With the COVID-19 outbreak still ravaging the world, many companies are forced to find alternative work arrangements for their employees. Working from home can be convenient under normal circumstances, but may feel quite lonely if you’re not used to it.
If you have found yourself suddenly thrust into working remotely due to COVID, it may be more challenging than you thought. After all, you don’t have your typical setup, can’t have quick discussions with your coworkers, and you are surrounded by personal distractions.
On the bright side, with a few minor changes, you can make your work from home experience much more enjoyable. Here are 8 tips to implement to be productive while working at home.
1) Get Dressed
It may feel silly to get dressed if no one sees you, but getting dressed is the best way to start your day off like normal.
If you wouldn’t wear sweatpants to the office normally, then don’t wear them to work from home. You’ll feel more put together, organized, and mentally prepared for work by simply showering and putting on regular work clothes.
Plus, you never know when someone will ask to have a virtual meeting with cameras on. You always want to be prepared and look your best!
2) Have a Separate Work Space
While it may be tempting to work from your bed or couch, resist the urge. Working from a desk or table will give you the space you need to be productive. Plus, you can ensure you have better posture when working on your computer.
However, you don’t have to have a fancy office setup in order to work from home. You can simply sit at your dining room table. Or, if it’s nice enough, you can even sit outside on your balcony or patio.
3) Set Your Hours
Just like keeping a separate, designated work space, you should set boundaries when it comes to what hours you work.
Working from home blurs the lines between your home life and your work life. It may be tempting to blend the two. After all, what’s so bad about throwing in a load of laundry when you need a 5 minute break? Or, why not just logon to your work laptop again after dinner?
Establish clear boundaries of when you will and when you don’t work. That way, neither your work or your home life is affected.
4) Write Down Your Weekly Goals
Working outside of the office can make it easy to get off track. In order to have to be successful while working from home, you have to be committed to your to-do list.
At the beginning of the week, write down everything you expect to produce within the week. This includes all small to-dos and big goals. Then, schedule time on your calendar to work on everything. Plus, don’t forget to schedule any webinars or phone calls you may have while working from home.
By scheduling time to work on your to-do list, you are ensuring you’re meeting your weekly goals and staying on track.
5) Communicate With Your Team
Communication, communication, communication. While it’s incredibly important when you’re in the office, it’s even more important when you’re working from home.
The fact is, no one really knows what you are working on when you are home during the day. So, you will need to be extra communicative about what you are working on.
One excellent tip is to send your boss an email on Monday with your goals for the week. Ask if this is in line with what he or she was thinking, and invite them to add anything else to your radar.
Then, at the end of the week, send a recap of everything you’ve accomplished and what you plan to carry over to the next week, if anything.
Even if you don’t receive a lengthy response, the extra effort to communicate with your boss doesn’t go unnoticed.
Further, make sure to send timely responses to your team. When you’re working from home, there are very few other distractions, so your team is likely expecting a quicker response. Set aside time each day to ensure you are responding to emails and phone calls without a delay.
6) Move Your Body
Exercise is always so important, but it’s even more important when you are working from home.
When you are home, it can be easy to become lazy. For one, you don’t have many places to go. Your breaks likely consist of doing laundry or playing with the dog instead of walking around the office.
Make it a point to get up and walk around the house every hour or so. And make sure you are getting plenty of exercise before or after work. It will help your body, mind, and mood!
If you regularly work from home, here are some great tips to stay healthy while working from home.
Working from home can be lonely under regular circumstances. But it can be especially lonely if you are not able to leave the house due to quarantine.
Make it a point to socialize as much as you can, even if you can’t leave the house during quarantine. Take video calls for work instead of phone calls, make time for your friends and family, and join social organizations outside of work.
8) Stick to a Routine
When you are home, it can upheave your regular routine. For one, your commute is shortened significantly…you only have to go from your bed to your desk. This may make it tempting to sleep in, skip lunch, or work later.
The best thing you can do when working from home is sticking to a routine. While it may take some getting used to, try to commit to creating a routine as similar to your regular one as possible.
For instance, if you typically wake up, work out, and get ready, stick to the same routine. If you start your day by 7:00 am, try to stick to the same routine while working from home. Trust me…your body and mind will thank you for the consistency.
Bonus Tip: Use Your Time at Home to Improve Your Space
Being “stuck at home” sounds like a drag but you can actually use this time to improve your living space. Activities like decluttering your room, organizing shelves, and tossing out old, unused items can really help improve your mindset when it comes to being quarantined. Take a look at this list of 40 ways to make the most of social distancing.
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Rachel Slifka is a freelance writer and human resources professional. She is passionate about helping fellow millennials find success with their finances and careers. Read more by checking out her website at RachelSlifka.com.
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