04 May Tips for Working From Home During the Coronavirus
As a purely digital company whose staff all work remotely, we like to think we know a thing or two about the best tips for working from home.
Yes, it’s awesome. There are snacks on hand whenever the mood strikes, you can wear stretchy yoga pants every day, and there’s no chatterbox Susan to distract you from getting work done. But it’s not all sunshine and roses, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic where a lot of people are having to juggle full-time parenting on top of a demanding full-time job, or dealing with anxiety and unsettling feelings of fear around the virus.
Here are our top tips for working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic.
# 1: Pretend You’re Going to the Office
Try and keep to a similar routine that you had before the nationwide lockdown, as the mental association you make between work and an office can make you more productive. It’s very tempting to work in your pajamas all day, particularly now that the cooler winter months are setting in, but don’t fall into this easy and comfortable trap! The simplest act of putting on fresh clothes and getting “dressed for work” will signal to your brain that it’s time to get things done, and also draws the line between work and home life. Waking up and taking care of yourself in a similar way that you would have done, will go a long way toward helping you feel like you’re taking care of yourself. Besides, with most companies having regular Zoom video meetings to stay connected, no one really wants to see your fluffy robe and morning hair!
#2: Designate a Work Space
For some people, keeping work and home life separate becomes a bit blurry, so try to create a designated workspace to get you into the right frame of mind. This one can be a bit of a challenge for those who don’t typically work from home and might not have the extra space for a dedicated desk or office. Rather than working from the bed or couch, find a little corner in your home that you dedicate to working. Make sure it’s somewhere that you’re able to sit upright comfortably and has good natural light to help lift your mood and concentration levels. Leaving your “workspace” will also help you turn off at the end of the working day and fully disengage.
#3: Dive into Work Straight Away
The mental transition from your bed to your computer may be a bit slower than what you’re used to. Now that you no longer have to commute into the office, aim to get started a bit earlier than usual, and dive into your work straight away. It’s tempting to try and ease into your day by first checking social media while drinking your coffee, but before you know it, it’s 11am and you still have “just one more video” to watch. The rule about productivity is that the busier you are, the more you’ll actually do. It’s like they say, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”
#4: Take Regular Breaks
With the economy taking a knock, and many businesses scrambling to come up with new ideas to keep the wheels turning, there’s a good chance you’re working harder than ever before. As we mentioned in tip #1, it’s important to do things as you would have in the office, and this means taking regular breaks too. And rather than taking a break on your screen, opt for fresh air and sunshine in your garden or balcony, or build some lego with your kids. It’ll refresh your mind and spirit!
#5: Interact with Other People
When the whole office suddenly starts working from home, you’re cutting off a lot of social interactions you’re used to having throughout the day. It can feel very solitary, especially if you live alone. Make sure you keep interacting with other people – whether it’s colleagues or normal friends. There are plenty of online tools and ways to keep in touch, from Whatsapp and Skype to Zoom and FaceTime. When the world is freaking out, it’s more important than ever that we reach out, connect, and take care of one another.
#6: Create a Schedule for Children
If you have kids, create a schedule that will help keep things predictable for them and for you. After all, your children aren’t the only ones that thrive on structure. With younger children, try to get as much work in as possible while they are taking naps, eating lunch or doing activities that need no assistance from you.
#7: Communicate Often
Communicate, communicate, communicate! Now that you can’t just pop into your boss’s office, or walk up to your manager’s desk to chat about a project, it’s vital to keep the communication frequent to know what’s expected of you. Reach out regularly to keep on top of tasks, deadlines and feedback around your work.
Remember the Big Picture
These are unprecedented times for everyone, and it’s important to remember to just do what you can under the current circumstances. Try to embrace this “new normal”, additional quality time with your family, and new ways of working.