Feeling disconnected when working from home due to the impact of COVID?
Remote work is not going far away anytime soon. It seems to be the answer to global pandemics, infrastructure disruptions and changing efficiencies – and my guess is that this list will only grow. COVID has certainly stated a clear case for the need to perform well under remote workplace conditions; now is the time to focus on how to make it work for you, whether you like it or not.
The word ‘remote’ suggests disconnection. Your job is to convert the impact of disconnection back into a ‘personalized’ language of connection for the foreseeable future. Here’s three ways to do so:
Success with this way of forging reconnection depends a lot on knowledge of what matters most to you, what energizes you and what holds your interest.
For me, there’s nothing better than a swim at the beach, having salt water on my body; no chlorinated swimming pool will ever substitute. It’s not about the length of time at the beach or in the water but rather the therapeutic effects of the salt on my skin’s pores, and the well-being it facilitates. I also happen to live 3 minutes from the beach so for me to be able to run down, dip in and be back before the next meeting trumps any and all disadvantage of remote work. In fact, six months into the pandemic, I relocated to a new rental for this very reason; remote work was getting me down. At that time, I was in the emotional red, feel disadvantaged inviting that ‘woe is me’ aspect to creep in. We all know that never ends well.
You are not me. What is your vitamin pill that would speak volumes about new ways of work that energize your productivity. Perhaps you are into Figure 8 dancing and can now do it in your loungeroom between meetings. Perhaps you are into taking the kids or dog out to sit under the palm trees during lunch, or perhaps you can access Tik Tok at more regular intervals for mental release.
No matter what your vitamin pill, ensure it has room to ‘be taken’ each day, and build up your reservoir of connectivity on a daily basis.
One of my values is growth, yet another is collaboration. Both of these felt compromised during lockdown periods, and that was a big hint of what I had to change, and ensure I could have integrated into each day or week.
Revisit those values, identify what is missing through remote work, and find ways to integrate them regularly.
This is a winning idea, as long as you create or design your challenge in a way that it’s something you would love to have or be, yet would be completely impossible to have or be in the workplace. For me, yesterday’s challenge was to have my favourite aunt to take time off her busy schedule in the other part of the world so I could sneak in a fun 30-minute zoom catchup. Could I do at from work? No way, the boss would see me as loafing off.
The very fact I’m doing this for myself is also giving me my power back. I’ve worked out the priorities of my boss and what he wants from me. Knowing he can’t be with me every minute of every day, I’m ensuring as long as my work is completed, the other sets of minutes are up to me to use in a way that will get me going. Just like compound interest, yet in a very positive way, the more I challenge myself with this, the more exciting it all becomes. Benefits are growing for me in exponential ways, and I’m no longer on that ‘treadmill’ of same ol’ same ol’ every day at work.
There is also an additional way to achieve this. Make the challenge so unusual that automatic pilot will definitely be the victim. For example, challenge yourself to use a different chair all day, or face the other direction at your desk, or only use pencils and not pens. Do things that sound so simple, and watch your reaction and programming.
We are navigating unchartered waters, yet never lose sight that you have the power to create a way through the craziness by incorporating a little creativity, fun and challenge. Own the space and reconnect at every possible moment.
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