In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, a lot of offices are now switching to a work-from-home policy. Employees who never worked from home are having to figure out how to successfully complete their assignments, stay connected with colleagues, and avoid a plethora of distractions.
I must say, I kind of love having my boyfriend quarantined to the house instead of going into his office. As it means we get to spend more time together! But I also realize that working from home doesn’t come as naturally for some folks and they may need a bit of help figuring out how to work successfully under these new circumstances.
But if one good thing comes out of coronavirus, I hope it’s this: that workplaces realize how beneficial working from home is and how POSSIBLE it is. People who work remotely generally have higher levels of happiness, get sick less, and have greater loyalty to their companies. And it’s up to employees to show up and really put in the effort to prove that remote work WORKS. Help this become the norm for more people in the future, by doing your part now.
SO CORONA-NOMADS, let’s make this a successful experiment! Don’t let what’s going on in the world distract you from executing your programs, projects and duties. Push thru, show your bosses how effective you can be when you have FLEXIBILITY.
Knowing how wonderful this lifestyle is. I want everyone to get to be a part of it. I want you to succeed too. I’ve been working remotely for a year now and have surely learned a thing or two about how to work most efficiently at home (and on the road). So here are 10 tips to help you work at home more efficiently during coronavirus! Let’s get into it!
Create a Designated Workspace
One of the most important things when learning to work remotely, is making sure you have a clean, clear designated workspace. You don’t have to have a separate room for your office….even just designating a section of your kitchen table will do. But it’s important to have a SEPARATE place/chair/section that is for work only. You only sit in this spot when you are “on the clock”. This will help you compartmentalize you life between work time and personal time. For those of you who have always felt they need to go into an office to focus, this is going to be extremely important and will go a long way in helping you be successful working at home.
Sit Up Straight & Stay Alert
I know this sounds basic. But it’s actually a really important one. When you sit slumped over on the couch, it’s easy to go into “weekend mode” and slack off. But by sitting up straight, you help to stay alert and in work mode. Not to mention, good posture is proven to reduce lower back pain, increase energy levels, lessen tension in the head/neck, improve digestion, and more. All things that make it easier to stay focused and on task!
Put on Work Clothes
Similarly to posture, make sure you also get dressed during the workday! I know it’s tempting to stay in your pajamas all day when you don’t have to go into an office….but resist this! Staying in pajamas all day is going to make you feel like you’re sick or on vacation….making it hard to keep your brain focused on the tasks at hand. Psychologically getting dressed is going to help you feel like you are on the clock, even when you’re at home.
One of the good things about going into an office, is that it eliminates the opportunity to do things around the house, manage pets, etc. Your focus is easily managed because there are less things being pulled into your head. If you’re someone who is easily distracted by your surroundings, it’s going to be important that you set up your workspace for success. You can start by making sure your pets are away from the room you plan to work in, making sure laundry is out of sight, as well as any games or items that may call to you during the work day. Set time to handle these items outside of your designated work hours.
Set Designated Work Hours
Which brings me to – setting your work hours! When you work from home, it can be confusing about when you should make yourself available vs when you are on personal time. So I recommend being very clear about when your work hours are and sticking to it. This helps establish a work/life balance, in lieu of a physical separation. If you allow yourself to be available all the time, you will burn out very quickly. So it’s crucial to set boundaries from the start.
Move Around Frequently Throughout the Day
You will be surprised by how little you move when you start working from home. Just think about it — you cut out walking from your car to office, walking around the office to talk to coworkers, walking to lunch, etc. So it’s going to take a little extra effort to make sure you aren’t stationary all day long. One of the habits I’ve developed is always walking while I talk on the phone. This ensures that I’m not stationary throughout the day and I’ve found that it actually helps me think & contribute more efficiently & astutely. A two prong benefit!! Another thing I will do is take my dog for a walk at my designated lunch break.
Use Video Conferences
Another great thing you should utilize when you work from home is video conferencing platforms. My favorite is 8×8…. Getting to see colleagues faces to face really improves communication and teamwork, as well as helping you to feel more connected with your clients & colleagues….even when you aren’t in the same space. If you switch to suddenly doing EVERYTHING over email, you may start to crave human connection. Which is why I heavily recommend working in some video conferences to your daily routine.
Start Your Day With Exercise
Exercise is a huge part of my life. And when I worked in an office, I often worked out before going into the office or on my way home from the office. By starting your day with exercise, you are going to kickstart your energy level and allow yourself to think more clearly & creatively throughout the day (despite the unusual work setup). With the current situation, I’m not going to advise you to go to the gym right now (you don’t know who has touched that equipment or where they have been!). But I do still think exercise is extremely important…especially in the current state of the world….people need to take care of themselves and exercise is a part of overall healthy living. The trick is going to be finding exercise with limited risk. Activities like running, home-based HIIT classes like Insanity & Kayla Itsines SWEAT, and workout videos are going to be your new best friends. And the good news is that more and more brick & mortar studios are taking their classes online to address the current state of affairs. There are alot of options right now, you just have to be open and flexible on how you get your workout in.
Plan Lunches with Friends, Colleagues, & Contacts in Your Industry
The biggest drawback from working remotely or online is that you don’t see people everyday and it can honestly get a little lonely at times. But there are absolutely things you can do to combat this and make sure you stay connected with friends, colleagues and contacts in you industry. Make sure you are setting at least 1-2 lunches a week to meet up with others. This not only helps combat some of the loneliness that can set in when you start working from home, but also helps you maintain your network. Having personal 1:1 time goes along way in cementing your relationships with others. But in the current climate, I would avoid handshaking/hugging (trust me, everyone gets it), and probably opt for low-key restaurants that are less crowded and have tables that are further apart, so you maintain some social distancing.
Set Weekly Checkins With Your Boss/Team Members
Since you aren’t going to be seeing your boss (or team members) every day to ask quick questions and share updates. It will be necessary to develop a new system for keeping each other in the loop. I recommend setting weekly check in calls so you can give updates one everything you have going on and make sure no balls are dropped. It’s a nice opportunity to drive stronger connections with your boss and teammates as well!
Written by: Lauren, an Austin, Texas native currently living in Los Angeles. Originally published in Out Of Office Gal.