Remote Working Tips from a Psychologist
Helen Rayner, Psychologist and Practitioner Development, The Myers-Briggs Company
With millions more people working or taking classes from home, and many for the first time, we asked one of our resident occupational psychologists Helen Rayner for her advice on the topic.
Physical Work Space
If possible, try to dedicate a physical space to your work environment. If this isn’t possible and you are working in your living area, ensure you pack up your laptop and put it away at the end of the day.
Speak regularly with phone and video calls. Talk to your colleagues about work and non-work. It can be difficult when working from home to have non-work conversations. If this is a challenge for you, set up 5 or 10 minutes before the meeting starts to catch up on life and then move on to work topics.
Work Time Boundaries
Set boundaries around working hours. Try not to check your work email on your phone during non-work hours. It can be tempting to start clearing out your inbox Sunday afternoon or evening, but especially when you’re working remotely it’s crucial to create separation between work time and other time.
If you’re a manager, set a goal to call out or celebrate at least 1 success a week. It’s often easier to mention a job well done when passing by a co-worker than it is to reach out and send a congratulations in writing. If you’re not a manager, you can still make sure to send positive thank you emails to co-workers. Or point out a success of a co-worker on your next video call.
Routines & Screen Breaks
Keep to regular routines like taking regular coffee break and screen breaks. If you find yourself having a hard time focusing, use an app like Time Timer to set an amount of focused work time for yourself (30 min., 45 min, 1 hour) and then give yourself a 5 or 10 minute break after you’ve worked for that amount of time.
Exercise or move around aka check your step count. Are you moving enough? Can you build in a morning/evening commute (on foot or on bike) to and from work?
Be Your Own Best Boss
Take advantage of apps that can help with your productivity where you struggle most like tools that stop you from accessing social media etc.
Want to save these tips for reference? Check out the infographic here.
MBTI Personality Type Tips
Knowing your Myers-Briggs personality type can be incredibly valuable when it comes to stress, change management, improving communication and more. The self-awareness of your preferences can also help you take care of yourself more effectively when working from home. Below are some personality-specific tips to make the best of working from home.
- If working alone, ensure there is external stimulation. For example, listen to music in the background.
- If working around other people, where possible, try blocking out external noise for work requiring focus and specific time to re-energize in the external world.
- Take regular breaks. Work can be engaging, but deep focus is not possible all the time.
- Give time to reflect during the day. For example, going for a walk, or moving away from desk space.
- Keep the big picture in mind – ask for direction if getting bogged down in the details and specifics.
- Eternally researching a project is a risk. Set aside a specific amount of time for research, and stop when the allocated time is over.
- Each new idea can feel better than the last; ensure there is action after idea generation.
- Seek feedback on ideas, communicate with and involve others early, be open and present in the moment.
- Consider all sides of the argument and bring the human element to decision making. Tone of voice and body language cannot be communicated so clearly when working remotely.
- State things clearly and persevere when communicating with other people, this will help bring others along.
- Build on existing relationships to gain cooperation. Ensure attention is paid to your own needs. These may not be as visible to others when working remotely.
- Continue to use tools that are transferrable from traditional to remote environments. It may be necessary to settle to work with ‘what is’ rather than working an ideal.
- At the beginning of the day set and commit to the day’s goals.
- Set boundaries around working hours. It is harder to finish the day when there is no one else leaving the office around the same time as you.
- Build in planned spontaneity time.
- Keep sight of overall deadlines. Move between projects to maintain variety.