By now, if you’re the sort of professional who is inclined to improve your work life by googling stuff and reading tips on blogs, you have likely discovered and rediscovered a lot of the same remote working wisdom currently circulating on the World Wide Web: structure your day, use the video, don’t forget to get dressed, etc., etc. We at CMC read a lot of this too! So, to save you a chunk of time and energy to put towards the next rabbit hole you plunge into, we’re highlighting just 3 of the more original ideas we’ve run across recently, here and here.
- Virtual Cubicle Neighbours. This is a simple yet ingenious idea, especially if you miss your office mates and find both music and dead silence distracting. Find a work friend who feels like you do, arrange to call each other on the videoconferencing platform of your choice, make some small talk and then just…get to work. Leave the video feed open and work side by side, just like you’re in the office together. Listen to each other slurp coffee and type and feel free to interrupt (occasionally) with questions and observations on the weather, celebrity gossip or whatever. See if your morale and sense of general connectedness improve!
- Eat and drink the same things. While hanging out over lunch, coffee or happy hour is not a new idea, we did like this extension of the concept. Take your virtual meal-sharing to the next level by exchanging recipes, cooking the same thing (or prepping the same cocktail or mocktail) and comparing results as you socialize. It deepens the bonding experience of eating together, plus you get a real apples-to-apples comparison of your team-mates’ cooking skills. A caveat, though; you may wish to consider the availability of ingredients and time when you select the recipes and make sure everyone is able to successfully prepare the dish.
- Over-plan. Having a to-do list is better than nothing—and it’s actually better if you compose it the day before. This saves you starting the day staring at a blank screen wondering what you should be doing. Ideally, though, you should not only schedule your meetings and the tasks you plan to complete, but also your breaks, workouts, necessary housework and, importantly, your connections with colleagues, clients and any social contacts you want to maintain or develop during this time. Keep in mind the value of casual acquaintances and co-workers and bring these people into your life as well as closer colleagues, friends and family. Schedule coffee chats and quick check-ins, think of who you want to send a message to, and allot time to do that in your plan for the day. Scheduling actions you want to take, even when they are quite informal, makes it much more likely they will register in your brain as real priorities. Author and future of work expert Dan Schawbel suggests scheduling your day in increments as small as 15 minutes while making sure you’re allotting appropriate time for self-care and human connections as well as productivity.