With the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, an increasing number of companies are mandating that their employees work from home to reduce the spread of the virus. Because of this, it’s important that newly appointed remote workers across the world understand how to stay productive and connected during these trying times.
To help you get used to your new home office, here are some tips!
It’s easy to just plop down on your comfy couch and work from the laptop on your, well, lap. However, experts suggest setting aside a designated work area, such as a desk or dining table, to maintain productivity. If you have kids or other people living in your house with you, an area where you can close a door is best. Keep your work area clean, distraction-free, and try your best to avoid working outside of working hours to keep that work-life boundary.
Work-life balance can get wonky when working from home. Maybe your hours get jumbled up because of other commitments or you just find yourself working into the night despite your “shift” ending at 5 p.m. It’s important to keep as regular as a schedule you can, as well as taking reasonable breaks. Remember to set aside time for lunch and find a routine that works best for you. It’s not something you can create overnight, rather it’s something that takes time to build and hone.
Continue your routine, wake up at your normal work time, take a shower and get dressed. It’s very tempting to stay in your warm, comfy pajamas all day or throw a nice shirt over your Winnie-the-Pooh sweatpants for those on-camera meetings. An article by Ladders notes dressing up for the occasion can help set boundaries, reinforce your confidence, and help you feel fresh and clean for the new day. Even if it’s only for your dog, it doesn’t hurt to keep your office dress code in mind as you are working from home.
The laundry needs done, the dishes are piling up, and there are dust bunnies building a commune under your couch. It’s easy to get distracted by everything from household chores to that long Netflix queue. Try your best to put off household tasks until you’re done for the day. For tempting media, a good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t do it at work, don’t do it at home. If you listened to podcasts or music at work, try to stick with those instead of popping in some of your favorite movies as “background noise.”
It’s not the same as water cooler chat or making small talk during an elevator ride, but it’s better than conversing with your cat (or dog!). Fusion utilizes Slack, which you can use to keep in touch with your coworkers. Update each other on projects and client requests or use it to complain about weather. It’s also extremely important to keep an open channel of communication with your IT department. Make sure to check your technology and applications daily for any issues and report to IT as needed.
Of course, don’t use the quarantine as an excuse to avoid working out. It’s still safe to go walking and biking as long as you maintain social distancing – in fact, taking a walk around the block to “commute” to work can even help you kick off your day. Plus, there are numerous exercises using only household items on the internet you can follow! Remember to eat healthy as well, following dietary guidelines as recommended by your doctor. Make sure to drink lots of water, maintain personal hygiene, and open up a window for some fresh air.
Overall, it’s important to find what works for you. It takes time to adjust to a big change like working from home for a long period of time. Coupled with current conditions around the world, you may find it hard to keep your head on straight or avoid going stir-crazy. Remember to always keep in communication with your manager and coworkers, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and check-in on your fellow colleagues who are probably feeling the same as you.