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Bazaarvoice: A refresher for remote working in Bazaar times

  • Written by Bazaarvoice's Caroline Grant

    Caroline Grant has been working remotely from Donegal for years and is currently part of the team at Belfast-based tech company Bazaarvoice. As the COVID-19 lockdown has been extended for another 3 weeks, the initial ‘working from home’ momentum may begin to wane. Caroline shares her tips on maintaining a healthy mind and sustaining your workload during the extended lockdown.

    Looking back on that first week of lockdown, it seemed impossible that the positive ‘we can do this!’ mentality would eventually fade. Probably because it’s not simply an adjustment to working at home but we’re adjusting to working remotely during a global pandemic and an era of social distancing - it can take its toll.

    #1: A SEPARATE WORKSPACE

    It’s crucial to have a designated workspace. If you’ve found yourself creeping back into the living room, remember your threshold for distraction is likely to be significantly lower at this stage. Get creative, I’ve spotted people online using ironing boards, bathtubs, and old liquor cabinets as make-shift desks. Find a space that helps you focus rather than adding distractions.

    Top Tip: Creating a separate workspace that allows you to mentally separate your living space from your workspace. If you need a change of pace, try working from your garden or backyard.

    #2: A MORNING ROUTINE

    Get out of your PJs. An obvious one but as our mental stamina naturally depilates, and work begins to feel like it’s moving at a slower pace, getting dressed is still a key part of your day. This may sound like weird advice but wear shoes (instead of comfy socks) to help you keep a sense of work versus relaxation. It’s important to develop a routine, take a shower, eat breakfast, and prepare lunch as if you’re heading to work.

    Top Tip: The novelty of working in your pyjamas may have worn off. Try joining in on ‘Dress Up Fridays’ to see if that helps lift your mood.

    #3: AN EVENING ROUTINE

    Working from home can blur the lines between work life and home life. If you’re feeling distracted during the day, don’t be tempted to play ‘catch-up’ in the evening. The lack of commute isn't a reason to work into the evening, and it’s not likely to help your productivity overall.

    Top Tip: Set an alarm 30 mins before you normally finish work as a reminder to wrap things up as it’s nearly “home-time”. It’s time to mentally wind down!

    #4: MIND AND BODY WELL-BEING

    Leave your desk, take regular breaks and get out for a walk at lunchtime; you’ll feel refreshed and more productive afterwards. You may be homeschooling your kids or feeling stressed and isolated. Work-life balance in close quarters during social distancing is hard, so be kind to yourself.

    There can be an overwhelming sense of guilt if you’re not glued to the laptop but understanding that breaks help with productivity will ultimately help you work better.

    Top Tip: Arrange a virtual lunch with a friend or colleague. Do something with your family. Treasure this time with your kids or significant other, as they would normally be at school or work.

    RELATED: Bazaarvoice: Why the tech sector must be more human-centred when designing products

    #5: MANAGE DISTRACTIONS

    The biggest distraction and challenge during this pandemic is trying to balance the demands of work alongside the needs of our kids or vulnerable parents or elderly neighbours.

    Talk to your kids and set clear boundaries with your family. You’re not being mean. When work is over, down tools, put your phone away and give them your full attention.

    Top Tip: If kids or family members are at home, come up with a system to let them know when it’s okay to come into your office.

    #6: STAY CONNECTED

    Our site lead has organized weekly live meetups, the agenda is to listen and share. The whole office dials in. It’s inspiring to see everyone openly share their personal experiences about how things are going at home. It’s not all sunshine and roses. We’re working on supporting each other.

    Teams are scheduling virtual lunches and morning coffee chats. We’re having wine and tequila tours in the evenings (not every evening)! We had a virtual happy hour last Friday afternoon with a music quiz where people could just hang out.

    RELATED: Tech tips and tricks to help you survive self-isolation

    COVID-19 has inadvertently opened up new ways for people to work remotely and stay connected.

    Top tip: Don’t wait for a work reason to chat or video call with your remote colleagues. Check-in with colleagues that you think might be struggling with the isolation.

    Stay Well. Stay Connected.


    (c) Fujitsu

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