Navigating Digital Transformation: from WFH Survival Mode to Thrival Gold

JULIANNE STREFF
Julianne Streff
Mar 31, 2020

To create a sense of calm during COVID-19’s disruption of ‘business-as-usual,’ Spire is helping several enterprise clients navigate this new remote landscape. 

The following is an overview of the digital transformation work we’re doing to bring everyone online. Read on to see what tactics top executives in the financial services, government, and food industries are applying to support their remote workforce and continue to crush what they do best. 

1. Create a morning routine 

  • Your typical day has changed, but you can still create the new normal. 
  • Allow yourself space between the transition of bed to work by setting your alarm early enough to go outside for a walk, do some morning stretches or catch a virtual workout (invite a coworker!), cook breakfast, make coffee, create your to-do list, read the articles you’ve been saving “for later”, etc. Now you’re ready to face the day!
  • Many companies are offering free and discounted online exercise classes, including CorePower Yoga, PlanetGranite (geared toward climbers), and Indoor Climbing.
  • The New York Times and Boston Mag offer some easy recipes for these ‘quarantimes,’ while Nutrition.org offers ways to include the kids – with an educational twist – as you meal prep. 

2. Set a schedule – and boundaries 

  • Make a point to start and end at a specific time each day and hold yourself accountable.
  • Send yourself calendar reminders to get up between time-blocks, take a break, make lunch, and get some air (while practicing safe social distancing).
  • Set a daily reminder for when it’s time to put the computer away.  While remote work allows for added flexibility, avoid burnout and give your brain time to rest sans screens.
  • Ensure you adhere to your commitments, usually meaning get your 40 hours per week in as usual, but given the lack of commute time, you might explore altered work hours (so long as it’s approved by your manager) such as starting/ending the day earlier to give yourself more time with family or to tackle your personal to-do list. 
  • Studies have shown that breaks can actually significantly improve productivity levels and a person’s ability to focus. If it helps, set a timer for 15 minutes to hold yourself to it. 

3. Create a sacred work space

  • Your bed is not the place for work. Separate sleep/leisure from work; psychologists say this will not only improve focus but also help you sleep better.
  • Create a make-shift standing desk by stacking books/boxes, and find a spot in your house with the best sunlight (or lighting) if possible.
  • Add a plant or something aesthetically pleasing to your desk. Afterall, plants (biophilia) have been proven to boost productivity!
  • If you eat and work at the same space, try sitting on different sides of the table in an effort to separate the two activities. 
  • If you’re on the phone a lot, take those moments as opportunities to take a call outside on a porch or walk around the house to keep the legs moving.

4. Understand the importance of human connection

  • Loneliness is a common feeling associated with working remotely. Ironically, as technology has afforded all of us the opportunity to virtually connect, in some cases social distancing has many of us connecting even more often than we did pre-quarantine.
  • Overcome the daunting sense of isolation by recreating your favorite in-person experiences. Go virtual with coffee, lunch, yoga, standups, themed happy hour, 1:1s, game night, book club, start a podcast club, etc. 
  • Schedule individual or team check-ins, even just 10 minutes makes a difference. When possible, leadership can actively pair staff together and formalize these check-ins with a frequency of daily or weekly.
  • Even if you’re feeling content, you might consider checking on a teammate’s well-being. Everyone reacts differently to remote work, so be sure to do wellness checks as you can. 
  • Staying connected is crucial for mental health, especially in isolation. A quick Google search reveals there are many creative ways to keep things interesting. 

5. Don’t start work in your PJs … Or do

  • This one is more polarizing as some find it a great luxury to roll out of bed and in front of the computer. It depends on what you’re prioritizing. If waking up and putting on a presentable outfit makes you feel rejuvenated and ready to seize the day, then take that route. 
  • If snoozing a little longer allows you to tackle your to do list more readily, embrace that route.
  • Let go of any pressure to look a certain way in order to connect with your team. That’s the beauty of living in Colorado: you can throw on a hat and call it a day.

6. There’s an App for that

  • If you struggle to stay on task while working remotely, you may find a time management app helpful to track the amount of time you spend on each task and even minimize distractions. 
  • Some examples of these apps include: Evernote, Todoist, and Toggl.

7. Learn something new

  • Use your newfound free time to keep learning. Now is a great time to invest in and improve upon your skillset, professionally and personally.
  • Continued learning keeps us thriving. Seek out [free] online resources including Brit + Co, Udemy, Lynda.com (free month online offered right now), etc. Many sites even offer coupon codes during quarantine. 

8. End your day with a routine/ritual 

  • Creating an evening routine, such as walking the dog, hitting a virtual workout class, closing Slack, turning on a podcast, or hopping on Facetime for a virtual happy hour will help signify the end of the day. 
  • Consider sending your team a Slack message, something like “Hey team, I’m logging off for the day. Is there anything you need from me before I head out?”
  • Choose one or two rituals, and stick with them as best you can to ensure consistency. 

At the end of the day, we’re all in this together. Take it a day at a time. If your company, like so many others, is new to online work, call us. We’ve helped your peers chart a path to remote work, some even growing revenue during these uncertain times. 

When things get tough, focus on the positives of working from home:

  • World’s shortest commute
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Technology that enables us to continue working and stay connected
  • Flexible schedule
  • More time to focus on the people and things you’ve put off because life pre-quarantine was too jam-packed!

 

Interested in reading more about remote work cultures? Read How Agile Remote Work Became a Growth Strategy for Spire During COVID-19.

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