Higher threshhold for communication, cutting down on some nonsense.
Con’s of WFH:
- Zoom meeting fatigue
- Sometimes have to make a meeting or video call for something that could be a 2 minute in-person chat.
- Lack of some collaboration vibes, friendly banter etc.
When to know if it’s time to get back in the office
There is no substitute for following your local government rules, for assuring the health of your people, and by taking into consideration your teams opinions (particularly if they have strong opinions.) But if you’re experiencing these things – it may be time to get back in your collaborative space.
- Your local government has said companies can return to the office.
- There is growing consensus that the health concerns can be mitigated/ taken care of.
- You have a COVID return plan, and safety precautions that you can follow and post in your office.
- Everyone is burnt out of zoom meetings, and is aching to work together again.
- You believe your team will benefit from collaborative work will benefit the team, more than the drawbacks will negatively effect them.
Above all – keep the health and safety of your team at the forefront of your decision, and sometimes that includes mental health!
Working from home has taken a toll as well – we decided that we can socially distance, sanitize, take temperatures and have a healthy return – and I hope as the curve is flattened in certain areas, that other companies consider the trade offs as well.