Millions of people around the world have turned to working remotely since the novel coronavirus outbreak. Studies have proven how working outside the office boosts productivity and can make employees happier in their jobs and less likely to leave them. But what happens when working remotely is no longer by choice and is for prolonged periods of time? What happens when remote working stops working?
Experts who previously weighed in on the benefits of remote work are now not so sure about them in today’s climate. According to a Recode interview with Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom, who conducted a two-year study on remote work productivity at a popular Chinese travel company, he seems uncertain about the long-term effects of working remotely, especially among those who aren’t used to it.
“Productivity now will be down dramatically,” Bloom told Recode. “As a personal example, I have four kids and they’re at home, and I’m struggling to get anything done. And it’s not just that, it’s also that motivation and creativity come from being around other people.”
Working outside the office presents many unwanted distractions and challenges. We checked in with a few of our team members who don’t typically work remotely to discover how they’re adjusting to bringing the office home.
Ways to remain motivated while working remotely
“I like to set goals. I create a list every morning of all of the things I would like to accomplish that day. I also set goals for the week. This way I can ensure I am staying on track and motivated to accomplish things. This also keeps me organized so I have a plan of attack for each day.” —Jessica Tully, Client Strategist in Beauty, Health & Wellness
“To-do lists are the backbone of any successful day for me, and this doesn’t change when I’m working from home. I like to write my to-do list the night before so that I have an idea of what the next day is going to look like — this also guarantees that I don’t forget anything should a last-minute meeting or emergency pop up during the day.” —Lauren Nitting, Executive Recruiter
“Look at the big picture. The promising thing about our space is that consumer products are flying off the shelves, which means that although adjustments need to be made, we just need to learn how to adjust rather than shut down.” —Adina Rothfeld, Division Director
“Stay connected with colleagues through video chat or on the phone — collaborating with others will help keep you feeling motivated.” —Danielle Weiss, Senior Executive Recruiter
Tips for setting hours
“Consistency is key when working from home. Create a schedule and stick to it. It is also important to set boundaries and put your work away. It can become overwhelming when it is always at your fingertips, but allowing yourself to reset and recharge will ensure an even more productive day ahead.” —Jessica Tully, Client Strategist in Beauty, Health & Wellness
“It can be really easy to ignore the clock while working from home and I’ve found myself still writing emails at 7:30 pm. It’s important to try and maintain some normalcy, so do your best to log off and have a definitive end to your workday.” —Lauren Nitting, Executive Recruiter
“Work your regular hours and communicate with your manager if you need to take breaks throughout the day to stay focused.” —Adina Rothfeld, Division Director
“Close your laptop once your workday ends. It is easy to keep going when you are in the same location all day. Pay attention to the clock and don’t lose track of time.” —Danielle Weiss, Senior Executive Recruiter
Ways to stay connected if you live alone
“It is important to stay connected with people daily. I try to speak to at least three people via phone or video daily. It is important to stay in touch with your team so you do not feel secluded or alone. Especially in times like these, we are all facing the same challenges and we should be discussing them and strategizing together.” —Jessica Tully, Client Strategist in Beauty, Health & Wellness
“Stick to your normal routine as much as possible. I’m the type of person who likes to block off time on my calendar for administrative tasks that could potentially fall through the cracks on a busy day, and have found this is even more important when working from home. Block off some time to take breaks, read a book, take a quick walk, make yourself lunch — anything to get away from the computer for a moment and reset for the rest of the day.” —Lauren Nitting, Executive Recruiter
Ways to stay focused if you have roommates
“Create some ground rules. If you need to take calls, designate a room so you’re not interrupting the other person’s workflow. If you’re able to sync up for breaks, then do it. This way there are planned ‘social’ interactions and you’re not disrupting each other throughout the day. Lastly, be comfortable communicating your needs and listening to the needs of your roommates — this is new for most of us, and we can’t expect another person to know how we’re going to work best.”–Adina Rothfeld, Division Director
How to separate work from home
“We have a folding table that we store under the couch and set up when we have friends over for dinner. It’s turned into our work desk during the day. Once the workday is over, the desk goes back under the couch. This has allowed for a clear end of the workday and the start of personal time, which seems especially important since we don’t have a separate office space in our small New York City apartment.” —Adina Rothfeld, Division Director
“Create a comfortable environment for yourself. It can be hard in an apartment, but try your best to create a separate workspace.” —Lauren Nitting, Executive Recruiter