5 Essential Tips Working from Home During COVID-19 Quarantine
For some of us, it’s been a challenge adjusting to our new “work from home” life. For me, that first week felt like one long never-ending day. Always running around and rushing everywhere, I needed help getting adjusted to this new norm. I asked my seasoned friends to share firsthand on their struggles and experiences of working remotely, so are some tips to help all of us create a healthy work and home life balance.
1. Design a home office space
If possible, pick a secluded corner of your home and turn it into your office space. Treat it as a place of business and maintain regular work hours. If you’re used to going into an office each day, the separation between work and home is physical, and you want to try to recreate that as much as possible with a designated physical workspace at home.
D.I., works from home for over 10 years as marketing specialist, dedicates a separate room as an office. When she is done for the day, she shuts her office door and turns off work so she can be present in her life. She does her very best to keep work separate from her personal life. Just like her family knows when she’s working in her office, they are not allowed to interrupt that time (unless an emergency). Current boundaries with work in a home environment is crucial for success.
It was difficult for V.N., small business owner, to work from home when both her and her roommate lived in a small space. It didn’t sound exciting to be working in their bedrooms all day long, so they moved furniture around and transformed their living/dining room into a workspace that made them feel more motivated and ready to tackle whatever comes their way. There’s also a huge difference in having your workspace by windows because of the natural light and view of the outdoor.
S.C., works from home for 16 years, agrees and loves to open her office windows whenever possible, or at minimum open the blinds and let some sun in. Fresh air and a breeze can do wonders. While A.B., life coach, loves not having to be mindful. She can play her music and light scented candles without worries.
2. Create a routine
“One of the things I struggled with the most working from home is having a routine. It’s easy going to the office because I already had a routine set in place (get my cup of coffee, talk to co-workers, organize my day, etc.). Working from home, I had to enforce a mind shift and have a new routine that adjust to home life. Making the effort of getting out of my pajamas and into work clothes and taking breaks allows me to become more efficient and productive" explains J.G., a recent mom to her baby girl.
Working remotely for over 3 years now, J.N. suggests creating a meal plan ahead of time because it is easy to forget to leave your home office to grab food. She said, “This is something I never thought would be me, but it is so true!”
F.M makes her bed, works out, makes it a point not to wear pajamas all day, and puts healthy snacks in a small basket for easy access.
R.H, a Pilates instructor, loves that she can wear whatever she wants, creating her own schedule, and making planned breaks and lunches.
S.L suggests creating a “task” list the night before and add the top 1-2 projects you want to work on first so you can feel accomplished. Number your task list from most important to least important. Here’s a little secret, if you do not get through the entire list, it’s okay!
3. Take time for self-care
At the end of the day, your mental health is most important. Create a non-work-related morning ritual. Since there’s no commute, use that extra time to bring more intention to your day. When the line between “work” and “home” starts to blur, you might find yourself stuck to your computer screen for a longer period. While that can sometimes be necessary when closing a major deal or finalizing an important presentation, give yourself time for, well, YOU. Commit to your fitness routine and make sure that you’re creating blocks in your schedule to eat healthy, nutritious meals so that you can be focused and productive when you need to be.
"Working from home leaves you within steps of your kitchen at all times, so stock up on healthy snacks like fruit and nuts" says B.S.
4. Connect with Others
When the whole office suddenly starts working from home, you’re cutting off a lot of the casual social interactions you’re used to having throughout the day that helps you feel less lonely and break up the monotony of work. Continue talking with your coworkers throughout the day through Skype, Zoom, Houseparty, emails, texts or phone calls.
S.C.'s team holds weekly calls to run through the current job queue and touch base. They’re also frequent communication and get on the phone quite a bit. Sometimes, even when an email will do, she likes to pick up the phone and call to say hi and talk through whatever it may be.
5. Know when to “log off”
This can be one of the most challenging aspects for remote work beginners as the world is becoming increasingly connected. Though you may receive emails and chat notifications at any hour (especially if you’re working in a different time zone than your coworkers), it’s important to develop a habit of setting a time when you officially “log off” for the night.
Telecommuting for over 23 years, B.S. finds it important “punch in” and “punch out” every day. He mentions working from home can leave you feeling like you’re always at work. Set a time to start and end your day, every day. At the end of your day, walk away from your workspace like you’re walking out of the office. Punch out or burn out!
D.I. does her best to do all the things she normally does in a time of stress, but there's an added layer for people who have their kids home and home schooling them. She says "When you have kids, I think adjusting does take time especially with the current state of our country. There are so many stresses and unknowns right now that the best advise I could give anyone is to give themselves and others grace."
Hope you find these tips helpful and leave us a comment!