Hybrid or remote work might feel like a blessing, however it's been shown to be more distracting. According to Gartner (2021), employees in hybrid mode are…
•2.54 times more likely to experience digital distractions,
•1.12 times more likely to feel they work too hard at their jobs compared to onsite work,
•1.27 times more likely to struggle to disconnect from work.
The reason is very simple: while in the office we can solve a problem within 1-2 minute, when we work remotely, we end up having many more meetings, emails and chats. We are also less likely to take breaks. Last but not least, when we work remotely we have no idea if we are disturbing others who also work remotely, and we may end up duplicating our messages if we didn't get immediate responses. Thus adding even more clutter.
Digital distractions indirectly and negatively influence our mental health. A mere expectation of a work-related email increases the levels of stress hormones. So you may feel more emotionally or even physically exhausted if you work remotely.
Do you face these challenges? We have put together tips to make your hybrid or remote-first work a better experience and get the most of it.
Picture source: Flickr/Jayce G
1. Prioritize your focus
- Minimize/remove notifications on your devices
- Keep the number of open computer windows to a minimum
- Keep devices you aren't using in the other room (the mere presence of your smartphone has been shown to reduce cognitive abilities)
- Book timeslots for "deep work" without interruptions by colleagues
- Use blocking apps to avoid going to social media or news websites
- Agree with your team on specific times when you and them are available to answer enquiries, as opposed to being "always on". So that you can them can also focus on getting work done!
2. Have a dedicated big desk to work
The main distractions at home are noise and... a small desk. Having a dedicated large desk and special workspace reduces distractions.
3. Pay attention to your body needs
Chances are that now that you work from home you sit more. If in the office you used to at least walk to a meeting, now everything is in front of the screen. So you need to find ways to compensate for it.
One way to deal with it is to do fake "commute breaks" in the beginning and end of the workday, even if that's for 15 minutes.
Another efficient way is during working time to take mini-breaks of 1-2 minute each every half an hour or so. Do some stretching or simply stand up. This helps prevent a number of problems that arise from constant sitting. Breaks have been shown to increase your cognitive control.
4. Set up clear boundaries
Multiple research proves that when we don't take time to properly switch off from work, this increases our levels of stress and ultimately impacts productivity.
Tell your team, when they can expect to hear from you. A research from BCG and Harvard Business School shows that predictable unplugging not only improves work-life balance, but also created the following benefits:
"Consultants are able to make and keep plans during their weekly predictable time off. More importantly, they know that the world will not fall apart if they turn off. Planned time off also forces them to do a better job of planning and prioritizing. They spend less time on lower-value work and develop more innovative and collaborative approaches to problems. Unless they are forced to eliminate some work, that work would simply be done at a different time."
Find a way to leave work at work, when you work from home - whether it's about leaving computer in the other room, or using a different work profile on your phone, or performing a ritual at the end of the workday.
Is your team moving to remote-only or hybrid workplace? Consciously Digital coaches can support you in this transition. Contact us to find out more.