The pandemic has changed many aspects of life, including the traditional workspace. Working in an office setting will look incredibly different and may change entirely over the next few months.
Depending on the state, teams have spent weeks, some even months, working from home in order to minimize the spread of Covid-19. Even as the country begins to reopen, remote work is here to stay, as businesses look to implement changes to prioritize the health of their workers.
This shift prompted me to connect with four executives to learn more about how they and their teams stay productive, all while working from home.
1. Commit to a healthy morning routine
Over the years, Thomas Nieto, founder and CEO of Main Squeeze Juice Company, has learned the importance of developing a healthy morning routine to "reset" so that he can feel optimistic and mentally confident before starting his day.
Nieto has maintained this best practice while working from home and recommends it to others in order to stay productive. "Without this intentional and essential mental reset, it's very easy to succumb to the natural fears and anxieties that come with both the professional and personal responsibilities of daily life. We see this especially now with all of the fears and anxieties caused by Covid," explains Nieto.
Every morning, Nieto takes several steps to ensure he's ready to face the challenges of the day with strength and mental clarity. "First and foremost, I do not touch my electronic devices for the first hour of the day," he says. "No calls, no emails, no messages or social media. Then -- after some coffee, prayer, and reflection -- my mind is properly conditioned to execute a plan and I'm ready to face the day ahead from a place of strength."
2. Wake up your imagination
Whether you're a writer, teacher, chef -- you name it -- anyone can stand to benefit from some creativity, but it can be hard to come by when you have a daily routine. Having to work from home has shaken up many people's lives, which can seem inconvenient at first; however, if you ask Scott Taylor, president and COO of Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, he'd say it's a great opportunity to wake up your imagination.
"Creativity isn't just reserved for artists or culinary geniuses, it can and should be used by management and leadership teams to help strengthen culture, develop new campaigns, or help communities in need," shares Taylor. "Once our team settled into the new norm of weekly Zoom calls, social-distanced meetings, and bouncing marketing ideas off of our families and neighbors, productivity and creative levels shot through the roof."
Kick-starting this can be as simple as going on a walk in the neighborhood or taking your "office" outside for inspiration. "Getting fresh air while on a conference call or sitting with your laptop in the backyard can provide an opportunity to not only survive but thrive," Taylor says. "And, as we all start to return to our regular workplaces, it's important to continue to draw from this inspiration in order to make the 'new normal' that much more creative and productive."
3. Don't stop building your culture
Just because a team isn't physically together, that doesn't mean it isn't strong. In fact, David Graham -- CEO and co-founder of Code Ninjas -- credits the success of his team to its culture, something he planned to continue to grow even if everyone was working from home.
"In our company, culture is key. Sharing personal experiences and spending quality time together that wasn't work-related made our workplace even more productive and innovative because of the team we have built," explains Graham.
"Even in a crisis," he adds, "when we couldn't share a meal or be around each other, we found ways to build that camaraderie, by playing virtual games together, made a point to recognize great work, and made sure we were checking in on one another. Maintaining and growing our culture during this time allowed our employees to not get burned out and stay productive."
4. End the day on a high note
The challenges teams are facing today can be overwhelming and daunting, which is why it's important to always end your day on a high note, according to Jonathan Barnett, founder and CEO of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning.
"Covid-19 has worn all of us down, as we've had to endure adapting to life at home with the exception of access to food, gas, and essential services," says Barnett. "One of the things that has helped me get through this is to plan out the day, and when the business day is over, end that day on a high note."
He adds, "This is especially important right now because we are all operating in an environment that is outside of our familiarity. And, even though we are all doing the best we can, there are still a lot of elements out of our control, so controlling how you end your day will help drive productivity the following day and days to come."