Embracing our New Remote Lifestyle

Black man sitting at computer desk next to his bed

With the spread of COVID-19, nearly all digital teams are working remotely. Luckily for church communications workers, this is not a problem. Most of us can do our work anywhere there is an Internet connection. Many of us have already adapted to this “new normal”. But going forward, your operations should allow flexibility in work locations.

The industrial revolution taught managers that if they could not see someone working they were not productive. This mentality has held for over 200 years. Yet, most people born after the 1990s do not remember our pre-internet legacy. They are ready to jump into remote work. Here are some tips for being more productive in this new remote world.

Dedicated Home Office Space

One of the benefits of working in an office is that it trains you to switch into “work mode”. Your mind knows that when you sit down in your workspace, it is time to concentrate. Yet at home, we are trained for other types of work. We often think about the many household chores requiring attention. A dedicated home office room helps separate us from the laundry that needs folding. This allows you to not only get into a work mode but allows for quieter phone calls.

Set Office Hours

Working remotely can have two different concerns. Not working enough hours, or too many. Like creating a separate workspace, you need to maintain distinct work hours. One of the benefits of remote work is work hours flexibility. Many offices keep core hours, with the ability to shift a few hours earlier or later. Use public calendars to show absences during those core hours.

Real-Time Communications

Instant messaging tools are essential in remote environments. Without the convenience of stopping by someone’s desk or office, you need assurance that an answer is seconds away. Some tools include mobile and tablet applications. So even stepping away from your office for a minute allows you to respond or at least begin researching a response. There are many tools out there and most offer integration with other platforms. Some popular applications are Microsoft Teams and Slack.

Avoiding Burnout

The elimination of commute time does several things to us. Initially, you will be glad to avoid traffic and the cost of traveling. Yet we lose key time to decompress. Our minds often wander with music, talk shows, podcasts, and audiobooks. The stresses of home and work can overflow into each other. One of the best ways to combat this is to recreate that space. A brisk walk in a neighborhood or local park can provide many benefits for your mind and body. If possible, leave your headphones at home. Let your mind wander as you think about obstacles, consider what you will eat next, or take in the beautiful world God blessed us with.

Action Item

At the time of this writing, you likely have already adapted to remote work. Your church services also probably evolved to provide greater safety for your visitors. Yet as time drags on, these temporary situations may become more permanent ones. You may decide that remote work, on either a full or part-time basis, makes sense. Hopefully, more people realize that this is a viable way of doing work. This not only allows for more time back in our lives. It allows flexibility in schedules for people that might not have been able to work on your team before. Regardless, I hope you take the saying “improvise, adapt, and overcome” to heart as you continue to serve the Kingdom.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.