We’ve rounded the corner to a strange anniversary: one year of living, working, and hopefully surviving the restrictions, stresses, and uncertainties of a global pandemic. In short, a year of living remotely. After this year, many of us have enough experience and have logged enough hours to feel like we have mastered the “great remote work experiment.” We’ve settled into routines and cobbled together a lifestyle that’s working. Or is it? This first anniversary is a great time to review, reflect, and revise. What’s working well? What isn’t? What are strategies to replicate or extend into the “next normal” – whatever that looks like?
Let’s examine a few strategies to help make the most of this extended remote work opportunity:
- Revisit your initial “silver linings.” Return to those healthy habits or insights that you developed at the outset. Maybe you were creative at the start, extremely productive, or even protective of the boundaries between your personal life and your work life. What did you enjoy or take advantage of 12 months ago? One thing we heard over and over was “no more commute!” So many clients told us how they used this recovered time for more exercise, more sleep, healthy meals, or meditation. Return to your silver linings and recapture those initial benefits that helped you survive – and thrive!
- Say yes to yourself. Establish personal and professional goals and re-establish boundaries. There are myriad benefits to strengthening yourself during the hours away from work, including increased creativity, motivation, and engagement. An anniversary, even one like Covid-19, is a great time to take stock of what’s working well and what needs more time and attention. Consider setting new or adjusted personal and professional goals. It’s easier to accept assignments or take on challenges when they’re goal-aligned. This can also help set appropriate boundaries that others will understand and support.
- Structure your day. We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: time blocking is an essential tool for balancing professional productivity. If you’re able to enjoy more flexibility with your work schedule from home, you might be able to time block some of the above strategies and model this strategy for others! We’re proud of our resident workaholic, Mary Abbajay, for time blocking her daily walks on our shared company calendar. Her leadership on this issue sets the tone for our team to make a plan for saying yes to our goals and revisiting our silver linings.
- Recalibrate expectations on your team. As important as it is for individuals to acknowledge this Covid-19 anniversary by adjusting goals, it’s equally important for teams. Remote work has extended far beyond what was initially projected, and many elements of remote and hybrid workplaces may be here to stay. It’s the perfect time to review expectations and extend flexibility in some areas, while reining in some of the exceptions that may have now become “the rule.” The lines between personal and professional have blurred; video calls are windows into people’s lives. At first, things like kids or pets on laps during meetings, or eating lunch on camera were overlooked or even welcome sights, as teams made efforts to connect with one another outside of traditional office spaces. Take the temperature of your team. Things that were fun or that served a purpose at the outset of remote work may no longer be functional, or your team may have lost the urge for collaborative work and it may be time to inject a little more collegiality into the workday.
- Appreciate and celebrate! You have learned, adapted, and survived a year of living in a global pandemic. Take time to honor all you’ve accomplished throughout these uncertain and challenging days. Perfected sourdough bread? Ready to tally up those family game night wins? Did you reach the end of Netflix? Whatever it is, it’s worth celebrating!
We’d love to hear from YOU! What’s on your mind as we approach a full year of remote work? What is working well for you and your team? Where might you need additional support? Take our survey and let’s partner together to make this next year as effective, productive, and satisfying as possible.