Experts Share 5 Lessons on How to Feel Connected, in Control, and Empowered When Working Remotely
Updated: Jun 23, 2021
Brilliant Muse was founded on a remote working model and it’s become second nature for the last 10 years. Because our team spans the U.S. and supports global clients, most of us work remotely and have learned how to manage our days through trial and error.
Before the pandemic, we saw the beginning of a trend. Office space was difficult to come by in larger cities so clients started working remotely. Now, offices are closed completely so EVERYONE is forced to work from home. Seeing our clients working remotely consistently for the first time has given us a unique perspective.
We all play so many roles — often from the same location — which can be overwhelming. We're working from home, parenting from work, helping with homework, providing technical support, and the list goes on.
These challenges affect our emotions and can show up as anxiety, loneliness, and more. New distractions like competing screens (Netflix anyone?), household chores, and children can pull you away from work. And many experience lower morale — less oomph to get things done — and possibly lower productivity.
"Stop beating yourself up. These are just weird and ~ unprecedented ~ times. Some days are going to be more productive than others, and that's OK. We're all trying our best to just exist these days, so the fact you're showing up is certainly a place to start." ~ Brett Vergara, Program Manager at Google
The Feelings You Want to Feel
We interviewed our amazing team of experts and have summarized their first-hand experience into 5 lessons. Our approach was to focus on the way we want to feel when we work from home, which is really no different than when we’re in the office:
Starting from a place of intent, we broke down the actions we all can take to evoke these positive emotions so we feel like rock stars. Here goes...
LESSON #1: GET TECH SAVVY — You gotta feel connected and efficient
Video Conferencing — using tools like Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams helps us feel so much more connected. Screen sharing helps us understand information and increases comprehension of the subject matter. Facial expression, tone of voice, and body language can often tell people exactly how you feel, even if you haven’t said a word. Turn your video on
File sharing and folder systems — improve collaboration with tools like Google Drive or Trello to help keep things organized, support transparency, and minimize email communication
Chat or instant messaging technology — Slack and Google Hangouts can be used for quick questions and friendly greetings. It also reduces email. This can also replace the in-person chat that happens in the office at cubicles or in the halls between meetings
"Planning and prepping healthy snack options keeps me from spending too much time staring into my fridge for enlightenment between meetings :)" ~ Charlie Deese, Program Manager at Google
LESSON #2: MAKE YOUR MOJO — Be organized and in control
Follow your normal morning routine — get ready so you feel ready
Plan your day — block time for prep, meetings, lunch, and personal activities (see calendar example)
Make lists — be prepared and feel accomplished when you cross items off your to-do list
Maintain a consistent work schedule with boundaries — shut down your computer and turn off notifications at the end of the day
Prep snacks / meals and drink more water — helps avoid mindless eating and allows you to make better choices. Stay hydrated! Download an app to monitor your H2O intake
LESSON #3: FEEL COMFY IN YOUR SPACE — Think comfort and familiarity
Dedicate an area for working — it doesn’t have to be large or decorated; just make it your own
Invest in a good chair — ergonomics matter
Consider an adjustable desk — we’re not moving around as much so an optional standing position may help
Sit near a window — natural light is good for mood and vitamin D
Play music — depending upon the task at hand, music in the background can help you avoid feeling isolated. Download a playlist to get inspired
LESSON #4: PUT THE KABOSH ON DISTRACTIONS — Stay focused and productive!
Keep your phone away from work area — or turn it off if possible
Turn off all notifications — interruptions cost you time
Wear noise-canceling headphones — (we realize not everyone can do this if children are at home)
Avoid multitasking — our brains are not capable, so just focus on one thing and do it well
Don’t eat at your desk — time away to have a mindful meal makes a difference
"The days can all run together but if you have a plan for the day, it allows you to balance 'me time' with 'work time' and overall leaves you feeling more accomplished at the end of the day on both fronts." ~ Alison Butler, Program Manager at Google
LESSON #5: TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE — You got this, feel empowered
Time savings — working from home means no commute so there’s a little extra in your day, put it to use intentionally
Embrace the flexibility — you can start really early so you’re able to leave earlier, throw in a load of laundry before a meeting, work from your vacation spot
Schedule numerous mini-breaks — go outside for some sunshine, call a friend, stretch, breathe, get mail
Wardrobe change — rock the sweats one day, blazer with lipstick the next. Whatever strikes your mood
New Ways of Working
Yep, we have plenty of challenges... but there are also plenty of lessons and definitely some hidden gifts we can carry forward to help us grow from this collective experience. Considering the inevitable evolution of the workplace as we knew it in early 2020, these new ways of working will strengthen our resolve and teach us ways to create our best days, regardless of our location.
Our team at Brilliant Muse believes in harnessing the power of collaboration, so we prioritize partnering with awesome teams to combine superpowers and strengthen our services. If you're interested in working with us please contact us so we can explore opportunities.