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. 

 

The Power of Environments

Have you ever had a busy day at work and just needed to step outside for fresh air to clear your mind? Or wanted to start a difficult task on a messy desk and have the urge to first clear it up? Or automatically choose the table in the corner of the restaurant with your back to the door? We instinctively know that our physical environments are important to us. However, many of us fail to take this into consideration when we create our workspace.

Open-plan offices have become ‘the new normal’. Spatial restraints are a real concern and having your own office has become a luxury. This means that you don’t always have as much control over your environment as you’d like. Luckily, we are here to help – we specialise in practical, creative solutions for the modern workplace.

At Sensory Intelligence® Consulting, we have a unique service called the Sensory Audit™. During an Audit, we measure 50 factors across 3 components of the physical workspace:

  • Collective space
  • Personal space
  • Wellness factors

We look at everything in your workspace – from the number of water coolers to the quality of your lighting and air conditioning, to the amount of social space available and even staff amenities.

We then take it one step further.  We determine the individual sensory thresholds (how our bodies react to external stimuli) of the team members in that space and suggest adaptations to your workplace to promote optimal focus, productivity and wellness for all.

Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between our environment and our stress levels, which in turn impact on our productivity and output in the workplace. Making real changes in your environment could lead to your team communicating better, a decrease in stress levels and absenteeism and higher productivity. Although we can’t take away the reality of distractions in open-plan offices, it’s sometimes as simple as knowing who to place where to boost productivity. And then adding a few specialised spaces for ‘focus’ or ‘quiet’ work.

Practical things you can do this week without needing a Sensory Audit™:

  • Keep a water bottle handy. Drinking enough water during the day can re-focus your brain and reduce your stress levels.
  • Move! Make sure you get up at least once an hour to stretch, fill up your water bottle, make some coffee/tea or go outside.
  • Check the lighting in your environment. When your eyes need to work hard due to lack of sufficient light, your brain is using energy for this, instead of energy for focusing on your work. Sometimes it’s as simple as opening a blind, adjusting the brightness of your screen or adding a desk lamp.
  • Use earphones. If you work in an open-plan office or noisy environment, the use of earphones is highly recommended. Especially if you are doing high-level concentration work.

Change doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money – small things make a huge difference!

Contact us today to enquire about a Sensory Audit™ for your workplace.