3 Tips for Adjusting to our New Normal
What happens when the physical office is no longer open for business? For many people across the country, this has become a reality. With concerns over COVID-19 spreading, workplaces large and small are asking employees to work from home.
The media is reporting more and more on what these changes mean for the economy, individuals and families. While the extent of the impacts are unknown, this is sure to be felt in a multitude of areas.
As a leading commercial furniture dealer, we are typically focused on workspaces and the furniture and pieces that come together to make those spaces functional, productive, branded and inspiring. Those adjectives don’t really come to mind though when most of us think about our homes. So now that many of us are facing an abrupt change in work environment, how can we best prepare our homes to become our offices, even if just temporarily?
For many living in smaller homes or apartments, the idea of a home office is just not a reality. Even individuals with more space at home or a dedicated room in the house for an office may not be completely set up to work effectively for a prolonged period of time.
In the weeks ahead as we all get used to our new normal, we’ve solicited a few tips from some of our long-time remote employees to help you start strong. Here’s what they had to say:
- Establish a routine. We are creatures of habit, even if we desire to mix things up a bit from time to time. We are most productive when we can anticipate what’s next in our day, and plan accordingly. As one of our sales leaders put it, “During this time of change, it’s important to try to mirror the activities of your normal day-to-day routine. Get up around the same time, get dressed and ready for your day, eat healthy, take coffee breaks, walk around, etc.” While it may not feel exactly the same, we can at least enjoy the extra time back in the day from no commute!
- Set up a dedicated space. It’s easy to be distracted at home, especially when you’re at the kitchen table and other family members or roommates are home as well due to work and school closures. The best way to stay productive and focused is to isolate an area of your home to be your workspace, and communicate it to others you live with as well. “To ensure you won’t be tempted to worry about dishes, laundry or other house-hold tasks while on-the-clock, create a visual barrier as well if possible,” added one of our remote design-specifiers.
- Stay connected and over-communicate. By nature, social distancing can be very isolating. Workers not used to this can be at a greater risk for the negative effects associated with isolation. “Companies should be hyper-aware of this and create opportunities to connect employees through video conferencing and communicator platforms,” explains one of our managers. If you’re the leader of a team or department, make it a point to connect daily with your team, even if it’s just a quick touch-base. With many schools and workplaces closed, there should also be a reasonable level of understanding that work schedules may need to be flexible. Staying in contact with what’s going on and building a habit of over-communicating will ensure there are no questions on where your employees are and when the work is getting done.
We are hopeful that this time passes sooner rather than later, and we can all get back to business as usual. Our heart-felt thoughts are with everyone and their loved ones that have been or will be impacted during this time.
As participants in creating highly effective and efficient workplaces for decades, our curiosity about what this will mean for those workplaces remains strong. We are committed to documenting this change in our history and invite you to stay connected with us for more insights throughout the weeks ahead.
For even more resources related to this topic, join the Steelcase LinkedIn Group: Suddenly Working From Home.