How to stay focused when working from home: Tips from Expio leadership.
We’re all now dealing with scary, uncertain times, and social distancing is completely upending our normal routines.
During this nationwide quarantine, many of us are being asked to avoid the office to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Yet, for those of us in marketing, advertising and other creative fields, the work must continue. In fact, our clients need us more than ever, to help guide them through this tumultuous time.
Maybe you’re not used to working from home. And, if you have kids who can’t return to school, you’ve no-doubt got more distractions than you can count. How are you going to be productive in this abnormal environment? How will you communicate with your teammates? If you’re in leadership, how will you manage others remotely? How will you keep your team mentally healthy (experts are pointing out that mental health can be a serious issue in times like these)? Not unimportantly, how will you avoid loneliness and stir craziness?
In a recent virtual staff meeting, from each other’s home work environment, this topic came to the forefront of our discussion. How can we help each other remain productive, healthy and happy?
Each of Expio Digital Marketing’s executive team offered their own personal tips for working from home successfully.
Work Culture is Key: Does Your Team Have the Flexibility it Needs?
Expio team members are pros at working remotely. Although we do have office space, it’s a huge perk of the job that we have the option to work from home. Expio CEO and Owner Andy Roller leads in an environment of trust and flexibility. He contends that, as long as we get our work done on time and to the utmost satisfaction of our clients, we can work from whatever location we’d like. We can flex our schedules creatively to accommodate family, activities and circumstances.
In other words, we’re very used to working from home and, sometimes, amid distraction. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re hard at work helping clients communicate their ever-changing business practices and ensuring that their customers understand how to do business with them. Speaking of communication, we’re communicating with each other all day every day through a wide variety of tools.
For those not used to working from home, here are our tried-and-true tips.
Hacks for Productivity and Avoiding Procrastination While Working From Home
Chief Executive Officer Andy Roller
- How to Avoid Procrastination: Andy’s Challenger attributes encourage the Expio team to figure out this new normal together. Inertia is hard right now, Andy admits. “We have to recognize that we don’t work in a steady trajectory and that inspiration has a shelf life. So, when inspiration comes, ride it! When you’re feeling it, do it. If you’re not feeling it, go do something else until you do.”
- How to Avoid Distractions: Andy plays his favorite piece of classical guitar music in the background when he knows he has to focus on a project. He saves this piece of music just for this purpose. When he’s got an important task, he activates his Do Not Disturb Gmail app, and he turns off his phone. “I actually set my phone on the other side of the house!”
- How to Avoid Burnout: “I set a timer for breaks. When the timer dings, I get up, walk around, get coffee, etc. Unless I’m in a zone… then I snooze the break and keep rolling.”
Chief Relationship Officer Jody Reynolds
- How to Avoid Procrastination: Jody’s Helper attributes get her going when she gets the urge to procrastinate. “If I’m feeling sluggish, I jump on Slack and see the rest of the team hard at work, and I realize that somebody might need me for something! This gives me all the motivation I need to jump in with both feet and work hard.” She keeps projects organized in Asana and keeps her email inbox clean. And she jots minor daily tasks on her desk calendar so she knows what daily goals she needs to accomplish. “Checking off those daily to-do items is satisfying and motivating.”
- How to Avoid Loneliness: “I’m such a people person, and this is the hardest thing about working from home. I’ve got to have face time of some sort with my teammates and clients. Thank goodness for Google Hangouts Meet. This easy tool keeps me in contact with everybody and gives me the personal connection I need. I even instituted a Friday Afternoon Virtual Happy Hour with my industry friends, so we can have a beer in front of our screens and feel like we’re gathered around a pub table like we’d normally be.”
- How to Avoid Distractions: Jody created a comfortable work space away from distractions like laundry, dirty dishes and other chores. “My teenage boys are at home right now, and they’re very, very loud. When I really need to lean into a project, I crank my Dan Croll Pandora station as loud as I can to drown out their craziness.”
- How to Avoid Burnout: Jody pauses mid-day to get much-needed sunlight, Vitamin D and exercise by taking walks with the dogs. Plus, she can flex. “I can take Wednesday afternoon off if I’m feeling blocked and really want to watch Netflix with my boys. As long as I stay organized (which is kinda my thing), my work will get done before the deadline.”
Chief Content Officer Joshua Godsey
- How to Avoid Procrastination: Josh’s Individualist attributes serve him well in solitude, and he uses a rewards system to stay motivated. “I tell myself that, if I tackle this task, I can go watch that episode I’m dying to see, or I can shop for that guitar pedal I’ve been wanting to learn about.”
- How to Avoid Burnout: “I fully embrace flexible hours. I listen to my body. I allow myself to sleep in a little bit if I feel like I need it. I’ll take a long coffee break if I need it, and I’ll pick back up later.”
- How to Avoid Distractions: Josh can be laser focused when he thinks monthly rather than daily. “I group tasks into monthly buckets, and I tell myself I’m going to destroy a bunch of this month’s tasks in one day. Other days, I don’t get as much done, and that’s OK.”
- How to Avoid Sluggishness: Josh fits exercise in regularly to stay strong in body and mind.
We hope these hacks help you get through these strange days while producing some of your best work yet.