The new normal : working from home

I believe most people are struggling with how to focus when working remotely. Unfortunately, due to the current situation, most of us had to avoid going to the office and started working from home. It’s not easy when you have a small apartment like me and you have to adjust to the current conditions all of a sudden.

So I made some research to increase my productivity and I think these are valuable tips that will be helpful for everyone reading this:

  1. Find a designated workspace: The brain works in mysterious ways. If you create a habit of working at the same place every day and if you designate that spot only for that purpose, it will recognize it as a place where you must work productively and without any distractions. When I worked at the office, my daily routine of getting ready and the one hour commute help my brain to get ready for the day. Even though right now I enjoy the extra time to have breakfast and read the news in the morning, I had to find triggers to get my head ready for work.
  2. Avoid distractions during your workday: One of the challenges working remotely is dealing with distractions. Find gadgets that will help you to concentrate. I am currently using noise-canceling headphones, and it increased my productivity a lot since I don’t deal well with noise. Another thing that can be distracting is dealing with non-working tasks during the day. If you were at the office, you wouldn’t be texting on your cell phone or doing laundry right? So don’t do it even though you’re at home and no one sees it.
  3. Stay organized and make checklists/diagrams: I consider myself a super organized person. But once I had to work from home, I had to revise my organization method. I realized that at the beginning I would sometimes forget about scheduled meetings or project submissions because I was missing the reminders from my colleagues for example. So I started using the method that I used for my master thesis: doing diagrams and diagrams that would help me stay focused! This also keeps me motivated because I can see how long it will take me to achieve a goal.  Writing down the tasks also helps me to disconnect from my work mode because I don’t have to constantly think about it.
  4. Create a personal schedule: Since I wanted to keep my routine at the office as much as possible, I started sitting at my desk at 8.30 am even though I start working at 9.00 am. That helps me to concentrate because I start by reviewing what’s the schedule for the day. This means looking for the meetings that will happen on that day and reviewing the tasks that remain incomplete from the previous day and the projects that I should start working on. It’s also important to let your friends and family know that even though you’re working remotely, you’re not free all the time.
  5. Always look to improve your collaboration: One of the most important parts of being an architect is making part of a team. Most of our job consists of interacting with others, whether is meeting with our team for brainstorm sessions, giving and asking for feedback or getting assignments. even though we use apps like Slack, it’s important to talk face to face. It isn’t easy to adapt to videoconferencing, especially when you have a small house and you share it with your partner. But you need to adjust in the best possible way to it. In my case, I started using a microphone, which allows him to be in a meeting at the same time as me. The combination of the noise-cancelling headphones and the microphone was perfect for the web conferences.

Even though I miss a lot my previous routine, I believe I adjusted very well to what’s been called » the new normal». I hope all these tips help you to do the same.


Sofia Melo


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