wfh

How to be productive with your new WFH “coworkers”

Sick of your coworkers’ tantrums, impromptu food fights, and soul-crushing refrain of “I’m bored”? Found yourself working in the break room right by the fridge, well, all day long? Are fights over workspace feeling eerily similar to fights over mattress space with your other coworker? And, on top of it all, is your hairiest coworker hanging around your desk begging for food right this second? 

Working from home comes with quite the glaring obstacle: getting used to your new workplace colleagues. Significant others, children, pets, and the ever-looming distraction of your eat-in workspace (why hello, freshly stocked fridge) are your new coworkers—for better and for worse. But at Simplus, we’ve been champions of the remote work model for years, and we believe that there are a lot of advantages to your new situation. In fact, remote workers are 24 percent more likely to be happy and productive.

But it’s a journey to get to that point. And we can help. So if your coworkers are this close to another time-out, let us first share some tips on how to maintain work productivity (and, not to mention, peaceful relationships) in a WFH environment. 

 

Children

Your children are your most cherished blessing. That is until you had to live, work, and play with them in the same household day after day. Managing children in a remote work environment is different for everyone depending on the ages and needs of your kids. And, if you’re among the chosen few who get to juggle work demands and children under 10 years old, it’s especially tricky. 

As you’ve probably already picked up on, time is precious when working with young children in the home. Accordingly, try using a consistent home routine for the workweek. Keeping your children on a schedule is good not only for them but also for your own sanity. Try setting aside a few dedicated hours in the middle of the day to work while your children nap, have quiet reading time, or enjoy some “supervised” from afar backyard play. Soon enough, you’ll find you not only can manage work with more ease but also can actually enjoy your breaks with children at your side. After all, if working from home affords you the blessing of more little moments with your children throughout the day, why not enjoy them? Alejandra Acosta, Simplus Associate Consultant, found a way to balance her household full of kids and full-time work—and still enjoy her kids at the end of the day! Learn more about her experience here.  

Make sure you and your kids are in the best situation to appreciate the little moments together by sticking to whatever routine works best for you. And, for those of you with fully self-sufficient children, don’t rub it in. 

 

Significant Other

Transitioning your work life to the home means you also have another coworker to adjust to: your partner. Whether your partner is also working full time at home or not, it’s likely you two will butt heads over personal space, lunch break timing, wifi use, whose turn it is to tackle the children, and whose workload takes priority when. 

Rather than looking at your WFH situation as too crowded with your partner, consider the ways remote work allows you to better support each other. For Simplus Delivery Manager Stu Jones and his personal situation, working from home has given him the chance to take care of his wife, diagnosed with cancer, without sacrificing his professional growth. 

While every relationship is different, you can always find ways that working from home benefits you and your partner. Lunch breaks together and moral support with the pesky wifi signal are just the start. And, if you still need to line the office with duct tape divisions, so be it. Find what works for you and focus on the ways you can lift each other up while in such close working quarters. 

 

Pets

Your furriest coworkers may seem like a small feat to conquer after figuring out the WFH situation with children and partners. But these coworkers can still present quite a distraction during your workday. Similar to your other coworkers, it just takes some time trying out different strategies until you find one that sticks. 

For Lisa Shininger, Simplus Digital Marketing Strategist, she’s found that just the right comfy cushion or sometimes a strategic door closing are the perfect ways to keep her cats happy and loved while not letting her work suffer. Read more about Lisa’s work-from-home situation here

So while all the good boy coworkers out there may be rejoicing, thrilled to suddenly start seeing more faces around the home, make sure your pets know the same rules and routines still apply. And, when you need that walking break in between hectic meetings, you’ve got a built-in companion already. Take time to appreciate those little things your WFH situation lets you do that you never could back at the office.

 

Distractions

The kitchen is right next door (probably fully stocked if you’ve been quarantining), the tv is just a button away with weeks of binging awaiting you, and with no in-person interaction with your colleagues, it’s loungewear for days from the waist down. Life is good… ish. 

The distractions of working from home abound. Literally everywhere you turn is probably a reminder of something you ought to do (those tax forms and laundry piles) or something you’d rather be doing (perusing YouTube for recipe ideas you won’t ever actually make). But what you are doing is work. The lines between your personal life and professional life can get blurry while working from home, but a few tips from Simplus’ very own VP of Talent Joe Carr can make sure each workday at home is set up to be a productive one:

  • Dress for work. (And yes, that includes actually taking a shower rather than fumbling around for your laptop while still in bed.)
  • Maintain a schedule as much as possible. 
  • Do something for you each day. (Take a walk to your favorite nearby park, exercise, read a leisure book.) 

You can read more about Joe’s best practices for making remote work productive and healthy for your wellbeing in his Workplace Culture ebook here

 

Whether your remote work situation has some or all of these new coworkers running around, it’s a time of adjustment for everyone. But with a dedicated schedule, the right perspective, and—yes—some willpower over the lure of the kitchen, you can find your new normal and learn to collaborate with your coworkers. 

Learn more about remote work solutions and how to master the work-from-home lifestyle with Simplus’ Remote Work Consulting.