Working in a bustling office comes with its own set of familiar distractions. This is especially true for many of the companies that have embraced an open-office format. You have the whirr of the copier, phones ringing, your co-workers discussing their lunch plans, impromptu birthday celebrations and the general bustle of people walking by all the time.
For the most part, this din can be avoided. You can retreat into a quiet space, pop in earbuds and listen to music, put on some Poly noise-canceling headphones or, if you’re lucky, just tune it all out. Whatever your solution, you’ve probably found a happy balance and have found your own coping mechanisms.
But now, workers around the world have been ordered to stay at home until the coronavirus threat subsides. As longtime experts in remote work, we at Poly want to offer some tips about how to cope with what you’ll face at home: a whole new set of distractions.
If you’re not used to remote work, being dropped into the experience can be a little jarring at first. City crews trim trees with noisy chainsaws a block away. A construction crew hammers nonstop at the new home across the street. Garbage trucks rumble by. Your cat naps on your keyboard and your dog clearly wants to play. And, if you’re sharing the space with kids of any age, you know that distractions of all kinds will be a part of your routine whether you like it or not.
1. Remain Calm
Just like starting a new job, you have to get used to your new surroundings. Sure, this is the same place that you come home to night after night, but you’re not usually there to experience the rhythms of the daytime. If you haven’t worked from home on a regular basis, you might find yourself attending to piles of laundry or fixing that drawer that always gets stuck. If you see any non-work items that need your attention, make a list and schedule a time to tackle them – after your work hours.
2. Create a New Routine
We all go through certain motions every morning that are ingrained in our behavior. Your brain is used to getting up at a certain time, getting dressed, driving or catching a train or bus and maybe grabbing coffee at the same place so often that they already know your order. Now, with no commute, you get the gift of more time in the morning. Do you spend that time sleeping in a bit more, experimenting with a new coffee blend, reading a book or getting a jump on your workday? Try out different options and find your new rhythm.
3. Shut Out the World
If you haven’t tried them, noise-canceling headphones can be life-changing. Or at least work-changing. Poly has a wide selection of headsets with noise canceling features, with designs for every style of worker. You can wear traditional headsets, larger, over-the-ear models or even a neckband-style headset with earbuds. If you’re on a video call, people will barely notice it’s there. And the noise-canceling features mean that even if you have a lot of noise and distractions going on behind you, you (and the people you’re talking to) only hear what you have to say.
4. Let the World In
After you’ve shut out the extraneous world with your noise-canceling headsets, it’s time to think about how to let your working world into your space. Simple, quality cameras can help you be even more engaged with natural, rich, face-to-face communication. Since you don’t have tech support, find something that’s ready to go, like the EagleEye Mini USB camera. Just plug in the USB and you’re good to go.
5. Be Distracted
Don’t spend so much energy fighting distractions that fighting distractions becomes a distraction. If noise or interruptions get to be too much, give in! Take a breather, go for a walk, brew some coffee or do a science experiment with the kids. Let the moment pass and you can return to your work refreshed.
Stay focused, and in no time you’ll be back in the zone. Fighting the spread of the virus has put a lot of stress on everyone, but with the right tools and the right attitude, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.