7 Tips to improve your remote working environment

Covid-19 is forcing us to rethink the way we engage in the real, physical world. The power of technology and connectedness has never been more prominent than now. As a team, we have always worked virtual and support a flexible, home working approach for employee productivity and wellbeing. In the sensory overloaded world we operate in, flexible remote working practises have saved many of our clients from the brink of burnout in the past.  So let’s see this as the positive take on Covid-19. It will force us to use the tools that have been right in front of our noses the whole time. This time not by choice (we hope you do) but by necessity (you know you must)! 

Here are our 7 tips to be successful when working online

  1. Your work environment should firstly be comfortable and conducive. Use a desk and proper chair – your bed or couch is not conducive for long periods of sitting still and can create unnecessary strain on your back, wrists and/or other body parts.  Create an “office space” for you at home. No clutter, no mess, clean, tidy and comfortable. Although others won’t necessarily see it, you do and you need to like what you see. 
  2. Stable WiFi and good online systems are critical. It will ensure smooth and easy connections.  There is a variety of systems to meet, chat, collaborate and act. We use G-suite, Zoom, Trello, WhatsApp and Hangouts but there are various options. It is just amazing how connected you can be without being in the same physical space as others. Just ensure you agree on standard operating procedures to use the systems to avoid duplications, irritations or uncertainty when you work in a team.
  3. A distraction-free environment is important. Firstly, to help you to stay focused, ensure there is no annoying background noise. You can play your favourite playlist for sustained focus. I find Mozart, classical and instrumental playlists extremely helpful. They improve my level of focus by ± 30% and as a result, I get more work done. Secondly, when on a call you have to switch off all background noises. Switch off your music and keep the dog outside. Screaming toddlers won’t be appreciated by your audience. Disable the sound alerts on your phone or pc as they can be highly annoying for your team or audience on the other end. Mute your microphone when you are unable to control the noise and you are not speaking at that particular time. 
  4. Good, proper lighting is important to boost productivity and focus. Use as much natural lighting as possible as it boosts productivity more than artificial lighting. Open your blinds or curtains to allow for more light but not to the detriment of glare. The potential is to change your desk position to allow for more natural light this way. Play around with options. If you develop eye strain or headaches relook your lighting sources.
  5. Sitting for hours and hours in your home office will have the same detrimental impact on your brain and focus levels when at work. Build stretch breaks into your home working day. Using the movement senses will improve your focus and alert levels and help you to have longer periods of productivity. 
  6. You are not having a pajama party! While it can be tempting to move from your bed to your desk in your pj’s… don’t. Brush your teeth, comb your hair and dress as if you are going in to work.  Your body and attire will prepare your mind for focused work. The unsaid and unseen have great power in our output and attitude. 
  7. Last but not least, having self-awareness and self-insight into your natural rhythms and working style will take your home working productivity to the next level. The Sensory Matrix™ is our online assessment tool to provide insight into which sensory stimuli are distracting for you and which sensory stimuli are calming. Knowing how to build these insights into your day-to-day working environment will create lasting energy and focus.  Most of my own team have low thresholds (they are roots of our Sensory Tree™) and can work week in and week out at home. I have high thresholds (the leaf of the Sensory Tree™) and find home working environments boring after a while. I need the vibe and stimulation of other people and different spaces. I will then arrange a meeting in a coffee shop and usually love it when I can go out and deliver services to clients. Understanding this unique diversity in our team has helped to ensure we are aligned optimally to the tasks needed. 
  • Click here to do our FREE Sensory Quiz™ to determine whether you are sensory sensitive or sensory seeking.
  • Click here to buy the comprehensive Sensory Matrix™ with a 26-page report on your unique assessment scores, insights and strategies.
  • Click here to find out more about our online workshop Work from home effectively to learn how to be most productive at home. 

 

All I want for Christmas…

It’s that time of the year again. Bigger-than-life Christmas trees have appeared in shopping malls. Red Santa suits are revived and brought out of storage. Songs of red-nosed Rudolph and his clan can be heard on the radio. Little ones are (finally… maybe a bit too late…) trying to be on their best behavior to ensure a parcel delivery by Santa and his helpers on Christmas Eve.

In a week’s time, it will be Christmas!

The holidays are often portrayed as a time for big family get-togethers. Preparations for Christmas-lunch feasts start weeks in advance. Table decorations are bright, busy and full of colour. Serviettes with mistletoe and candles appear on shopping shelves and wrapping paper covered in golden bright glittery stars is at the order of the day.

At this time of the year, the world around us becomes brighter, louder and busier.

If you observe and listen closely, during the weeks before Christmas a subtle divide emerges between those individuals overcome with excitement for the upcoming festivities… and those dreading it.

We are not all the same (thank goodness!!) and we most definitely do not all enjoy the same things.

When trying to make sense of these differences in perception and preferences, we need to consider sensory processing and how individual sensory thresholds play the biggest role in determining how you react to the environment.

For an individual with HIGH sensory thresholds, the world needs to be filled with a variety of sensory input. Their sensory Christmas wish list might include:

  • A Christmas get-together with extended family for a week (at least)
  • All members of the family staying in one house
  • Christmas music playing on the radio throughout the day
  • Colourful decorations on an oversized Christmas tree with colourful flashing Christmas lights
  • Scented candles being lit every night
  • Family game nights with activities e.g. charades, Pictionary or 30 Seconds
  • The youngsters performing a well-orchestrated Christmas concert
  • Singing carols (accompanied by instruments if available)
  • A festive Christmas lunch with an abundance of cold meats, salads and wine around a big Christmas table

…and then starts the planning for New Year’s Eve!

 

On the other side of the continuum are individuals with LOW sensory thresholds. For them, less is more. They might prefer:

  • A Christmas get-away for close family only
  • If they need to spend the holidays with extended family, they’ll opt for private accommodation
  • Location preferably close to nature ensuring calming nature sounds e.g. the sound of the ocean, bird song, etc.
  • More time spent in the open air – less time spent in shopping malls
  • Ample time to unwind doing “quiet” activities e.g. reading a book, paddling, trail walks
  • Minimalistic Christmas decorations with less colour
  • Mono-coloured fairy lights on the Christmas tree
  • Listening to Christmas carols softly playing on the radio in the background
  • A peaceful, quiet Christmas lunch in a well-aired big open space with close friends/family

… and then hibernation by switching phones off until New Year’s Eve.

 

Let’s all attempt to be sensible this holiday by celebrating Christmas according to our own needs – and allowing our loved ones to enjoy it according to theirs.

Want to find out more about your sensory thresholds? Complete your Sensory Matrix™ to understand and maximise your sensory wiring.

 

-Best wishes for a sensational holiday-

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