So we work from home now…
With more and more companies starting to implement working from home policies, it is important that we maintain the same level of productivity that we had with our normal resources and routines.
While working from home, “digital workspaces” sound more like a luxury than anything, it can come with its own set of challenges that make it out to be no vacation.
Below are some tips for maintaining a productive day in our new, temporary offices.
1. Stick with a routine.
Just because we are not coming into the office anymore doesn’t mean we should completely skip our weekday morning routines!
Waking up at your normal time, showering, and getting dressed in our real clothes can bring an air of normalcy to our lives right now and help us mentally prepare for the day to come.
Setting a schedule for the day is also a helpful tool! Just because we are now at home does not mean we should be working more hours than we had been previously. If you typically work 7:30-4:30 and take an hour for lunch, keep doing it at home. It is easy to lose track of time while at home and if you can’t stick to a typical work-life balance, you may find yourself getting burnt out more easily.
2. Create your workspace.
I would be lying to you if I said working from my bed or my sofa was not appealing or that I have not already done it on a couple of occasions already. But this is not the best place for a productive day, unfortunately.
Many of those who successfully work from home agree that you’re best off setting up a station, or space, in your house to work from. If you don’t have a desk, use your dining room table or island in your kitchen. Besides giving the illusion of working from an office, sitting in places such as these helps encourage good posture, helps you avoid distractions, and helps you leave your work behind at the end of the day.
3. Stay connected with your team.
Make sure to stay connected with your team members by checking in regularly just like you would in the office. Create to-do lists to keep yourself organized and focused and share the status of your lists with your supervisor so they know you’re on top of your work if you would like.
4. Don’t just sit there, MOVE!
Sitting in one spot all day is not healthy, even if you are at the office. But one of the challenges of working from home means you now skip your commute and have fewer reasons to get up from your chair throughout the day.
Make sure you stand up regularly throughout the day. Go for a walk around the block, do some stretches in the living room, and jump up and down with the kids. Anything really, just get up from your chair and move!
A lunchtime walk around the block can also help you feel like you’re not stuck inside all day.
5. Get some fresh air.
Experts advise limiting contact with people who may be sick and many companies are urging employees to stay home, this likely means you’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors. Open your windows to let in as much natural daylight and fresh air as possible, take a short walk around the block, or simply sit in your backyard for a while to get some much-needed fresh air – be sure to wash your hands as soon as you return indoors though.
6. Fight the want to multitask.
You’re at home. The chores around the house are starting to pile up. You think to yourself, “I can do a load of laundry between emails, no big deal.” And the next thing you know you’ve been swept up in catching up on your chores around the house.
This may seem like a convenient time to catch up on those chores, but it is easier to get distracted than you would think. “There’s nothing wrong with taking a little break, but don’t let chores distract you from being productive. You wouldn’t be doing them if you were at work,” Carolyn Forte.
The same idea goes for other at-home distractions. If you meal prep or pack snacks/lunches before heading into the office, do the same at home so you don’t get preoccupied in the kitchen. Chances are you don’t watch TV at work either, so try not to leave it on at home, even if it is just background noise.
7. Prepare for disruptions, if you have kids…
It is difficult enough to get work done when you have children at home, but even harder if you have toddlers or babies. Still, it’s not impossible if you plan ahead and have some flexibility.
- Get help if you can: it might not be the best choice for your family with the social distancing advisory, but if you have someone that can help out (i.e. grandparents or a family member that can stay isolated with you), you’ll be able to get the most amount of work done. If you co-parent, take turns between watching the kids and getting work done. Basically, when you’re working hide. Hide in a separate room so your kids don’t know you’re there.
- Explain the situation: it’s a good idea to talk with your kids about COVID-19, especially older ones who can better understand the impacts it will have on your day-to-day life and work.
- Try new activities: fun toys and games that kids haven’t played with before will keep them entertained longer. Time-consuming projects, like crafts, stickers, puzzles, and legos are sure to buy you some time.