Flattening the curve of COVID-19 has meant that, for many of us, our daily commute now consists of taking a few steps across the apartment or house.
The switch from being in the office to working from home has been an unanticipated one for many businesses and employees. With little time to prepare, there may suddenly be new challenges around rallying the team to work remotely and separating work from home life.
Along with the challenges come the perks though. After all, flexible work schedules which allow for time in the office and at home are considered an attractive company perk.
Either way, as it’s more of a mandate at the moment, we have collected some ideas and tips from our team to help you make the most of having an office in your living space.
Tips For Travel Businesses Adjusting To Working From Home
Set Up A Dedicated Work Space For Success
People who regularly work from home will tell you that, to get the most from your setup, you need a dedicated working space.
“Choose your working spot. Also, great lighting is a must!” Maria Claudia, Sales LATAM
It might be tempting to work from the bed or couch, but in reality, it’s not ideal. Aside from the ergonomics aspect, you need some separation in the space where you relax and work. Because home is where you typically unwind, it’s easy to get distracted if you don’t move into some sort of structured space to work from.
“Get a comfortable chair! Otherwise, you can really mess up your back.” Elijah, Sales Manager
Even if you don’t have an extra room in your home for your setup, create a work corner to have a space where mentally, you’re in the office. Whether that’s in your bedroom, living room, or dining room, you need a separate space where you can conduct business as usual.
“Separate your work and the rest of your life. Set up a little home office corner if you can and make sure it’s separate from the place where you sleep.” Matt, Product Manager
Settle In With Your New Coworkers
Unless you live on your own, a new office means new coworkers. In this case, it’s going to be your family, housemates, and/or pets. Whatever your circumstances, keep in mind that everyone is going to be figuring out the new space they’re in during this time.
From the start, it’s worth having a conversation and setting boundaries considering that you are all relegated to the same defined area. For example, you can agree on taking phone calls behind a closed door to avoid disturbing the rest of the household. Or walking into a room to speak to a person instead of calling from across the house.
Mindfully navigate this transition, and make it a team effort to work out how you can all fit in comfortably with the least amount of disruption.
Create A Daily Schedule
“Create and maintain a rhythm.” Pranay, Sales – Lead Gen
You probably already follow a daily routine or schedule while working at the office. Now that you are working in a space that holds distractions for you, it’s a good idea to not only stick to it but structure this more firmly.
“Make a solid plan in the morning: what you will do and at which time slot.” Garib, CTO
Decide on your daily start and end times, make yourself a task list for the day, and set reminders to take regular breaks. Get a distraction-free start to your morning, and use this time to tackle the bigger/more taxing tasks on your agenda.
‘Make a ‘master’ to-do list and a ‘today’ to-do list, and try to tackle unpleasant tasks early in the day while your energy and motivation are high.” Jen, Director of Development | Wellness
Having structure to guide you will give you purpose and help to keep you motivated.
Communicate Regularly With Your Team
It is advisable to keep up any team meetings that you would have usually attended had you been in the office. As you no longer have the luxury of interacting with your teammates in person from across the desk, regular video meetings will be a welcome go-to.
When working remotely, this is particularly important to bounce ideas off your team and improve communication quality. People who thrive off the buzz of the office and having coworkers at close quarters may find working from home isolating at times. With face to face communication, the team will be in better spirits and have better dynamics.
If you don’t have any meetings scheduled for the day, then still make sure to touch base with each individual at least once. You no longer have the coffee machine as a meeting point to chat about the weekend or bring up a new idea, so you need to keep up the connection virtually instead.
“Take the time to communicate with each member of your team (individually) each day within your first few hours of work. Even if it’s just to say good morning.” Luke, Head of International Sales
Separate Professional From Personal
One of the biggest challenges when working from home is separating professional from personal. This is as much about physical space as it is mentally putting down work to make time for family, exercise, personal care, eating, and hobbies.
On the one hand, working hours can draw out as there’s no specific moment when you have to physically leave the office to go home. On the other, it’s easy to get distracted past lunch hour tidying or doing something that you would usually do in your own time.
“Make sure you take breaks (‘relax time’) but also make sure you are putting in work. It’s very easy to slip to either side of the spectrum.” Emery, Sales – Lead Gen
Prioritize Your Mental Health
The uncertainties of COVID-19 are taking their toll on everyone. In addition to the elevated stress levels it’s inducing, working from home has its own set of challenges. Given the circumstances, it’s important to check in on, and prioritize your mental health during this time.
Some of the warning signs of burnout or depression can be mood changes, interrupted sleeping or eating habits, and lack of interest in things that are normally important to you. Be cognizant of any of these changes, and make a point of having a break from the screen regularly.
Balance in life includes measures of self-care, so make time to spend with or speak to family or friends, exercise, get fresh air, eat healthily, and get enough sleep. Whatever it is that makes you happy.
“Have some regular breaks to stretch your body and clear your mind.” Natasha, Marketing Specialist
Navigating Our ‘Now’
Startup businesses, freelancers, and remote workers have been successfully working from home or a variation of ‘out of the office’ for years. While this may not have been an option that you had previously considered for your team or travel business, modern tech and tools promote a connected and productive workforce.
With the right set up and mindset in place, there’s no reason you can’t continue working out of the office.
If you are looking for more resources to help your travel business navigate these unprecedented times, then we recently put up an article on Information On Government Assistance and Loans For Travel Businesses in the U.S.
Alternatively, we’re working on continually updating this helpful COVID-19 resources list for travel businesses as well.
From our team to yours, stay safe!