Affected by a life-altering pandemic, businesses and individuals are adapting to the drastic changes caused by COVID-19 that are rippling through society. One major adjustment is working from home. For many, this is a new request from employers to help ensure employee safety while maintaining business operations. While some might have already nailed down their routine, the test of working from home for the first time can make productivity tough.
Understandably, without in-person communication, loneliness can affect the quality of work. Staying motivated in the home may also be difficult, as there are more potential distractions than if one was working in the office alongside co-workers. Ultimately, it’s crucial to find a balance that will benefit workflow and productivity.
Perhaps the most important part to determine is the structure of your day. It might seem simple in theory to crank out eight hours of work, but a bit of planning goes a long way. Here are some factors to consider:
- Define your space: While there might be occasions where your bedroom is your “office” and your lap is your “desk,” designating a space away from the bedroom will help you stay focused on work.
- Look the part: If you work in PJs, you’ll likely feel lazier. Changing your clothes and acting as though you’re getting ready to go to the office can help you make the most of the day.
- Set your hours: If you’re usually in the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., be in your home workspace then, too. Maintaining consistency and structure can be helpful when working remotely. It’s often tempting to check emails at all hours of the night while at home, but it’s still important to designate work hours for your well-being.
When you’re sitting at your desk for eight hours, it can be a challenge in itself to stand, stretch and take a break from tasks. The benefit of working remotely is that you’re able to use the comfort of your home to your advantage.
- Take exercise breaks: Whether it’s an exercise session in the morning or some yoga during breaktime, it’s important to incorporate physical activity into the day.
- Get a standing desk: If you feel restless from sitting, maybe ask your employer for a standing desk. It can benefit your spine and blood flow to stand for at least a few minutes throughout the workday, while still getting tasks done.
- Get some fresh air: While it’s not advisable to go to the gym or other public places (plus, many of these establishments are closed due to shelter-in-place orders), going for a short walk or sitting outside can help combat cabin fever.
Social Distancing — Not Isolation
Coronavirus content is at an all-time high, which might overwhelm and confuse those who like to stay informed. While it’s difficult to escape the constant news updates, do what you can to avoid the stress of nonstop information. Here are some ideas:
- Unplug: Focus on the work at hand and avoid turning on the television or checking your news feed too often. If you prefer to stay connected, it might be a good idea to follow only a few news outlets that you trust.
- Use a second line phone service: Balancing work life and personal life is key when working from home. Keeping the two separate can establish more control over your schedule.
- Daily check-ins: Sending update emails to co-workers every morning is a good way to stay connected with staff.
- Check up on other friends working from home: With most of the workforce hunkered down, it can be lonely to not meet up for happy hour. Sending a text or scheduling a video chat can help people feel less isolated.
One of the primary ways to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission for COVID-19 is to simply stay indoors and keep yourself and surface areas clean. Maintaining productivity while working from home may take some discipline, but with time you can contribute to the modernized workday.
Author bio: Michael Xavier is the product evangelist at iPlum, which provides separate business phone lines on existing personal phones with the same high quality. iPlum, available in 22 languages, has been adopted by millions of users worldwide.