As the Bandalier team has adapted to working remotely, each person on our team has had to figure out what helps them work most efficiently. Our commitment to kaizen means that our entire team is testing out different tips and tricks to be more productive each week. Here’s what’s worked best for our team members.
Dress to your comfort level
There are plenty of jokes about working from home in your PJs, or not wearing pants while working. Staying comfortable while working is an underrated part of the work-from-home experience!
Folks have different levels of comfort, though. Some of our team members kept dressing the way they did for the office; others went a little more casual. Some of us have been working in athleisure gear for the last year. Regardless of what you wear for work, make sure it’s something you’re choosing. Some folks can focus better when they’re dressed to the nines, while others work the same in sweatpants as they would in a button-down.
The key thing about dressing for work-from-home is making yourself happy. Focus on the parts of your routine that feel the best, and prioritize those when you get ready to start the work day.
Separate work and home time
When we first shifted to remote work, lots of our team members were tempted to be “always online”. After all, you’re right by your laptop – why not check that email and clear your Slack notifications quick? Or send someone a message while you’re thinking about it?
It only took a few weeks for us to realize that the structure wasn’t sustainable. Always on means never resting, and folks started to feel the burnout. We talked about our expected availability, and set clear boundaries across the team. No one should feel pressured to check or respond to messages outside of work hours. If you’re taking time off, we expect team members to be offline. If you get stuck working late, you’ll be able to leave early the next day.
Leave your workspace
It’s easier to feel like you’re always working if you stay in the same space. Plenty of online resources recommend having a totally separate workspace, but that isn’t workable for everyone. Our team members work from lots of different places, but we all know how important it is to move away from our day’s working space when we wrap up. Some folks take a walk at the end of the day to clear their heads. Others have a routine of packing up their laptop until the next morning. Whether you want to leave the house or go to another room, establishing a routine that works for you is key!
Test time management tips
Use your calendar to your advantage! Between instant messages from your coworkers and the distractions of the internet, it’s easier than ever to fall down a rabbit hole of small tasks on your way to a big one. Block off time for big projects, and make it clear when you have to take some time to focus. Our team pauses Slack notifications, and we’ve found that closing out extra tabs and windows can make a big difference in productivity.
While it’s important to focus, it’s also important to give yourself breaks. If you have time blocked for a project and can’t make progress, don’t be afraid to switch to another task for a while. Most of our team has seen success with the Pomodoro method, or tomato timer. Work for 25 minutes, then let your mind wander for 5 minutes. You can take a break, walk away from your computer, or check in on another project. You can also scale up the time blocks to work for 50 minutes with a 10-minute break at the end. Test different time management and prioritization methods, and find what works for you!
Take it slow
If you try to optimize your entire workday in a week, it’ll be hard – instead, lean into kaizen. Test small, impactful changes each week until you figure out what works best for you and stick with them. Once you’ve built one helpful habit, add the next. Keep adding until you’re satisfied with your workflow!