What do I need to know when working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic?
The number of people working from home has increased by hundreds of thousands – if not millions - in the midst of the global Coronavirus pandemic. For many of those recent home workers, this could be a completely new experience, which could come with many roadblocks on the way to adapting to such a huge change within our daily lives.
With that in mind, what are the 5 most important things to know when beginning to work from home?
Here are the most important things to keep in mind when working from home during this COVID19 pandemic:
- Keep work and home as separate as you can.
- Keep your daily routine
- Try to maintain some sort of social interaction.
- Be prepared for your workday.
- Be firm on yourself and don't get your self distracted
Try to keep work and home as separate as you can.
Of course, the temptation is there when we first begin working from home to spend our days in bed, in our most comfortable pyjamas, Netflix playing in the background… the only difference being that you have a laptop resting on top of you as you attempt to get some work done.
However, not only is this detrimental to our work productivity, it also means that our brains begin to associate these activities with work rather than relaxation.
Instead, we must set ourselves a separate working environment – ideally somewhere we are unlikely to sit in our free time – to ensure we keep a clear line between work and home. Mixing the two will likely harm your productivity, and ruin them both for a long time.
Routine is just as important as it always was.
It’s easy to use the time we may have spent commuting to get some extra sleep, only to lie in too long and end up eating our breakfast at our desk – and with nobody around to see it, you’d assume it doesn’t really matter.
However, one of the biggest issues we experience when adapting to change is what those changes do to our routine, so if we allow ourselves to for-go a routine altogether, adapting to change becomes a near-impossible task.
If you can, try to resist the urge to mess with your sleep schedule too much, and continue to get up, get ready, make breakfast, etc. just as you always would have done.
Also, it’s an idea to give yourself the same amount of breaks as you’d get at the office, for the same amount of time.
Overall, try to keep your workdays as familiar as possible. It may seem difficult at first, but once you get past the first couple of weeks, you’ll thank yourself for it.
Try to maintain some sort of social interaction.
Working from home, especially if you live alone or just aren’t used to it, can be incredibly lonely at first.
On your breaks and after work, try to check in with family and friends as you normally would. Working from home makes work itself feel like a much bigger part of your life, so keeping in touch with those close to you will make a huge difference to your mood overall.
Don’t forget, a lot of people are in the same boat – a quick message from you could also mean the world to someone else!
It’s good to get prepared for your workday.
If you prepare yourself for each working day properly, you can minimize the amount of distractions during your working hours.
A good tip is to make a list each morning of all the tasks you need to complete that day and mark them off as you finish them so that you can keep yourself focused when the urge to procrastinate starts setting in.
Also, if it needs pre-preparing, get your lunch ready before you start for the day. If you have to spend some of your break time cooking and end up eating at your desk, then you aren’t really getting much of a break at all – and that’s going to make feeling worn out mid-afternoon a lot more likely.
You’re going to have to be firm on yourself.
Without managers or colleagues on hand to check you’re staying productive, you will have to take a lot more responsibility for how you manage your workload during the day.
It’s much easier to get distracted checking social media or online shopping when nobody can see you doing it, so you have to try as much as you can to stop yourself from procrastinating.
Remember, first of all, that no matter how long you spend getting distracted, the same amount of work will still be there when it’s done – it’s not going to do itself. The best way to stop yourself from becoming more stressed out further down the line is to do it when you first intend to.
The best way to minimize distractions is to leave your phone on Do Not Disturb, or, better yet, leave it somewhere that’s not immediately accessible from your desk – ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a very helpful rule in this case!
It’s going to take some getting used to.
Some people love working from home – others, not so much. Much like anything else, it really is down to personal preference. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t think it’s for you at first.
It’ll take some time to find a routine and home working environment that works for you and allows you to get the most out of your day, but, once you do, it’s much easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for tips and tricks from friends or colleagues who have working from home experience, or even just to take a look online.
If you really don’t think it’s for you, then just remember that it’s most likely just a temporary measure during the global pandemic and that you can get back to the office soon enough. In the meantime, do what you can to make the current transition as easy as possible for yourself – find a routine, keep a clear line between home and work, stay in touch with friends, get yourself prepared, and don’t get distracted.
After a while, it will become much easier to adapt to this change, just as we’ve all had to adapt to many changes recently, but for now… good luck!