If you have an office job, it’s quite likely that you are currently working from home. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have recommended that employees should work from home whenever possible.
There are of course many advantages to working from home — for instance, you can skip the annoying morning commute, which you might either spend stuck in a traffic jam or on crowded public transportation. You can basically roll out of bed and are ready to rumble, um, work. However, working from home also brings some challenges. It might be the loss of social contact, the feeling of not having a proper daily routine, or the difficulty differentiating between working and leisure time which can make it challenging. You may even have kids that need help with homeschooling and are carrying a double burden right now.
That’s why we want to share 7 tips with you today on how to make the best out of working from home while staying equally sane and productive.
Establish a routine
One of the most important aspects is to establish a routine. Try to get up around your usual wake up time, even though it might be tempting to stay in bed a little longer, and try to keep your usual work schedule. For instance, if you usually work from 9-5, try to stay within this work frame to be able to better plan and organize your day. Because even during lockdown, you still have to make time for grocery shopping, important appointments, etc.
Show up, dress up
We know the struggle of just wanting to bum around in pajamas all day when working in the comfort of your own home. However, to feel mentally prepared for work, we highly recommend changing into a different outfit. Of course, you don’t have to suit up entirely, and you can choose something more comfortable than usual, but it helps your brain to switch from “chill-mode” to “work-mode”.
Find a quiet workspace
If possible, find a bright and quiet workspace where you can minimize distractions. Don’t forget to regularly open your windows to get enough fresh air. If you live together with your partner or friends, try to make sure they don’t interrupt you too often while you’re working. You might be present in the apartment, but you still have to get some work done. With kids, it is of course more challenging. Try to be as productive as possible when they are busy with schoolwork or playing, and take it with humor when they crash your video conference.
Organize your desk
It might sound trivial, but it actually really helps you concentrate and better focus on your tasks when your working area is properly and nicely arranged. Always double-check you have all your work essentials at hand before you start your day. Quick check: Do you have your work phone, chargers, headphones, a notebook, pens, and drink of choice (coffee, water, etc.) with you? If the answer is yes, then you are good to go and can start to be productive.
Take breaks and differentiate between offline and online time
We have already mentioned how the line between working and leisure time easily tends to blur when you are in your own four walls basically 24/7. Therefore, it is even more important to schedule breaks and adhere to them. When you’re on your lunch break, you should really and exclusively be on your lunch break and not check any e-mails in the meantime. The same applies when you go offline after work. Offline should actually mean offline. So when you shut down your computer, try to bring some physical space between you and your work devices (even when they are in the same room), and focus on your “me time”. Tomorrow is another day to continue with your work.
As a matter of fact, you move your body less when you’re working from home, as you are not commuting to your office anymore, and your other daily activities might also be limited right now. Hence it is crucial to find a way to stay active throughout the day! You can either do home workouts (we gave you various ideas for that in a recent blog post), or just establish a small routine such as a daily walk. You don’t even have to walk far — just try to get some fresh air and sunshine during your lunch break, because it definitely boosts your immune system as well as your mood to spend some time daylight hours outdoors in the darkest months of the year.
Organize informal meetings
Not seeing your colleagues every day can also put a strain on you and might lead to the feeling of social isolation. Usually, you always have someone around to have a quick chat and a coffee with, and now you’re just sitting in front of your computer by yourself all day.
Next time, why don’t you organize a virtual coffee break or a virtual happy hour in addition to your regular business meetings? Private talks are important too, and they can help to strengthen the interpersonal connection between you and your teammates. So don’t hesitate, and enjoy your next break together with your colleagues — virtually!
We hope our tips can help you to make your working hours at home more enjoyable. Hang in there, even the lockdown will pass and soon you can resume your usual daily routine.
*Featured image @copper.and.me