It’s no news that the world is going through an unprecedented crisis. Most industries have had to make a shift to remote working, whether they have the capabilities or not. Naturally, some industries and companies find this transition much smoother than others and experience minimal disruption. Construction is probably on the opposite end of the spectrum. Because construction teams rarely need to work remotely most construction teams and professionals are not likely well equipped or well experienced at doing so. This post is for this group of people.
With no experience in it, transitioning into working from home and doing everything digitally can be surprisingly difficult. In this article we are going to highlight some seemingly simple tips to help lay the foundation for a successful period of working at home. Nobody knows how long we will be in this situation, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for worst case and look forward to a pleasant surprise should things change. So, without further ado, let’s dig in.
1. Stick to routines
This seems almost ridiculous to highlight, but it is one of the most important things you can do. The human brain initiates habits based on triggers. Regardless of whether you have a sound morning routine or not, the act of commuting to the office or site triggers your brain to get ready for a day of work. It is such a well reinforced habit that you would be extremely surprised if something else happened when you arrived at your place of work. Maintaining a similar trigger while you are at home can be incredibly important to get into the right state of mind. It can be something as simple as clearing your desk of all work non-essentials and pouring a cup of coffee. Make it an easy, repeatable routine to quickly trigger yourself into work mode.
2. Take breaks
When you are working at home, it’s easy to stay inside and work continuously throughout the day. Over time, this will negatively impact your work. Take a full lunch break. Go for a walk to get your body moving. Call a friend or a colleague and have a chat over a cup of coffee. These small things will help you disconnect from work, reset feeling more refreshed, and help you get more done when you return to work.
3. Over communicate with the team
Not only is it important to keep your colleagues in the loop with your work, but working from home can quickly start to feel very lonely. Staying in touch with people frequently will help you feel socially connected and strengthen your team’s morale as well. Additionally, it’s easier for things to slip under the radar and errors to occur when you work remotely. There isn’t as much real time communication of ideas or sharing of work which often helps make your work better as well as catch mistakes. In this instance, one message too much is better than one too few.
4. Plan the day in advance
A great way to stay on track and become your own manager is to plan your day in advance, ideally the night before. Take a look at your deadlines and your backlog. Use this information to consciously block out periods of time throughout your day dedicated to individual tasks. Keeping a more strict schedule than usual can help you be as productive as normal, if not more. It will help make your schedule feel more official and commit you to the tasks at hand. However, don’t be afraid to bend the schedule for unexpected events or meetings.
5. Communicate expectations with the people you live with
Odds are that whoever you live with, they will be working from home as well. Be sure to communicate expectations you will have of them and understand what expectations they have of you. If you have an important meeting with your whole team every Thursday afternoon, it is good if your office space is quiet and undisturbed throughout the entire meeting. Some might even find it useful to share schedules with the people you live with. It might seem ridiculous to share your full schedule with your family, however, it’s not a bad idea to at least share the most important dates and times with them to make sure you have those times of uninterrupted work.
6. Keep news to a minimum
Getting hourly updates of the COVID-19 pandemic wont really keep you more informed, and can be rather anxiety inducing. News outlets craft their articles to catch attention and standout. This will steal more focus from your productive work than you might imagine, particularly if you feel worried about the uncertainty around this situation. We suggest you keep news updates confined to set times of day. Ideally, don’t make the news part of your morning routine and get to work with a more peaceful mind, try leaving it until the evening once you are done with work.
7. Interact with the people in your house
Human connection is relieving and refreshing. Try spending at least an hour a day with the people you live with. We are a social animal. Isolating for too long will take a heavy toll on your mental health and make it difficult to focus on work.
For other tips and advice on being productive at home, check out the following links: