COVID-19 continues to play a role in how we work. With governments across Europe imposing lockdown restrictions. Workers will be forced to revert to working from home. But like anything, the charm of working from home is beginning to wear off. Here are some ways to stay motivated when working from home!
1. Dress for Remote Working
Working from home has rewritten the dress code for remote workers across the world. Many workers have swapped the smart dress code for smart-casual and in some cases, just casual! Luckily for workers, video calls only record the top half of the body. Which has resulted in pyjamas and loungewear becoming the unspoken dress code of remote workers! Zoom and Microsoft Teams calls have seen their fair share of wardrobe malfunctions.
Often, when employees dress in a relaxed manner, they begin to work in a more relaxed manner. Sometimes that can lead to complacency, or a lack of motivation. When you hit a slump, it’s hard to get out of it! Especially when you’re working from home. So, instead of dressing for the sitting room, dress for work. Putting on a pair of jeans, or slacks with a shirt or a nice top can help you stay motivated.
2. Your Workspace
Much like the dress code, your workspace is playing a role in how you stay motivated working from home. Some workers have made the most of remote working, by working from hotel rooms or cafés. But some people have reimagined remote working comfort. These workers are hopping in under the covers and working from their bed. Yes, there are some days where this feels like the best thing to do, but it is not good for productivity.
Instead, to stay motivated when working from home, setup a workstation. Your company is required to provide a good chair and other essentials to help build your workstation. Keeping your laptop, and notes in one place is good for staying focused and separating work from the home. Another tip for your workstation, is trying to keep it out of your bedroom. Having work on your mind when you are trying to relax can be problematic. This is not possible for everyone, so if it’s not an option, pack up the laptop at the end of each day and switch off.
3. Stick to Your Work Schedule
It sounds obvious. Why would anyone work on longer than they must? Well during lockdown, there is very little to do. Sometimes workers can find themselves still looking at their screen at 7pm! This sounds like a good thing for employers, but unfortunately, it’s not. If workers are working late, there can be several reasons. They could be trying to work hard to benefit the business, which is a good thing for employers. However, often times they are working late because they didn’t get the work done on time. Remote working can lead to this. A lack of motivation arises to get work done on time. Usually because workers don’t have the motivation, they get from working around others.
The best way to break this habit, is by sticking to your work schedule. Be at your workstation for the start of the day, setup and ready to begin. Take your breaks as you would in work. Don’t rush back from a break (unless you have to!). When finishing for the day, shut-down the laptop or pack it up. Following a routine will make it easier to work from home. Motivation can be found in the workday, by meeting deadlines. Self-control is key for motivation.
4. Catch-up with Co-Workers Remotely
Working from home can be difficult. Remote working reduces the social aspect of work. Friends and co-workers no longer meet up or chat during their coffee breaks. This can be tough for people, especially during lockdown. Not only can workers not meet people at work but cannot meet their friends or families in the evenings. It’s important not to let these social connections falter. If workers are feeling down, it will affect their motivation to work from home.
To stay motivated when working from home, it’s important to catch-up with co-workers. Employers should encourage co-workers to stay in touch and chat with one another. Have a coffee break over Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Use these calls to share ideas and motivate each other. These catchups are perfect for keeping a strong team bond and company culture.
5. Exercise the Body
Working from home often means a lot exercising the mind. Many people spend the day working, then read a book in the evening. Or even sit down and watch TV for the night. For most of the day, people will exercise their mind. But the body may not get the same attention. It’s important not to forget to stay active during lockdown.
By exercising and staying active, the body is challenged. This gets the blood pumping and works the muscles. This can be walking the dog, going for a jog, or run, or doing a home workout! All of which help you keep focused and motivated for work. Exercise increases the production of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin in the body. Both of which can impact on a person’s mood. Usually making them feel happier. Happier workers are more motivated and productive. So, exercising is as important as a good night’s sleep for people working from home.
6. Set SMART Goals
Staying motivated while working from home can be tough without having goals. Goals can help you stay motivated and focus on tasks. SMART goals have the following characteristics: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Specific meaning the goal is to the point and not ambiguous. Measurable ensuring the goal can be measured. So, the goal is not just a statement. Achievable meaning the goal is realistic and can be achieved. Relevant means the goal must be relevant to the situation on hand. Finally, timely, means the goal must have a time frame that is practical for this goal.
SMART goals help in all facets of life. Whether it’s work, exercise or personal life, SMART goals can help you stay motivated. These goals are perfect for people working from home. To understand SMART goals, here is an example of a goal that isn’t SMART.
“Build Rome in a day”
This goal is not specific or measurable. Is it a model city of Rome? What does it mean by build Rome? If it is to build the complete city of Rome, then it is not achievable, as the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”. It is not relevant either, Rome is already built, we don’t need to build it again. The goal is timely however, giving a day to complete the goal. But it could be better by giving the date rather than saying one day.
So that’s how not to set a SMART goal! Instead, set a goal like this.
“Increase the number of umbrella purchases on the company’s online store from 1% to 3% by Q2, 2021.”
This goal is specific to umbrella sales. Measurable in sales from 1% to 3%. Achievable and relevant because of the poor weather. Finally, it is timely, because it gives the company until the second quarter of 2021. SMART goals can help increase motivation when working from home by engaging workers. These goals can also be used in planning for getting back to work, post pandemic.
When motivation is low, it is important to look for ways to fix this. Share these tips with your coworkers to help your team stay motivated when working from home!