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  • Marie Farrar Knowles

Working Remotely Can Be More Productive Than The Office. Here Are 4 Survival Tips for Newbies.

The global workforce has had the tough challenge of transitioning to working remotely. True, there are plenty of distractions at home (particularly if you're now taking on the role of cook, homeschooler, and fitness instructor). As someone who has a few years of working remotely under her belt, I've actually found that I am more productive at home than I had been in the office. You don't have the same level of "drop-ins" from co-workers who "just want to chat" and there are no distractions as you make your way to the printer or the coffee maker. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the interaction and certainly miss the sense of camaraderie that comes with an office environment. Plus, if you're like me you might find yourself more likely to continue working without so much as a lunch or bio break for hours. Yet, while your productivity levels are high, your own health and even mood may feel low at times.

Hang in there. It's difficult to predict when we will be able to go back into offices and what that might look like once lock-downs lift. Until then, the following are some survival tips for those that are still getting accustomed to this new work environment.

1. Set your boundaries. Your office hours are your office hours. We're all guilty of going above and beyond at nights and on weekends, but if you're living, sleeping, eating, working out, and working from home, and constantly responding to your boss's every whim on top of all that, you're going to burn out/ go ballistic/ start day drinking (insert coping mechanism here) immediately. Turn off your phone at designated times. Set your Outlook office hours and make yourself available, when you're available.

2. Let it go. If you've got a child at home and are constantly concerned about screentime,

now is the time to let go of the old theory that your child's brain will turn to mush from computers or TV. There are dozens of free educational websites like Khan Academy, National Geographic, PBS Kids that are all committed to providing educational content -- without hitting your child over the head with the fact that they're actually learning. Or let your child's imagination run away with podcasts like NPR's Wow in The World (shout out and hello to Mindy!). (Hint: Don't tell your kids that they are learning something. You'll blow this tactic out of the water instantly.)

3. Go for a walk. Get up, get out and get some fresh air by taking a few minutes for a workout or a walk around the block! If you find yourself in a blizzard in mid-April or May (which believe it or not can happen here in Colorado), there are plenty of options even if you don't have a home gym. In fact, seven-minute workouts do exist and you can get a good ab work out in for free on Youtube in a matter of minutes. Your creative juices will thank you for it!

4. Make a list. OK, we've been making a list our entire careers. Fair enough. But, if you make a list and share it with your colleagues, chances are you'll find you will stick to it. Accountability goes a long way. Develop objectives, create lists and share them in tools like Asana, Microsoft Teams, or Slack and set standing meetings so you remain accountable to your team and more importantly to yourself.

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