Since the COVID-19 pandemic caused so many of us to begin working remotely, RW3 CultureWizard has been even more focused on trying to help virtual teams adjust to their new circumstances. By now, you've probably received advice from all kinds of sources, and you've probably developed your own tips and tricks for coping with the current crisis.

But what about some firsthand accounts of people’s remote work experiences? To help bring a fresh perspective, we turned the mic over to CultureWizard users to learn how they’ve managed to stay productive, connected, and balanced over the last few months. Here’s what they had to say:

Staying Productive While Working Remotely

  • Use Outlook calendar to note timelines.
  • Read inspiring material or content.
  • I jot down the time and task I am working on so at the end of the day I can see what I accomplished and how much time I spent on each task.
  • Set daily goals, but be kind to yourself and allow these goals to be flexible. Try not to feel guilty when you do not have the time available for 'chat-time.'
  • I use a Pomodoro timer to keep productive and have regular breaks, I find it helps me stay focused.
  • Every hour take 5 minutes to move around—dancing while making a coffee is fun! Afternoons are for learning, whether work related training courses or for my own personal development if workload permits.
  • I find it easier to login early and get a few hours of work before the internet usage seems to drop in performance. Then, when it slows, I can take a break and not feel guilty because I already have a couple of hours of work in.
  • Have something on in the background like a radio or TV turned down low. Helps break the quiet.
  • To set my mind in "work mode" I do my usual morning routine including getting my hair done and dressing up for work as I usually would do, I even put shoes on. In the same way, when it's time "to go home" I change my clothes for something comfy, take off my shoes, and grab a hot drink.
  • I keep a bullet journal and plan the week so when I get the "I don't know what to do now" feeling, I can refer to my journal and complete a task, start a project, or reflect on accomplishments.

Staying Connected on Virtual Teams

  • I include my son in my work. He asks me questions, says hello on Skype, [and] pretends to type important stuff on his paper keyboard. We have a lot of fun.
  • I installed a proper webcam [because] seeing people, even behind a screen, improves a lot the communication!
  • At home, most notably, we have dinner (all five of us) every night and often we cook the dinner together as well as clean the kitchen.
  • Personally, I avoid work at night to spend time with my family members.
  • Divide your work day to intervals and notify your group about your working hours. Adjust yourself as much as possible to your team members working hours.
  • I tried out new recipes with [my] daughters almost daily.
  • I have small children [and] together we made door handle pendants. One green - when they can go in and the other red when their mother has a meeting and they can only [give me a] hug, kiss and have to be quiet.
  • Water my garden during my lunch hour and talk with family or friends.

Practicing Self-Care when Working from Home

  • Don't follow the media/news every minute.
  • Choose a place for solitude if possible, a place to connect with nature. If you live in an apartment, plants on your window can play that role.
  • I have a morning routine that always starts with exercise. I feel so much better when I move first thing.
  • Beautiful flowers to smell at my desk help keep me happy!
  • Music helps a lot to manage stress.
  • I start my day with Yoga and Pranayama [breathing exercises] which helps me to stay positive, energetic and focused.
  • Working from home sounds very much like a dream job until you actually have to work from home and the reality then sets in. Don't forget to take that unpaid lunch time :)
  • Breathing exercises (7 second inhales + 7 second exhales) [help] calm the system. [When] possible, I follow this with a 15-minute nap.

Everyone's situation during the pandemic is unique, so these tips are not intended to be a universal fix. That said, they can be a great starting point if you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed. In the meantime, we sincerely hope you are staying safe and healthy!