Many of us are now confined to working from home for at least the next few weeks while we battle the Novel Coronavirus. If you’re not used to working at home, it can be quite a task to get accustomed to it. Here are a few tips to make working from home feel like a normal day in the office.
Staying in your pajamas all day may be one of the most enticing things about working from home, but it isn’t always the best idea for your productivity. Getting showered, dressed, and ready for the day – all parts of your normal routine – helps signal to your body that it is almost time to go to work. If you stay in your pajamas, your body has a harder time adjusting to the idea that you need to be productive, especially as the days begin to run together as we are stuck inside. Some researchers even recommend wearing the same type of clothes you would normally wear to work while you’re working at home. Getting ready also helps wake you up more than just rolling out of bed and trying to start working.
Start a New Routine
As stated above, keeping parts of your normal routine help you prepare to have a productive work day. You should absolutely try to keep as many pieces of your normal routine as possible, but there are just some things you can’t do anymore, such as drive to work, walk into the office, pack your lunch, etc. Instead, you should start a new routine to replace the parts that are no longer possible. Try taking a walk in the morning instead of your usual drive to work (but don’t forget to practice social distancing), starting the day with a cup of coffee in your favorite mug instead of a travel mug, or cooking yourself breakfast instead of eating something quick at work. Since we are all home-bound during this pandemic, your usual trip out to lunch can be replaced with delivery or take-out from a local small business.
Work During Regular Hours
You may be tempted to sleep in and start working later in the day or even to wake up earlier so you can finish earlier. Both options seem appealing depending on whether you are a night owl or an early bird, but working outside of regular hours can hinder your productivity and ability to focus. Try to work during your usual work hours to keep as much of your daily routine as possible.
Have a Dedicated Working Space
Another appealing idea about working from home may be the ability to work from your bed or your couch, but those may not be the best places. Having a dedicated work space not only helps you be productive during your working hours, but also helps keep the aforementioned places strictly for resting, as usual. For instance, working from your bed may make you sleepy. On the other hand, if you get used to working from your bed, you may have trouble falling asleep at night. If you have a place that is solely dedicated to work, it will be easier for your mind and body to make the shift into “work mode” and will make focusing on the task at hand much easier.
Make a List
Make a list of things you want to accomplish each day. Having a structured plan for your day can decrease your tendency to let your mind wander to household chores that need done.
Taking breaks at home is just as important as taking breaks in the office. Most humans need a break after about 60 minutes. If you have a task longer than 60 minutes, you will be more productive if you break it up into chunks than if you try to force yourself to complete it in one sitting. If you have children home with you, it can be especially effective to schedule in breaks to make sure your children are taken care of and you still get in a full day of work.
Get Up and Move
Focusing at home can be especially difficult in the beginning. If you are having trouble staying alert and awake while you are trying to work, getting up and moving can help. Try keeping your blood flowing by setting an alarm every hour and doing 25 jumping jacks or jogging in place for 30 seconds each time if goes off. Taking a few 15 minute walks a day can also be very helpful in breaking up your day and keeping your energy up.
Take Advantage of Technology
Technology has made us more prepared for a pandemic than ever before. Doctors can work from home through video appointments, teams can meet remotely through video conference calls, and more. There is a type of technology out there for any work from home problem you’re having, you just have to find it. Use video chats and conference calls to stay in touch with your team. Shared calendars help to schedule meetings. Online notebook apps allow you to access your notes from any device. There are even apps to help make sure you get up and move when needed.
Keep Your Data Safe
Last, but not least, security still needs to stay top-of-mind, no matter what else is going on. Be sure to keep your anti-virus software up to date, especially when you are working with sensitive information. Also, if you have printed any of the sensitive information you are working with, make sure to shred it instead of throwing it in the trash where passers-by could take advantage. A secured Wi-Fi network is also vital to ensuring no customer or personal information gets compromised.
Working from home can be just as productive as working in the office if you take advantage of tips like these. Be sure to make the most of your time at home. This pandemic will soon be over and you’ll be back in the company of your co-workers before you know it.