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It’s been nearly six months since many companies told employees to go home and start working remotely because of the pandemic.
And the shift has taught us a lot about how we work.
It’s made some companies rethink the concept of the 9-to-5 workday, has others realizing that remote work doesn’t necessarily mean less productivity and that more meetings aren’t always the answer to a problem.
I checked in with business leaders to see what lessons they’ve learned while working from home over the last six months.
Here’s what a few of them had to say:
- “Schedule everything, especially time for deep work. Otherwise, you will spend your days in the top 20 emails of [your] inbox.” –Ara Katz, co-founder, co-CEO of consumer life science company Seed Health
- “This crisis has made it clear how crucial it is to bring a deep sense of empathy and understanding to the workplace.” –Cécile Alper-Leroux, vice president of product and innovation, Ultimate Kronos Group
- “Working from home is not as effective as having people on site where the shared knowledge, camaraderie, training, and systems just make us all better.” –Jeff Radke, executive vice president and chief sales officer at music technology and instrument retailer Sweetwater
- “Through this, our goal is for our staff to feel the work they are doing right now is making a difference, even more so than before the pandemic. It is now table stakes to have a rock-solid strategy in place to make sure your people are doing meaningful work and feeling a sense of accomplishment from it.” –Simon Glass, CEO of smart video platform Discuss.io
Why men often get the better workspace
Consider yourself lucky if you have a home office. And, if your partner is also working from home and you have two proper workspaces, well then you are really living large.
Many of us are calling a small corner in a room, a space at the kitchen counter, the couch, and – on particularly crazy days, all of the above – our new office.
And historically, it’s been women who have been left searching for a space to do their work at home, writes Elizabeth Patton, assistant professor of media and communication studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, for The Conversation.
She gives a quick history of the home office and why workspace usually defaults to men.
Get promoted while working from home
There’s no great way to say this: But working from home can hurt your career.
The best projects and promotions often go to workers in the office, writes Rachel Feintzeig for the Wall Street Journal.
It can be hard to show that you are ready to advance to the next level when your manager can’t see what you’re actually doing all day.
So it’s up to you to prove the value you bring to the company.
Here’s what Feintzeig recommends:
Get aligned: You need to know your manager’s expectations and the company’s priorities.
Check in: Provide regular updates on your goals, progress and accomplishments. Don’t assume your boss knows what you’ve been up to.
Express your goals: Your manager isn’t a mind reader. Tell them your goals and your game plan to advance your career.
Check out more tips for getting promoted while working remotely.
How to actually be more productive
Sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong. I haven’t baked any bread, grown any herbs, tie dyed anything or crossed off any projects from my ever-growing “I’ll-get-to-this-eventually” list since I started working from home in March.
Turns out, I am not the only one feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Data collected from 12,000 people across the US and Europe during the pandemic found that the additional time we are saving from not having to commute is often spent on unproductive work and unsatisfying leisure activities, writes a trio of researchers for the Harvard Business Review.
Let’s take back our time. Here’s what the experts suggest:
Raise a glass. Create a daily celebration that designates the end of work each day. It doesn’t have to be big: try going for a run, doing a quick meditation or enjoying a drink to celebrate that day’s accomplishments.
Identify your win. Take the time to pinpoint a “must win” every day. We’re hit with so many distractions (heck, I answered two emails, sent some Slacks and texted my mom while writing this) that completing this one task can boost happiness.
Get more tips on how to save time when working remotely here.
Happiness might be hard to come by these days. Luckily, there’s a museum to help us remember those fond warm and fuzzy feelings.
A museum dedicated to the concept of happiness opened in Copenhagen earlier this summer, writes Mark Johanson for CNN.
The Happiness Museum shows how perceptions of happiness have changed throughout history, what it looks like in different parts of the world and why some countries seem to have more of it.