Kristyn Hoy, GCLO’s Global Employment Advisor for DC | USA
Do you “go to work” in your pajamas? Are you a business on top and casual on the bottom type of person? Do you dress for success every day, whether you are at your kitchen table or sitting in a “real” office somewhere? There is a lot of anecdotal research indicating that employees are more productive when they dress in work attire every day, but COVID, as we all know, has created a new “normal.” As an employee, you need to find what works for you and what is best for your mental and professional health. Best practices include the following keys to success in the virtual workplace:
- Workspace: Create a dedicated workspace for yourself. This gives you a consistent place to “report to” for work and establishes boundaries for you and those who you cohabitate with.
- Routine: Establish a consistent work schedule. It may be more fragmented than was typical in your office and you may log several productive hours earlier or later in the day than you used to, but dedicated work hours will enhance those boundaries between work and life.
- Equipment: To the best of your ability (challenging in some locations), obtain a high-quality internet connection. Invest in a headset to minimize background distractions during work calls.
- Personal Connectivity: Avoid isolation and stay connected to your colleagues, even if this means yet one more Zoom call.
- Background: Be creative! Rearrange your space, creating an uncluttered and uniform background with good lighting so you are seen in the best light on business calls.
In sum, in the COVID era, we are all learning as we go. Perhaps it is best to reframe our thinking and embrace the elements of “smart working.” Focus on the positives of our new virtual workplaces: no commute, an enhanced environment, an improved work-life balance, and increased job satisfaction and productivity.
The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Department of State.