How can you work productively from home? The team at Titan Masterminds have been working from our homes for nearly 3 years. Given a number of you and your teams are likely to also be working from home over the coming months (as part of Coronavirus prevention) I thought I’d share some tips below based on my experience of how I work productively from home.
The first 3 tips should be relevant to workgroups of up to 15 people.
Pick a specific time every morning to have a virtual team meeting e.g. 9 am. You can take turns to run these meetings, which means there’s a sense of group ownership. Make sure each meeting runs for a specified time, between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on its purpose (see tip 3).
Meetings should start with a fun question to ensure everyone is engaged. For example What made you laugh over the weekend? What’s your energy number from 1 to 10? What has something you feel good about that happened this week?
Cameras are mandatory for all meetings to recreate the live team feel. It’s amazing the difference it makes when people can see each other’s faces. For this reason, it is vital that everyone has good connection speeds so you can see and hear clearly. It’s frustrating for the rest of the team if people are dropping out or are garbled. A fast connection is of course also important for efficiently accessing files and data online. Maybe you can provide your team with a technology allowance to ensure they sign up for a good quality data plan.
It’s important to have a focus for each meeting. Here is a sample I have used before:
On Monday you can review your KPIs from the previous week and your goals for the coming week.
Tuesday you can discuss expected sales and review key projects.
Wednesday you can discuss your quarterly goals and any issues that need to be addressed to achieve these.
Thursday you can take up a professional development topic.
Fridays read through your values as a team. People are invited to share an example of how they or someone on the team has practised one of these.
Plus people are encouraged to share any “needs to knows” or areas they are stuck on. So others can chip in to help.
While it’s best to have a dedicated desk in a separate room, this may not be possible. So if you have to work from the kitchen table or shared living space, create a clear area so you can focus. And put away your work stuff when you’re finished.
I personally think it is best to have some formality in your work area, and that slouching on the couch is not a great idea. Also, respect your family’s needs. Just as you don’t want your partner or kids interrupting your work or meetings with their chatter or play, they also aren’t going to appreciate you interrupting their chatter or play with your work or meetings!
Consult with the family over what’s reasonable in terms of respecting everyone’s space and managing the natural noise of daily life.
For most people, the commute home offers a transition from work to a home mindset. If you are already home it’s helpful to have a specific activity that you do to signal the end of the workday.
For me, it’s going to play with my son, Denish. Some people like to spend time in the gym, do a workout, jam on a musical instrument, or cook a meal. As a rule of thumb, a good transition ritual stretches your mind a little and is fun.
By the way, daily transition rituals have been found to be better than one-off holidays for keeping a sense of balance in your life.
We encourage people to WhatsApp chat about what’s happening throughout the day on a team feed, especially when they have small wins, need a hand with a challenge, or something funny happens. Emojis, GIFs, and corny puns are encouraged, and the stream of comments that ebb and flow are often fun. This is equivalent to the spontaneous chatter that occurs in an office when someone wanders over to the water cooler to get a drink. We also have multiple groups for different project groups so people aren’t subjected to updates that aren’t relevant to them.
This final tip is relevant to us all, whether we’re working from home or not. It is a proven scientific fact that stress and tiredness suppress our immune systems and make us more vulnerable to colds and viruses.
Productivity is more about managing your energy than time. My simple formula is Focussed Energy x Time = Productivity. So focus on your energy. Maintain rituals to energise you.
So in addition to physical common sense strategies such as having adequate exercise, sleep and veggies, here are a few mental tips to keep your vitality up. Be calm, be grateful, be kind to others, focus on what’s going well, talk to a friend if something’s on your mind, and stay connected to your sense of purpose.
The next few months are going to test us all, and for some businesses, it’s going to be tough.
We wish you well and, if you are new to working from home, we hope these tips have been useful.
If you want tips on working more productively then check out my free ebook: The 7 Surprising Things that Ultra Productive Entrepreneurs Do Differently – 7 Proven Strategies to Shave 12-20 Hours Off Your Business Week
Leave a comment below are you and your team looking to work from home? Which tip did you like best about working productively from home?