In the wake of the global pandemic surrounding the novel coronavirus, companies of all shapes and sizes are implementing a work from home policy to keep their workforce safe. This means that most of us are dealing with an unusual challenge – working from home full-time for the first time.
Even if you have previously worked from home on several occasions, mandatorily going remote and self-quarantining with a vicious virus pandemic shaking the entire world has got to be a new experience altogether. This working from home might be for an extended period where you have no freedom of stepping out of the house to socialize and drink.
So, are you prepared for this sudden and strange shift?
All that you need are a few tips for successfully getting the office work done from the safe confinements of your house, as well as maintaining your mental well-being.
1. Keep Fresh During the Work Hours
Some of us may just be secretly excited about the entire working from home policy. And some of us do not have to travel those long hours to the office. We can spend all day in our pajamas and sit or lie on our bed and work. It is a bad practice. It may be tempting, but it makes you slow and less productive.
So, just get up in the morning, freshen up and change your clothes. No, nothing formal. But the simple act of putting on fresh clothes sends a signal to the brain that it is time to hustle. Keeping fresh during work hours will make you feel energetic.
Just because you’re working from home does not mean nobody from work would see you. Hello? This is the future of the workplace, and you have a lot of video calls to attend!
2. Creating an Office Space at Home
Coming to a major challenge that almost all remote workers face at one point or the other is designating a working space where the work and home lives are separate. Being able to disconnect with your work can help you boost your productivity and enables you to look after your household affairs efficiently.
Therefore, creating the physical divide between work life and family is an ardent task, but it is also a crucial one when working from home. The idea of a sperate room for work is something most small apartment dwellers scoff at, just like me. I am writing this article in my living room which also happens to be the dining room. Your workspace does not have to be a room, it may just be a corner – just like in my case. The key is to make your brain feel the physical divide!
3. Scheduling Defined Working Hours
Just like creating the physical divide, you should also be clear about your working hours. If you stick to the scheduled working hours, then you will be able to transition to and from the ‘office mode’ and perform to the best of your abilities. Moreover, if you have a collaborative role, then being on the same schedule as your coworkers or teammates will make things easier.
This hour separation is even more critical when it comes to handling your family. Assigning pre-defined working hours will help you communicate with your family members and establish boundaries so that you can successfully cut down on all sorts of distractions during the work hours. And once your work is done, you will be able to devote time to your family – a win-win situation, isn’t it?
4. Having Occasional Buffer Zones in Between Work
With the lockdown, some of you are missing the drive to your office and the fresh morning air. At least, I am terribly missing my ride to the office. Morning commute to office indeed gives you the buffer time to prepare yourself to get into the work mode. You should do the same while working from home – carving out routines to help you ease into your workday.
Read the newspaper, listen to music, spend time with your pet, exercise, or do anything that you would do on a normal day when you are in office. My point is you should spend time doing something you love in order to stay away from stress.
Similarly, at the end of the working hours do something that would signal your brain that work is finally over for the day. In my case, I have been tuning into Netflix and watching some of my favorite shows, or I have been getting my family together and watching a movie with them. This helps me destress my mind and get ready for a good sleep.
5. Don’t Get Affected by the News, and Most Importantly, Controversial Social Media Updates
Distractions are the biggest challenges of all remote workers, especially ones who are working from home for the first time due to the lockdown. You are at home now, and you will have moments of distractions – your baby running around the house playfully, your dog barking, dad watching the news at a high volume, mom asking you to throw the garbage out, wife asking you to pay the bills online, and more if not less.
Right now, the biggest distraction facing remote workers is the news and the associated updates on social media – fake news, memes, mindless comments, controversial debates, death toll, the Blame Game, etc. Because we are all working remotely due to the pandemic, checking in on the latest COVID-19 updates will be at the front of our minds. We are all anxious and concerned. Isn’t it?
While I believe that it is good to stay informed but sucking in all the information is not required. I have been restraining myself from scrolling down the news feed and ending up in an anxious mess with all those posts that my friends are sharing every now and then. I would suggest you do the same thing I did to avoid unnecessary distractions – turning off the notifications!
In conclusion, the lockdown and the entire world being affected by a deadly virus is going to be a tough phase for us who will be working from home for the first time. But, with these few essential tips, it would be easier for you to maintain the work-life balance during these trying times.