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Brain circuits

How to make the most of remote work

Published 11 October 2022 in Brain circuits • 3 min read

Remember the days when remote working was new and fascinating? Maybe you even found yourself more productive. For many of us, that feels like a long time ago. Now, the endless stream of Zoom meetings which have come to shape our working lives can be exhausting in a new way. The flexibility offered by remote work sounds great – but we all need breaks from screen time, so it is important to periodically evaluate what’s working, what’s not, and how you can make changes. With that in mind, try asking yourself three key questions today, and on a regular basis throughout the year.

Are you more effective?

If you’re working from home, actively managing your time, tasks, and wellbeing is crucial. If you are becoming less efficient, it could be a sign that you are getting burned out, so take some time to consider what needs to change. Is your day an endless stream of Zoom meetings? It might be time to figure out which meetings you can decline. Talk to your manager and colleagues about whether you are effectively managing your time.

Are you becoming more efficient?

Just because everyone got into the habit of hitting 30 minutes or an hour for a meeting (those are usually offered up as choices in virtual meeting programs) doesn’t mean that you need that long. If you just need to quickly touch base with someone, do that. If you schedule conversations for 15-20 minutes, you may find it easier to give yourself screen breaks and organize your thoughts and agenda.

Has the quality of your life improved?

Part of the upside of remote work is you should be finding time for yourself. If not, figure out what needs to change. If your colleagues are looking at your calendar to schedule meetings, block out time for yourself that allows you to meet someone face to face or go for a walk outside. These types of breaks are vital and help us maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Taking the time to evaluate your routine and figure out where and when to make changes is vital to prevent burnout. As a leader, take some time to discuss these questions with your team. It could be that you are overdoing the Zoom, so it’s important to get honest feedback about whether the hybrid setup is working for your team members.


Robert Hooijberg

Professor of Organizational Behaviour at IMD

Robert Hooijberg is Professor of Organizational Behavior at IMD. His areas of special interest are leadership, negotiations, team building, digital transformation, and organizational culture. Before joining IMD in September 2000, Professor Hooijberg taught at Rutgers University in their MBA and Executive MBA programs in New Jersey, Singapore, and Beijing. He is Program Director of the Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives and the Negotiating for Value Creation course.


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