How to make working remotely work for you

The sudden shift to remote work and school for huge sections of our population leaves many trying to adjust to a new normal: working remotely in light of COVID-19 concerns.

And while the general gravitation toward working outside the office isn’t a brand new trend (a Small Biz Genius article from late 2019 describes a 140 percent increase in remote work over the last 15 years), the current mass scale of people working from home during a global pandemic is uncharted territory.

On the surface, working from home offers obvious advantages that can aid productivity by reducing or eliminating activities that often demand an inordinate amount of time (no in-person meetings, events or commute times to the office, , etc.). But as many are discovering, those advantages are offset by new challenges: finding quiet spaces to work, wrangling with new technologies,  ensuring kids are focused on at-home learning activities and schoolwork, and balancing the needs of other family members who are also working from home and/or need care.

How do you keep your work productivity level as high – or even higher – than what your normal office environment allows? If you’re looking for tips, we’ll save you the search time. Innovate Carolina has pulled together the insights of experts outlined in several articles that we found particularly salient to the new work reality.

10 Tips from CEOs on Working From home Effectively and Happily (Entrepreneur)

Source: Entrepreneur
For those who lead businesses or organizations – or general employees who are simply slammed with what feels like executive-level workloads – this article from Entrepreneur gets the advices from several CEOs who are used to working outside the office and managing remote teams. And while the average person may not be able to invest in a standing desk (although we love the idea), we found several great tips for boosting productivity. Some of our favorites:

● Take walking meetings.
● Set a schedule to avoid distractions.
● Make sure you’re prepped to eat right.
● Add all tasks to your calendar in specific time blocks (zero-based calendar)
● Load your tech apps (Zoom, Slack, Google Suite, etc.) on all your devices for greater flexibility.

Read the article from Entrepreneur for more on these and other tips from CEO’s.

How to Tap Into Your Brain’s 4 Attention States to Get More Done (Fast Company)

Source: Fast Company
While a lot of advice for increasing your productivity revolves around how well you manage your time, this piece by Fast Company takes a different perspective. Rather than focus on time management, it suggests attention management. So, how do we get our brains in gear to get the most done? It starts by recognizing your four brain states and using them at just the right time:

● Reactive and Distracted. When you’re doing many things at once – a superficial state.
● Daydreaming. When you choose to let your mind meander.
● Focused and Mindful. When you’re being thoughtful and trying to steer clear of distraction.
● Flow. When you’re in a zone and lose yourself in your work.

Read the article by Fast Company to learn how and when to use these brain power modes to get the most out of your day.

Coronavirus: Best Practices for Working From Home, According to a Six-Figure Social Media Entrepreneur (Entrepreneur)

Source: Entrepreneur
In another helpful article from Entrepreneur, social media pro Natalie Zfat shares a few helpful tips that she’s learned from working in her home office for the last 10 years. A couple of great ones that caught our eye:

● Give yourself space. Where you set up to work is critical for balancing work/life demands.
● Build boundaries. Avoiding an unhealthy blur between work and personal time will make sure your home doesn’t feel like a 24/7 production line.

Read the article by Entrepreneur to see what else Zfat recommends for at-home workers.

Working at Home During the Coronavirus Crisis with Kids Underfoot? 9 Ways to Cope (CNBC)

Source: CNBC

This report from CNBC looks at the quandary that many work-from-home parents now face: how to balance the demands of their jobs with the needs of their children. With schools closing around the country, it’s a familiar scenario for many families – and this piece summarizes advice from FlexJobs, which is an online service for professionals who seek flexible work. You’ll find a total of nine helpful tips, and we thought these three were particularly insightful:

● Set up virtual babysitters. Use technology tools (Skype or Facetime come to mind) to schedule virtual playdates that are not only great ways for you children to connect with family – but also chances for you to steal a few minutes of extra minutes of work time. 
● Split the work. If you have a partner whose schedule allows, try taking shifts so that one can focus more on the kids for a period, while the other takes a conference all or finishes a project.
● Take mini breaks. Divide your work into shorter sprints. This allows you to be productive – and then pause briefly and periodically to give you children, who have short attention spans, the attention and guidance they need.

Read the article to get the full nine tips from CNBC and FlexJobs.