March 26, 2020
Five tips for building a better future at work during COVID-19
It’s a scary world these days. Every day brings something new and unexpected. Those of us with the privilege of continuing to work have to an entirely new way of doing so, and no one has the answers.
It’s possible to come out of this moment stronger than ever. That’s what these five tips from our Pros are all about. Pick a different one to try each day as you navigate this period of uncertainty.
Tip #1: Start a routine.
You can take advantage of working remotely by consciously setting up a healthy morning routine.
Pick one to try this morning:
- Creative expression
- Healthy breakfast
The best morning routines give you a clear moment of transition from “life mode” to “work mode.”
Takeaway: Whatever you try today can eventually be adapted into to your typical wake-up time and commute.
Tip #2: Reflect regularly.
Set aside some time to reflect on how working from home is going for you and identify tweaks you can test.
A few questions to ask yourself:
- Who can I talk to if things are feeling hard?
- Am I getting all the information I need to do my best work?
- Am I getting and giving consistent recognition and feedback?
Takeaway: Taking an honest assessment of your life at work can help you get ahead of potential problems. Document what works for you, and be generous about sharing your newfound tips with your colleagues.
Tip #3: Use your voice (literally).
Interpreting tone in emails or instant messages is hard enough without all the extra stress and uncertainty you and your colleagues are feeling right now.
Today, try pairing a written communication with a video or voice message that helps the recipient see and hear your tone.
Takeaway: When you increase the human-ness of your communication mix, and encourage co-workers to do the same, you’re contributing to a supportive and transparent working environment.
Tip #4: Reframe your anxiety.
Try the “Notice and Label” technique for managing anxious thoughts.
1. Notice: When an anxious thought or feeling — whatever that looks like for you — wells up, recognize that it’s happening.
2. Label: Accept it as such: “Oh, an anxious thought is here.” Anxious thoughts come and go. There’s no need to identify with them or let them hook us. Just give them a momentary space and watch them float away.
Takeaway: The more you accept anxiety as a normal and healthy part of life, the less power it has over you. If you can get through the anxiety of the coming weeks, the “return to normal” will be a cinch.
Tip #5: Try some vulnerability.
It’s time to get more in touch with your vulnerable side. It may feel harder than ever to shed the armor we put up at work, but letting yourself do so is powerful – it sets you up to push yourself further, build stronger relationships, and have your needs met at work.
Today, challenge yourself to try one of these vulnerable acts:
- Answer the question “How are you?” truthfully
- Ask someone for something: a little help, a moment of their time, an answer they might have
- Start an awkward conversation you’ve been putting off
Takeaway: Vulnerability and authenticity are contagious. When you show yours, you’ll be proving to others that they can do the same, and contributing to a culture of trust and honesty at your company.
Here’s to making work a better place to work. You’re not alone in this.
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