The present crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of employees to work from home, something many of us have been dreaming about…right? As appeasing as it may sound to be able to sleep in a little later and avoid the hustle and bustle of traffic and everyday work life, telecommuting (the fancy term for “working from home”) can be quite challenging. Working from home while sharing that space with your family combined with the introduction of your new homeschooling job can make things very complicated, and very frustrating. The current situation definitely calls for balance and structure to not only be able to complete tasks efficiently and effectively, but to keep your sanity as well.
That said, here are a few tips to help make the transition to working from home a little more manageable.
1) Set alarms – yes plural, alarms! While working from the comfort of one’s home, staying on track can seem impossible. Speaking from my own personal experience, and from that of a former colleague, the first week or so of working from home looked like working late hours, neglecting to eat on time (or at all) and forgetting to stay hydrated. Remember, you still have to take care of yourself. Now, more than ever, you need to try to boost your immune system, not deprive it of vital nutrients and water. Making a few adjustments to your day-to-day activities can help to bring some balance to this new normal of working from home, starting with setting your alarms:
- Wake up alarm – For those who desire to sleep in a little longer, adjust your wake up time to incorporate the time you would usually have to commute to work. Waking up at your usual time will allow for things you normally didn’t have time to do, like cooking breakfast, exercising, or both! What ever you choose to do with the few extra minutes in the morning, ensure you clock in (at your work space) on time! Remember, it is still a normal working day.
- Lunch alarm – To avoid skipping lunch or having lunch at dinner time, set a time every day to consume a nutritious meal. Meal prep will definitely come in handy here. Just because you’re at home all day doesn’t mean you have to put your meal prep efforts on the back burner. Having meals prepared in advance eliminates the need to prepare lunch, then eat. In other words, it saves time, allowing you to get back to completing those important work tasks. Additionally, try not to eat at your work station. You’ll be distracted by incoming emails and pending tasks as opposed to eating.
- Water alarm – If you’re like me, you tend to forget to drink water when you’re busy. I found that installing an app to remind me to stop and drink water really helped. Add lemon to your water bottle for flavor if needed.
- Clock out alarm – As much as you want to keep going, clock out (once tasks for the day are completed of course). Work time can quickly slip into your personal and family time if you aren’t conscious of the extra hours that you’re putting in. Work-life balance must still exist, even though your work space has now relocated to a room in your home.
It goes without saying that once you start to feel like you’re slowing down, take a break! Drink some coffee or simply get up and walk to recharge. You’ll feel much better and be able to concentrate again.
- Select your new work space – It is definitely not in bed sis! Find an area in the house that is quiet, clutter free and has limited distractions in order for you to stay focused and motivated throughout the day. To make things a little more interesting, put a spin on “Casual Fridays” by working outside on the patio for a change of scenery and the added benefit of some much needed fresh air.
- Dress Up! – With weeks of nowhere to go, I think many of us get excited about an opportunity to finally dress up, makeup included. Of course you’re not expected to walk around the house in your stilettos all day (if you choose to do so that’s totally fine too), but if you have a planned conference call, some effort in dressing for the occasion is expected, from the waist up at least. The objective is to still maintain professionalism, even by the way one dresses from home. Opt to where a button-up blouse; a camisole and cardigan or blazer for corporate meetings; and a shirt with the company’s logo for more relaxed, casual meetings with your colleagues. Pajamas and T-shirts are not appropriate attire in the professional world. Remember, technically, you’re still at work, so dress for the occasion!
Wishing you all good health and productive days as you continue to work from home!