Maintaining Balance and Focus
One of the greatest challenges for you as a manager of a virtual team, and for your virtual workers, is dealing with distractions in a home-working environment that can derail your focus and disrupt your schedule. For some advice on managing your time and mitigating distractions in your virtual working day check out this short video (3 mins) on how to actually work when working from home:
Just as it is important to have a culture of wellbeing in a physical office, so is it important in your home office as well. The difference is you will not have members of your HR team dropping by to see your setup and so the responsibility lies with you to cultivate and maintain healthy habits and practices around work. Think about the following areas where you can create a healthy habit in your virtual workplace.
Set Boundaries Around Time
When you are working from home, it can be hard to keep discipline around your working hours. If you are a real self-starter and passionate about your job, you might find yourself working unpaid overtime and doing longer days than you really need to. It’s important to identify why this might be happening and to set boundaries for yourself around working hours and leisure time, to make sure you get a chance to recharge. On the other hand, you may find yourself starting half an hour late, then 45 minutes, and before you know it you are skimping on your work time and falling behind. Be honest with yourself about why this might be – are you lacking motivation or challenge? Feeling unsupported or resentful? – and do what you can to address the root cause. Getting into a routine around starting and ending your working day can really help to reinforce these boundaries.
Take Appropriate Breaks
Regular breaks are important for several reasons. You will find your mind is clearer and your focus sharper if you take regular short breaks from a task. The Pomodoro Technique is just one of many protocols for managing periods of focused work with short breaks to refresh your mind. See the link in “A Deeper Dive” for more about this technique. It is also important for your physical wellbeing to regularly change positions, move around and stretch. Your circulation can become sluggish without regular movement and the strain on your muscles and joints from sitting for long periods without a break can cause chronic issues. Make sure that break times don’t become an opportunity for procrastination or distraction by setting a timer and keeping to the same kind of break schedule as you would in a physical office.
Fuel and Fluids
Pay attention to the refreshments, beverages and snacks that you have available for your working day. Coffee can be an ally for a full-on morning schedule, but too much can cause sleep problems, anxiety, and adrenal fatigue – and so excessive caffeine consumption isn’t sustainable over the long term. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your brain functioning well and select healthy snacks and meals that will keep your energy up without causing blood sugar spikes and accompanying ‘brain-fog’ or fatigue.
Check out this short video (3 mins) which talks us through some of the ways to cultivate healthy habits when working from home: