Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of people are directly affected by the novel coronavirus and everyone’s indirectly affected in some way.
If you’re fortunate enough to be working from home during these trying times, chances are you’ve got your hands full. Not only are you totally out of your comfort zone, but you’re probably also struggling to master the art of extreme multitasking.
Keep it together with these practical working at home tips.
1. Set Up A Routine
Work out a battle plan for each day and each week. Remember to set aside time for online shopping, and nipping out for essentials if needed.
If you have children at home, you’ll need a few hours every day to supervise their studies and don’t forget to give yourself some time off too.
Setting up fixed work hours creates boundaries for your family and is the easiest way to get your behind into your office chair instead of onto the couch.
You can use an app like Rescue Time or Clockify to record your work hours and catch up in the event of disruptions. That way, you’ll also have a record of your office hours if anyone asks questions.
2. Dress The Part
You don’t need to don full work apparel and make up every morning, but lingering in your pajamas until late in the day isn’t recommended.
At the very least, get up, eat breakfast, shower and get changed into clean comfortable clothing before you settle into work. This jolts your mind into full work mode and will help you to get focussed sooner.
3. Take Frequent Breaks
Maintain your usual tea and lunch breaks and don’t cheat yourself in this regard. If your quarantine restrictions allow it, get outside and go for a solitary walk.
If you’re confined inside, at least stick your head out the window to get some fresh air. Your body also needs to move. Try a little running on the spot or yoga if you can’t go outdoors.
4. Set Up A Home Office
Some workers are fortunate enough to have a home office, but this isn’t essential. All you need is a desk and comfortable chair.
Finding a quiet space to set up shop is ideal but not always possible in a house full of people. It’s imperative that you claim some space as your own though.
Even the kitchen table will do as long as you can keep it off-limits to the family during your office hours.
5. Stay Connected
Keep in contact with your co-workers, even it’s just to check in on their health.
During your normal workday, you have many social interactions with these people. Set up a chat group for non-work-related banter so that you can keep these connections alive.
6. Ask for Help When Needed
Your colleagues are facing the same challenges as you are, so ask them for help if needed.
Likewise, if you need something to make your remote work easier, ask your boss. If you’re lacking the tools to work effectively, ask them if they can provide them.
They should be happy to order these for you and get them delivered, or let you borrow something from the office if needed. Don’t let your productivity suffer because you don’t have the tools you need.
7. Use Online Resources
While working from home, you’re bound to come across a few technical glitches that hamper your productivity. For instance, you may have lost your access to a few of your employer’s programs used for menial tasks like editing PDFs.
Thanks to open-source software, that needn’t be an issue. A quick internet search will reveal the best free PDF editor for Mac or Microsoft users as well as many other useful tools to make your workday easier.
Confine your office hours to normal times, as far as possible. Although, if you can spare a few hours off in the daytime and catch up late at night when everyone’s asleep, do so.
8. Take Time Off
Don’t work more hours than you usually would. It can be tempting to cram 5 days’ worth of work into two days so you can have more days off, but things rarely work out that way.
Someone’s bound to need something urgently during your downtime. Rather confine your time off to weekends and after hours. That way it’s easier to keep track of how many hours you’ve been at your desk.
If you’re an hourly-paid worker or a freelancer who operates on a no-work-no-pay basis, don’t become a slave to the machine. We’re all learning fast that there are more important things than money.
Take care of your health. Eat regular meals, take time off if you feel ill, and get at least seven hours’ sleep every night.
9. Sign Out At The End Of The Day
When you work from home, it’s difficult to draw the line between work and play. Usually, your commute from the office serves as the necessary separation between work and home life.
At your designated time every day, sign out of your laptop and walk away. This prevents you from becoming trapped at your desk long after your designated office hours.
When your co-workers see that you’re not available, they know they’ll have to wait until your office hours for a response.
Instead of slaving away all night, take the time you’ve saved on commuting and put it to good use. You could bake a treat for your family, have a relaxing soak in the tub, or spend some time meditating instead.
Enjoy the perks of working from home.
More Working at Home Tips
If you stick to these working at home tips and guidelines, you’ll find that you get more done at home than you ever did at work. This is especially true if you’re used to working in an open-plan environment where there are frequent disruptions.
Use your spare time productively. Stay up to date on the latest developments in the news, take an online course, or learn a new skill.
Online blogs like ours a good place to turn for informational, factual articles to help you stay inspired, motivated and informed. Keep reading.