With the current outbreak of COVID-19, a lot of businesses are resorting to having employees working from home. This is a necessary move to create social distancing and slow the spread of the virus. Working from home is a new concept for a lot of people, so how do you survive it? I have worked from home for a long time now and here are some of my suggestions for surviving!
Keep to a schedule!
When working at home, it is all too easy to fall into bad habits that lead to you working extended hours and losing that all-important work-life balance. It is effortless to fall into the trap of getting up early to start work to accommodate another person’s work schedule. It is also just as easy to work late for the same reason, soon you will be doing both! Try to stick to dedicated work hours while you are at home just as if you were in the office. Most importantly, don’t forget to take breaks!
If you are new to working from home, I would suggest you download an app like rescue time which will help keep you on track! https://www.rescuetime.com/
Control your environment!
Another common mistake people make when new to home working is letting their environment get the better of them. The temptation to have your laptop next to your bed, ready to just pick up in the morning is real, next thing you know is its lunch time, and you are still in bed. You need to create separation between your work and your life. This could be a simple as sitting at the dining room table while you work and moving to the sofa for lunch. The ideal situation though is to have a proper office chair and a desk if you are going to be working from home for any period of time.
The other common distraction from work is the television. Try to keep it off while you are working as this can be a huge distraction. Music is another common distraction. However, if you are used to working with music on in the background then feel free but make sure you have a playlist that will last you the day, this will reduce the temptation to browse for something to listen to more than a couple of times a day. I personally listen to music while I work as that is what I am used to.
Communicate and collaborate!
Don’t get me wrong emails have their place, but if it something quick and easy you should consider using instant messenger. For more involved discussions, pick up the phone and talk to someone! Even better video call. Microsoft Teams is the perfect solution for all your communication need while working remotely!
Always try to overcommunicate!
Take sick time!
If you are genuinely sick, take time off. It is an easy mistake to continue to work while you are ill, and in the long run, it only slows down your recovery. The same applies to parental leave if your children are ill take the time to look after them! If you try to multitask your work quality will suffer as will the care of your children!
Make the most of the situation!
Take advantage of the situation. Think of all the possibilities that are opened up to you by being at home. Get into the kitchen at lunchtime and make a proper meal rather than just a sandwich? Take the dog out for a walk at lunchtime?
Another significant advantage of working from home is you have zero travel time! So let’s say you spend an hour travelling each day to the office. Think about what you could learn in an hour a day? Don’t be tempted to stay in bed an extra hour. Use your time wisely!
Take the time to have a shower and get dressed, no it does not have to be a suit but put something on that you would not wear to bed. Make sure it is comfortable you are going to be wearing it all day. It will help you get into the mindset that now its time for work. If you are still in your pyjamas, your productivity will suffer!
Don't forget to leave the house!
It is very easy for days to pass without leaving the house, especially if you live alone. This is not good for your mental health, so be sure to leave the house at least once a day even if it is just a quick walk to the shop or nipping out to the garden.
Working from home can be a beautiful thing, make the most of the situation and enjoy it!