The Long Haul: [Keeping on] Keeping Motivated Working from Home

The Long Haul: [Keeping on] Keeping Motivated Working from Home

Who would have thought back in March of this year that working from home (for roles and tasks that could be conducted and achieved in a home work space) would have been more than a temporary organizational band-aid.  For sure following government protocols, but then a few weeks at most, right?  With hindsight, we now know that weeks morphed into more weeks and then months, and some companies even stopped trying to guestimate when it would be safe and comfortable for employees to return to office spaces en-masse, embargoing the decision altogether until well into 2021. 

While some people had experience with working from home prior to a global pandemic and were perhaps already familiar with some of its advantages and challenges, this has been an entirely new era of extremes – working full-time from home, with either a house full of distractions , or a new brand of social isolation. Regardless of individual differences or whether a global pandemic is involved or not, everyone who works remotely has to figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create boundaries between their work and personal life. Some of the initial makeshift spaces might need revisiting or some of the new work/home habits might need reinforcing to continue to maintain motivation and productivity over the long haul.   

Let’s review some of the most successful aspects of work-from-home strategies and some ideas for how you can make your home office even more successful:


  • Do you have or were you able to set-up a designated work space? It is never too late to make sure the basics are in place. Does that space have a good chair, good lighting, a way to organize paperwork/files and block-out noise and other distractions? That said, we do get to relax a little bit on noise and distractions that might EMANATE from our home office… thankfully we’ve shifted to a social space where none of us seem terribly fussed by the odd squeal of delight from children playing in the background or ‘office cat’ zipping past the screen!
  • Daily routine and rhythm are your friends: keep  ‘getting dressed’ for work to feel like you are on the clock (plus super handy if the boss calls an impromptu Zoom meeting!), schedule lunch and other breaks
  • Equally important is the ability to adapt quickly when needed: review commitments and make adjustments ; re-evaluate and re-prioritize often. Keep your practice of starting each day with a prioritized action plan for successful time management and build-in some ‘slush’ time for flexibility
  • Eat the Frog – start with the most pressing, most impactful, and most difficult tasks (the frog part) first, transitioning to smaller and less complex tasks throughout the day



  • Stay connected.  We are social beings, be sure to proactively maintain regular communication with your team. Let them now how and when (or if there is a partial return to the office – where) they can reach you best
  • When communicating with a boss, manager, or supervisor, be sure to include updates on your workload; there has been a greater tendency to over-work than under perform during a time when many face fears relating to job security or to sometimes cope with anxiety relating to the larger context of COVID-19
  • Continue to be mindful of those written topics that can lead to misunderstandings and take advantage of telephone and video, or the gradual return to some in-person exchanges
  • Don’t forget to communicate with your internal voice – the inner critic. Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Even though we have had to adapt to new circumstances, there are still constraints that take different kinds and amounts of time and attention. Remember that even when you are not physically in the office, you are still making vital contributions to the organization



  • There is no one formula, however foundational self-care is essential – body movement, sufficient sleep, taking breaks, practicing gratitude, and reaching for healthy snacks – keep this up!
  • If possible, experiment with a change of environment to keep creativity flowing.  Aim for higher than shifting you and your laptop to the sofa, and try a coffee shop (distanced of course), outdoor patio, or park
  • Mind and motivation are also very linked. It is important to guard your mindset in troubled times, including celebrating or rewarding accomplishments along the way, and focusing on what is important in the present and on what we can control


We are into the long haul now… a time where short-term strategies are transitioning to long-term best practice to help you stay motivated and productive in your home workspace.