The Reality of Working from Home: How Can I Stay Productive?

April 21, 2020 Cliff Livingston

There’s no question that the entire world is facing a new unprecedented challenge in these harrowing times. The past month has been filled with drastic changes to the way companies, countries, and we as humans live and interact with each other. One of the most profound changes noticed throughout companies across the globe is the shift into a work-from-home environment. For businesses and employers inexperienced with this method of production, the real question is, “how can I stay productive?”  

Over the past 15 months, I’ve been in a remote consulting position helping lead solution architecture on Salesforce Enterprise projects and I’ve got to say, I’m thriving. Now you may be thinking that you could not work from home 100% of the time.  Wouldn’t it be monotonous? Are you working a full workday? These are all fair questions and the simple answer is ’no.’ There are a few things you can do to make the most out of working from home. 

Start every day like it’s a normal day going to the office.  

Despite the urge to wake up in your pajamas, roll over to grab your laptop, and take meetings from your bed all day, you shouldn’t. Do your morning routine.  

Wake up, brush your teeth, take a shower, and wear clothes that make you feel confident. You never know when that webcam may accidentally turn on and your colleagues find out you have Iron-Man jammies!  

In all honesty though, it’s easier to present to clients, have coherent thoughts, and remain focused for longer periods of time at your desk, wearing your favorite jeans, feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  

Break your day into segments.  

I can’t stress this enough: Make. Time. For. You. Taking breaks throughout the day is imperative to avoiding burnout and maintaining the ability to focus. According to Science Daily, a brief interruption can vastly improve a person’s performance on tasks. A lot of people take walks and similar breaks with coworkers when in the office.  Take the same breaks at home. 

Personally, for me, I keep it very flexible when I take breaks. I like to work in shifts ranging from two- five hours with mini-breaks dispersed throughout. A mini break could include standing up to stretch, going outside to get the mail, or just going to the bathroom! After my first four-hour shift, I like to take a mental break and get up and move around. This used to mean going to the gym, but in these times it has turned into jogs around the neighborhood, cooking a nice meal for lunch, or walking around the house and straightening up.  

The important thing is to allow your mind to be free. Constant stimulation from emails and work stresses causes our brains to become less aware and become more easily distracted, leading to lower performance and missed deadlines. 

This is why my second shift is the strongest. I come back to work refreshed, refueled, and ready to go for afternoon meetings and finishing out any action items I couldn’t complete in my morning shift. Stressing that your workers break their day into segments and not forcing them to adhere to an office schedule will go a long way in empowering your employees and allowing them to have the keys to their own success.  

Don’t forget about culture.  

Working in a remote environment can make you feel like you’re on an island by yourself. It doesn’t have to. Having a proactive management  scheduling calls with their team semi-frequently goes a long way toward keeping up morale. 

The best thing about my company is I know I have hundreds of other consultants that have my back and will help me solve a difficult problem, provide study materials for any number of certifications, or find a good time to link up for a virtual happy hour and share their favorite recipes for Quarantinis. Two of the greatest songwriters of all time said it best:  I get by with a little help from my friends.  

In 2018, I made the decision to move into a remote position and haven’t looked back. I’m thankful that I’ve had time to acclimate and adapt for the past year. It wasn’t forced upon me by a pandemic like with many others, but this may very well be a blessing in disguise for many companies and people. I’m hopeful that we will all soon see the immense value in remote work and just how important it will be for us globally moving forward.  

About the Author

Cliff Livingston

Cliff is a Solutions Architect with 3+ years of hands-on Salesforce Consulting experience across multiple industries including Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Finance. He is an integral part of multiple Salesforce implementation projects helping improve Sales processes holistically and evolve the way C-Level Executives and Stakeholders manage their Sales teams.

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