In partnership with the Solidarity Fund.
The pandemic is likely to remain a part of life for much of this year. Many companies have implemented voluntary or mandatory work-from-home policies. Working from home comes with its own set of difficulties, from keeping a schedule and knowing how to self-motivate. Here are five essential tips:
I know, I know, working from home seems like the perfect excuse to live in your pajamas 24/7, but pyjamas are for sleeping, not working. Giving into that temptation will result in a slower start and a less productive day overall. You don’t need to dress as formally as you would for the office, but the simple act of changing clothes serves as a signal that it’s time to wake up and get things done. Getting dressed also applies to other appearance based tasks: Take a shower, brush your hair, even put on makeup if that’s what you’d usually do. You don’t need to go all out as you would for the office if you don’t want to, but waking up and taking care of your appearance can go a long way towards your productivity. Besides, just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that no one from work will see you. With the ongoing pandemic, we’re all about to have video meetings.
Routine and structure:
One of the big challenges when it comes to working remotely is keeping your work and home lives separate.Your workspace doesn’t have to be its own room but it should feel as separate from the rest of your home. Do your normal morning chores, eat your breakfast and have your coffee in your kitchen, then move over to the area you dedicated to work. Spend your normal working hours here and do not forget to take lunch. You’ll get your best work done and be most ready to transition back to the office if you stick with your regular hours. If you normally work 8am to 5pm, keep doing this. If you take an hour lunch at 12:00, keep it. If you stop working at 5pm, stand up and do so. If you’ve set daily and weekly meetings, still have them. Many people fail because they see remote working as an opportunity to sleep-in, or take longer breaks – this never works. You need to be disciplined. You will be tempted, but stay strong!
Try not to get distracted:
Distraction is one of the big challenges facing people who work from home, especially people who aren’t used to it. It’s human to get distracted, but you need to be wary of how much you let yourself get distracted. Try not to look at remote working as an opportunity to tackle home tasks that take a lot of sustained focus. Right now, one of the biggest distractions is the news. Checking in on COVID19 updates is going to be at the front of your mind. It’s good to stay informed, of course, but it’s also easy to scroll yourself into an anxious mess.
Regular communication in the workplace between employees and managers helps to develop efficient teams and build trust. Remember, communication goes both ways, don’t hesitate to reach out to the same people you would usually turn to for help, even if you’re not in the same building as them. Invest sometime in investigating the best workflow platforms and communication tools for your needs. Communicate with the people you live with to establish boundaries so you can cut down on distractions during the workday, and then disconnect and give the people you care about your full attention. Having a separate time and space to work will allow you to be more present in your home life.
Remote working cuts off a lot of casual social interactions you’re used to having throughout the day that help you feel less lonely and break up the monotony of work. It may be tempting for some to extend their working day to beyond what they normally work. Give yourself something that will signal the end of work and serve as a buffer. You may not be able to meet up with friends for dinner after work, but you can organise a group of people to discuss a book or TV show or just to catch up over Google Meets or ZOOM.