Know Which Boundaries to Set, and When
Over half of the commuting work population has worked from home since early 2020 due to COVID-19. In HOA management companies, we’ve proven just how successful remote work can be for boards and residents, as well as for management staff.
Business tactics for eliminating the COVID impact included transition to cloud-based technologies, more efficient reporting tools, video-conferencing platforms, and more stringent protocols for measuring staff productivity. As a result, we have strengthened the relationships within our companies and actually enhanced service to boards and community residents.
Business agility during COVID validates numerous benefits that working from home affords staff and customers. However, this new reality includes some degree of personal isolation that can also leave many of us feeling off-balance. Frequent virtual conferencing and meeting performance requirements can make it difficult to disconnect at the end of the workday. Challenges may arise with staying focused and finding the right balance between work and home.
As this “new normal” extends into the new year, it’s helpful to reassess how we can stay productive and still prioritize our personal well-being. We’ve been practicing—and reinforcing—the advice below to our team members.
Stick to a routine
Follow a routine that works the best for you. If you’re up at 6 a.m. and eat at 8 a.m., do that. If you exercise at a certain time, maintain it. Preserve as much of your pre-pandemic routine as possible. Don’t be tempted to break routine because you don’t have a commute or in-person meetings.
Set work hours
Working from home may feel like there’s a lack of structure in your day. Adding personal tasks during regular work hours can add up quickly. We may end up barely working or developing work hours that are out of sync with our company’s normal business hours. Set your hours and stick to them.
It’s critical to define what you will—and will not do—during work hours.
Separate work from chores
Similarly, it’s tempting to complete chores during the workday, run errands, and catch up on personal phone calls, but it’s critical to define what you will—and will not do—during work hours. Blurring the lines can cause you to burn out, feel a loss of control, or fail to meet work objectives.
Define and maintain your workspace
Preserve an area in your home as your dedicated workspace, especially if you were primarily working at an on-site location before COVID. Connect your chargers, have work materials on hand, and park your electronics there. If you have an existing workspace, try to rearrange it to make it more efficient. A clearly defined workspace will help keep you focused and productive.
Socialize and relax
As long as restrictions limit opportunities for safe social interaction it’s even more important to connect with other people and maintain a healthy balance between work and home life. Find your outlets to relax, reduce stress, and try to find humor in the challenges.
With your work-from-home structure fully integrated by the time the pandemic ends, you’ll have the best of both worlds. Whether you continue working from home after the pandemic is over, the isolation you may feel now will be replaced by the enjoyment of having an active social life once again.
Suzanne Howe is the chief marketing officer at ASPM-San Diego.