How to use performance management skills to cope with COVID-19.
Working from home is a reality for most these days. And while it’s nice not to have a commute, working from home presents significant challenges for many, from lack of space to young kids to Wi-Fi issues and beyond. We’re now seven months into this reality, and it has been a strain on the psyche of many, if not all of us. The reality is, though, this is our new reality. It won’t last forever, but we’re living in the now — and we need tools to help us cope. As a longtime performance coach, I have helped many businesses and business leaders hone their performance skills. Since the onset of COVID-19, I’ve seen the same performance management skills help people survive and thrive in our current predicament. The key is setting up your world to be comfortable. Here are 11 ways to do it:
Set a Work Schedule
When you’re working from home, the lines can get easily blurred between work and home. Set a schedule for working — and make it realistic. You may be able to say you’ll work from 9-5, but if you’re at home, there will likely be interruptions during your day. Build time for these interruptions into your schedule. This way, when they happen, they won’t throw you off.
Create Small Goals
The pyramids weren’t built in a day. The best way to achieve a big goal is to break it up into small goals. Set three to five small goals for yourself to achieve each day. This will help bring focus to an environment that can be unfocused — and provide a sense of accomplishment you can build on.
Have a Ritual
Rituals are both simple and effective. They lend structure to your day. It can be as simple as turning your light on when you’re working, and off when your workday is done. Try mimicking the ritual you have at your normal office.
Put Your Phone to Bed
When your phone is on, you’re always at work — and that’s not healthy. Addiction to the smartphone effects most of society. But the best way to truly disconnect is to actually disconnect. At night, plug your phone in to recharge, far away from where you eat dinner or sleep.
Manage Expectations for Communication
Whether it’s clients, employees or your boss, be clear about when you can and cannot be reached. Working from home can make everyone feel like they’re always on. Make it clear that sometimes you’re off. And you must respect others’ availability as well. If your colleagues and clients don’t voluntarily communicate this information with you, ask! A little grace goes a long way.
Make Time to Manage Your Stress
Taking time to regenerate your spirit is imperative to emotional (and physical) health. Set aside some time each day — 20 minutes will do the trick — for stress reducing activities, like meditation, yoga — or simply sitting quietly. And remember, turn off the news!
Start a Journal
Journaling isn’t just for teenage girls. Writing down your feelings each day will allow you to express your anxiety, even if it’s only to yourself. A journal is a great outlet for expression. You’ll find that it can free you from pent up anxiety and stress.
Identify Irrational Feelings
An important part of managing your stress is the ability to identify and eliminate irrational feelings. Try to be aware that many of your feelings are not realistic concerns, then work to limit the frequency, intensity and duration of these thoughts.
Phone a Friend
Everybody needs somebody to talk to. Reach out to a friend and get some stuff off your chest. Chances are, they’ll want to do the same! We are social creatures. The virus has taken a lot of our socializing away. By picking up the phone, you can get it back. Call a friend you can be “real” with.
Ask for What You Need
You have responsibilities at home, especially children. Never be afraid to ask for what you need — changing a meeting time, flexible hours, etc. We’re in a new reality and people will understand. They’re likely dealing with the same thing you are.
Working from home can feel like you’re always “on.” You must give yourself the time and permission to relax your mind and your body. Taking time to relax is always a good idea. In the age of coronavirus, it’s a necessity.