How to make a pandemic work for you

It seems like restaurants, bars and cafes have been closed for years, at this point, the light at the end of the tunnel seems like a fever dream. Obviously, that is not true as we are getting closer and closer to getting back to our “normal lives” until that comes to be we have been looking at what we have learnt during this pandemic. Today we would like to share our tips and tricks on how to stay positive and productive during, what is supposed to be the final stretch of this pandemic.

What does that mean for us at Skytree? As a startup we have a small team that takes on a huge amount of work, we all work in collaboration and eliminating office time can throw a bit of a wrench in our operations. Here at Skytree, we like to keep a positive, can-do anything attitude, and a pandemic will most certainly not hold us back!

Every week our entire team gets together for what we like to call, the Stand-Up. Each department has its own daily standup as well. We all go around and share what we are working on, asking for help and advice from others. This is a great way for all of us busy-bees to touch base and support one another. Since the second lockdown took place we still continued our tradition but took it online, thanks to Slack! With all of us tuning in from our living rooms, kitchens or bedrooms, we were able to keep the flame of our team energy lit and kept the positivity going throughout this pandemic.

“I miss the fun parts of being in the office, especially chatting with the team about our lives outside of work. Even though I am currently more productive because I save quite a lot of time by not commuting to work every day. I still think communication has become difficult as most of it is done through a computer rather than face to face.”

Saskia Spruit – Head of Partnerships

Although we all can get a lot more work done, thanks to the elimination of the commute and office distractions, we struggle to maintain our interpersonal relationships. As we are all socially distanced from our physical health, how does that affect the health of our relationships? Now our team chats are more frequent but at the same time, more deliberate and focused. This tends to eliminate those informal chats that can be very useful in relaying minor details and helping the overall mental well being of the team. Now that we are all confined to our homes for work, some people can feel a lack of motivation. Since the ending seems to be within our reach, we decided to help to deal with the final stretch by sharing some of our tips and tricks for staying productive at home.

1/ Build a work-nest
Feeling distracted by your kids, significant other or pets? Why not create a makeshift home office where you can be alone and focus. It’s also great if space is not near the kitchen or living room, as you won’t be tempted by other household tasks. We recommend setting up a station with your work computer/laptop, a nice big jug of water, enough natural light, a pen and paper for jotting down tasks and whatever else helps you be more productive!

2/ Develop your routines
A morning routine when you are working from home is crucial. Now, this does not mean you need to wake up at 5 am and go for a run (unless you’re into that kind of thing). Your routine could just be making your morning coffee and breakfast while listening to your favourite podcast. It really just helps to repeat an action that makes you feel like you are ready to begin the day. My personal routine? Feed the cat, virtual pilates class, shower. Simple as that, but makes me feel so set up for the workday.

3/ Take regular breaks
Something we all probably struggle with is not having clearly defined break time. My first day working from home did not include enough breaks, leading to a huge screen-time induced headache. Make sure you get those little moments away from the screen as you would in the office. Go for a refreshing 10-minute walk, take your full lunch hour, do some stretches, anything physically active and away from screens. Taking breaks allows us all to work in a more sustainable way, helping us avoid burnout and brain fog. Your brain and body are your most important tools, take care of them and they will thank you for it.

4/ Air quality matters
We are a clean air company after all, so this point must be made! The air quality in your workspace could be a huge reason why you are feeling fatigued. Ventilating your room is very important, however, it gets a bit tricky in wintertime. Do you have plants? You should probably think about getting some! Plants are perfect for cleansing your indoor environment, and they look nice too! NASA researched the best houseplants for sucking pollutants out of your indoor air and named English ivy, philodendrons, spider plant, and the golden pothos are the most effective. It also helps you and your plant’s health to be near a nice sunny spot!

5/ Discover your high productivity periods
Do you work best first thing in the morning, right after lunch? Whatever it is, try and use it to your advantage. Zoom meetings and conference calls might drain your energy/productivity, so try and keep them out of your high productivity times. When you’re in your zone, start ripping through all of your tasks, you will be happy later in the day that you took advantage of that productivity boost.

6/ Stay in regular contact with your team
Working from home automatically eliminates social interactions, which is so important for the success of the team. In order to combat this, daily check-ins, keeping everyone updated on what you’re working on and always asking questions if you have them, can be a great way to keep everyone on the same page. Having a good relationship with your colleagues is so important, especially if you are not seeing them every day. Try maintaining daily small talks about life, easing into the conversation instead of jumping straight to work. It humanises online conversations that can sometimes get too centred on work. Keep your camera on during these calls and encourage your teammates to do so, we are already deprived of human contact and in online calls we lose out on a lot of visual cues, keeping the camera on humanizes the conversation.

7/ Don’t start your workday in PJs.
Don’t start your workday in PJs. If you only take one thing away from this post, let it be this. Do not wear your PJs all day. It might feel comfy but you will not be in the right headspace for work. You can still be comfy but going straight from bed to the work desk is not a cute look for anyone. You will feel fresher, lighter and ready for work.

We hope these tips will help you with working during a global pandemic. Remember to stay positive and know that nothing lasts forever! Do you have some tips on how to be as productive as possible from the comfort of your home? Share them with us on our socials!

Samantha Sutton – Social Media Intern

Marius Stoskus – Social Media Intern