Are you missing your morning commute, stopping by your colleague’s desk to say hello or having lunch at your favorite spot around the corner from your office? The daily routine is feeling much different for many of us as the authorities work to slow down the spread of COVID-19. The enforced and abrupt nature of this transition from an office to a home environment has left some of us struggling to get accustomed to the change. We’ve all heard the advice from experts on social distancing and making sure we wash our hands. What we have left out is the psychological disruption working from home has on all of us. We’d like to share some tips to stay productive, healthy, and sane as we adjust to this new normal.
Get started early
They say, “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it”. Getting a head start to your day has always been rewarding, now more than ever. There’s a lot you can get done in those early hours without any distractions of incoming mail, colleagues pinging you on teams, phone calls, messages or other distractions throughout the day. It’s a quiet time to focus on something that needs your undivided attention. Also, it’s a great way to plan how your day should stack up like, professionally as well as personally. In that early hour, that extra-large mug of coffee definitely helps.
Keep a detailed planner
During this state of confusion, especially for folks who are not used to working from home, it can be challenging to manage the tasks at hand combined with the household chores without having everything in shambles, unless we have a plan in place. In order to maintain a routine (and your sanity), consider keeping a planner to map out how each day should look like, even when you’re off the clock. Some questions your planner can address are – What tasks do I need to complete for my current assignment? Which of these can I get to today? Which coworkers should I virtually check in with, and when? What chores do I want to complete once I’ve shut my laptop for the day? If you have a plan for both work and household duties, they’re less likely to intersect.
Take breaks and set boundaries
It can be difficult to remember to take breaks. Use your calendar to turn meals and breaks into appointments so you get regular reminders. Block time on your calendar for exercise and fresh air – or just time to step away from your workspace. Taking mini breaks after every 45 minutes is a good way to get started. It is easy to continue working even when you are off the clock, therefore it becomes important to create time boundaries to have a set time for work and other daily activities.
Get creative with your workspace
At this time, we don’t know how long this pandemic will last, however chances are we might have to work from home longer than we planned. So, take some time to look at the space you’re going to designate as your home office. Consider a change of surroundings from time to time. Even if you live in a small space, moving your chair from one place to another will give the brain the perception that you are now in a new space. If for any reason you’re unable to change your space, perhaps think about adding flowers or re-arranging a little to make it look a bit different.
Crank up the communication
Collaboration with your team is essential to make sure things are moving forward. Now that we all are isolated during these self-isolating times, it really does make a difference when we connect with our teammates on a call to make up for the in-person interactions. Call your work buddy, even if it’s just for making sure that they’re doing okay and have everything they need. It’s nice to have your video turned on, whenever possible. So, pick and choose which work conversations would be better over the phone or in a video meeting, and go for it.
Stay safe and hang in there.