How To Manage Your Remote Work

Now that the pandemic has chased many of us out of our offices, we're chafing under the remote rules of work: too much screen time; a lack of boundaries between work and home; endless video calls. The same things that make remote work difficult for introverts make it difficult for everyone. Far and away, the worst part of remote work is video calls. Being on camera is a performance. Thoughtless scheduling can mean you're onstage performing for eight hours a day. There are none of the subtle cues that help you read a room. Staring at disembodied heads on a screen offers only a pale imitation of real human connection. Social anxiety only makes this worse. When you have a camera in your face, that can trigger your social anxiety. It takes energy to be on. So the key to managing remote work is to protect your energy.

1. Pay attention to ritual and routine.

As much as we hated our commutes, they were a ritual that created a boundary between work and home. And we need that. For many of us, those little breaks that we would build into the workday -going to get a cup of coffee or a chat with a coworker - are gone, too. Those rituals might be where you gather your energy, assume your work character and get into the right headspace to dive in. So how can you recreate those breaks and boundaries at home? The key is to be intentional. You could take a walk around the block at a specific time of day or even a breathing or stretching routine before you sit -whatever it takes for you to delineate the transition between work and home. It could be music or lighting, a pep talk with a friend.

2. Manage your pace, place, and space.

You can think of pacing as managing the interactions that tax your energy versus those that recharge you. You could schedule fewer video conferences but remember, those are performances. You could schedule downtime or recharge time after performances. You could consider the time of day. Think about when you can typically summon the energy and save other times for quiet work.

For place, use your workspace to help you enforce good boundaries. Even if your desk is in your kitchen, make it feel like a workplace. For space, build in some alone time every day. And this includes time away from your kids. It's key to avoiding burnout.

3. Schedule all parts of your day but remain flexible.

Your calendar is your best friend in this situation; when you're working from home or working remotely if it doesn't get scheduled, it doesn't get done. You probably have your meetings in your calendar already, but there are some other essential things that you should place in your calendar, such as creating a block of time for your morning routine like when it starts so that you are mentally prepared when you see it on your calendar. Schedule your work hours. This will be time to focus and get work done.

Being flexible is essential, and mentally that may be pretty tough, primarily if you're used to working within those hours and doing in your office now you are in a different environment. You may have kids or other distractions. Your spouse or partner may be home, but when you are aware that you will be interrupted once in a while and you have the liberty for flexibility, it will allow more productive work when you are in the flow while not derailing you. Next, schedule your breaks. If you don't put them in there, they're not gonna happen.

Furthermore, schedule your checkout time. This might not be the 5 pm of your usual 9 - 5 work at your workplace but a long block of time with a specific end time. This helps create boundaries, and it may mean splitting your working hours into various chunks.

Finally, if you're a manager, you have a unique role to play to help employees protect their pace, place, and space. Manage the room during video calls. Even remotely, chatty extroverts tend to dominate. To create a space where everyone can be heard, structure agendas, assign presentation rules, and minimize brainstorming. Brainstorming can trigger social anxiety, and it can freeze up introverts. Instead, create a shared space where people can write their ideas before a brainstorming session.

Favor audio over video calls. Research shows that we communicate more emotion and nuance via audio alone. Try asynchronous communication for more complicated or provocative one-on-ones. You can steal this idea from author Robert Glazer: record a voice memo or video on your phone explaining your perspective and send it to a colleague.

And that way, they can respond and react in their own time. Along with a lot of challenges now, we have an opportunity.

Remote work is here to stay, so don't just transfer old habits and old company culture to remote work. Build something better. To get started, ask the introverts in your office what their ideal day looks like and take your cue from there.

If you need more help, want more clarity, or are interested in turning your organization into an optimized, highly functional, sophisticated, operation that is coordinated, seamlessly flowing, and pouring lives into everyone involved contact us at we'd sure love to help through Keynotes to invigorate, inspire and motivate your staff, Workshops to educate, empower and equip your leaders and management staff or Consulting to work with you as the leader to build the business you could only dream of.

As Always, Let's GROW!

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