Working from home in a Coronavirus-plagued world– How to remain productive and mentally sane?
This is truly an exceptional time for all of us. This COVID-19 crisis seems to have taken the entire world by surprise and in many countries around the world, schools, offices, shops are closing down and many of us are requested to work from home if our job permits it. It could be quite challenging to continue our work from home, for those of us not used to it, or at least not used to it for such a long period. In addition, we are also all confronted with our mixed feelings reacting to the overabundance of news and half-news and fear of the unknown.
We all faced different challenges, not only because we have different personalities, but also due to our various lifestyles and the type of work we do. No matter remote workers deal with their unique circumstances, however, many of the underlying issues they face are the same.
Everyone who works remotely has to figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create boundaries between work life and personal life. Below are simple tips to help us stay productive during those confinement times:
Location, Location, Location
If possible try to find a dedicated location or space in your home for work, somewhere you have all the materials you need, you feel comfortable and are as quiet as possible to take your calls and stay focus. To get you into the right mindset, pick up spots that are off the couch and off your bed!
Maintain Regular Hours and take regular breaks
Set a schedule, and stick to it...most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to ‘call it a day’ helps maintain work-life balance. That said, working remotely sometimes means extending your day or starting early to accommodate someone else's time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning. Ensure you also take regular and real breaks during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone to keep up with your energy level. It is probably a good idea to do something not screen-related during those breaks (avoid jumping on your social media feeds every 10 minutes, but maybe try a bit of exercise, try out a new healthy recipe for your lunch, listen to your preferred song, or play your instrument could be nice alternatives).
Set Ground Rules With the People in Your Space
Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. This situation is very new for many of us, especially for children and for parents or grand-parents who might not understand that much of the work nowadays are carried out from a computer (like my mother for instance J). So explaining in advance your schedule and asking for privacy during certain period of time during the day is probably very helpful for everyone to keep a warm and cozy family ambiance.
Create a Morning Routine
Deciding you'll sit down at your desk and start work at a certain time is one thing. Creating a routine that guides you into the chair is another. What in your morning routine delineates the start of work? It might be making a cup of coffee. It might be returning home after a jog. It might be getting dressed (wearing pajama pants to work is a perk for some, but a bad strategy for others). Create a morning routine that ends with you starting work.
Confinement does not mean loneliness
One of the key difficulty to work at home is the lack of social interactions and movements. Are you missing that nice chitchat with colleagues or friends at the coffee machine, or maybe the refreshing walks in the morning until your office? You might want to try them virtually. What about starting the day with a nice virtual coffee chat over skype with your teammates or friends? There are also plenty of videos online for short gym, yoga or meditation sessions, maybe worth trying them out? And of course, if your local regulations allow, a nice and refreshing morning jog or midday walk (while keeping the social distancing recommendations) are also extremely helpful to stay healthy, boost your immune system and keep your sanity!
If you're working from home for the first time and it has you in a near-panic, you're not alone. Just about every remote worker went through what you're going through. Have the confidence to know that you will get through this tough first stage and find success sooner than you think. And don’t forget, we #stayathome for the safety of our entire community and this is priceless!
Written by: Florence Seabra