• Aidan Willner

How to Stay Motivated in the COVID-19 Era

For most professionals, this year introduced the novel concept of remote work. Although people have been doing this for years, the practice had not quite caught on, especially in most large-scale corporate environments. The current COVID-19 era has been a period of adjustment, but most people likely went into it thinking this would be a short-term problem and a short-term solution. Six months in and the novelty of wearing sweatpants below a dress shirt has worn off and a new wave of fatigue is setting in.

Working at Cheer Partners has been a unique experience, having been a fully remote agency since our inception and we were fortunate to come into this period of uncertainty with helpful practices in place. Below are some Q&As that could help you stay motivated and productive without a clear end to the pandemic in sight.

What to do when you’re missing the in-office connections?

Our Cheer Partners team is fairly spread out, but we connect on both a weekly and monthly basis. One thing that we implemented and continue to recommend with both peers and clients is a virtual coffee meeting. This occurs the same way as a coffee break or happy hour might happen among an in-person team after a pitch or to help get to know each other better. Whether you have something specific on your mind or would just like a mental break, set up half an hour with someone when you’re free to catch up. Creating this personal connection goes a long way. We also have regular Culture Committee meetings where the whole team comes together to play a game, answer icebreakers, or simply get up and move around. This fosters a similar sense of community like Bagel Tuesday’s or all-staff meetings would, and is just as fun.

How to maintain work/life balance?

This is something a lot of people struggle with especially if your office and your couch have become one and the same. The key to navigating this balance is building structure for yourself. If you don’t have an office space in your home, this can be as simple as selecting a specific chair in your room that is your designated work area. Try to dress for work (at least from the top-up) and go to this designated spot each day. You can fill this space with your music, a photo, great snacks, etc. Creating this boundary for yourself means that you can leave it at the end of the day, change back into your casual clothes and flip the mental clock-out switch.

What will goal-setting look like this year?

An annual practice for both managers and their teams is to audit how they are performing against their goals. However, goals previously set in an office setting may be difficult to accomplish in the same way in a remote setting. Remote work relies on functioning technology, family support, healthy work conditions, etc. There has also been a huge mental toll on every employee as the impact of the pandemic affects people differently. The best practice is to communicate early and openly with your manager. Instead of waiting for your annual review, try proactively revisiting and revising your goals to ensure they are achievable in your new setting.

We can’t plan for something we can’t predict and it’s safe to say very few industries could have seen this coming. There is no one right way to adjust or address the changes we have all been faced with this year. The most important thing is to set yourself up for success as much as possible. Create your ideal workspace, check in with your team often, and speak up when you need support.