Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have urged employees to work from home to reduce the risk of infection and essentially flatten the curve. What could sound like a vacation, working from home requires a bit of adjustment to ensure your productivity rates stay high. Here our top tips for working from home when avoiding the coronavirus.
Create a Designated Space
A key piece of being successful in working from home is designating a space devoted to work. While a dining room table or kitchen island may feel more convenient, it is filled with distractions. Creating a designated space in a private area, such as a desk in the corner of a bedroom or full-office space if available, will not only increase productivity but avoid distractions. This will also keep you out of high-noise range, so you can still communicate with customers or colleagues without additional audio.
Act Like You’re Going into Work
Set your alarm, wake up at normal time, make coffee, prep your lunch. If you act like you’re going into work, your brain will prepare itself for a work day. If you typically have a commute, take that time to go for a run or walk around the neighborhood to get your blood pumping.
Dress the Part
While some people can function well in their pajamas, sometimes being mentally prepared is also being physically prepared. While there is no need to put on high heels, dressing in a “normal” fashion will be key to feeling and looking the part. This will also help for the unexpected video chat your boss may want to set up with you!
Set a Schedule
It’s likely you have a schedule at work, so have a schedule while working from home. Continue to complete your emails at a certain time, schedule regluar meetings, and teleconferences as usual. Time management is key to productivity, especially when telecommuting.
Hide the iPhone
When at home, especially in a fear-induced society, it’s hard not to scroll through the latest social media updates. But doing this, will only make your work day longer. A key tip to working from home is to put your phone away or out of reach. If necessary, turn of Wi-Fi or set limits to avoid picking up the phone.
Keep Other Distractions at Bay
If you’re a first time telecommuter, it’s likely your pet is stoked to have you home! As much as you’ll want to pet and cuddle all day, he or she is likely to distract you from much-needed work. Also, if you work as a customer service rep or for a call center, it’s likely your customer won’t be too excited to hear a bark in the background.
Co-habitats are likely to be huge distractions. If you live with roommates or other family members, it’s vital to set expectations when working from home. Let them know when you need quiet hours or what your scheduling requirements look like. Setting expectations will avoid unnecessary noise or distraction when attempting to get your work done.
Many working moms and dads may find relief in working from home – no more daycare costs! However, if you have young children, juggling working from home and taking care of a child may prove difficult to manage. A top tip from working from home, is to find childcare help. If money is tight or your normally school-aged children are home, see if you can do a swap with another parent to ensure you both can get work done. If all-else fails, set expectations where you can with kids. Let them know that mom/dad is working and create a schedule to keep them busy while you jam out your workday.
Just because you’re working remotely, doesn’t mean you’re undeserving of your break time. If you work for a call center, you’ll likely need to stick with your break schedule anyhow. Take a walk, get some coffee, read a book. Whatever will bring you joy and allow you to “get away,” even for 15 minutes will reduce stress levels and avoid burnout.
Get up and Stretch it Out
Like breaks, getting up is an important tip to working from home. It’s extremely easy to become hyper-focused while telecommuting. Set a timer to stand up every hour and stretch your legs out. If you’re someone who spends much of their day talking to customer’s (typically in a call center), you may be used to sitting at a desk all day. But, it’s different in an office when surrounded by people. Stand up, look at something, bounce your ball, whatever you need to keep your mental health in check.
On the note of mental health, many people work in an office due to thrive off of social interaction. Cutting this off, especially in the midst of coronavirus social distancing, can cause a lot of us to feel the pains of isolation. Thwart of loneliness by scheduling FaceTime lunches, meet for walks in a park, or texting work friends.
Not only is drinking liquids essential for your health, it’s great to keeping your energy levels high when working remotely. Water is also essential to your immune system, which helps you fight off illness and threat of viral infection.
Another way to keep your energy levels high and keep your body healthy is through good, nutrient rich foods. A huge tip to working remotely, good food and healthy snacks will keep you productive and feeling well during your telecommute.
Perhaps the biggest tip to working remotely is logging off at the end of the day. It’s easy to stay “on” with a computer close and work stress calling your name, but logging off and separating yourself when necessary is essential.