During the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more workplaces are now transitioning to work-from-home setups in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While this isn’t really foreign to some, others may find this “new experience” a challenging one.
There are two distinct possibilities for Work-From-Home: 1) Your current employer arranges for that (instead of just laying you off), or 2) You start your own business. The following advice applies to either scenario.
Yes, it may seem like a fantasy to be able to work and get paid without having the need to get out of the house, but it has a number of drawbacks too.
According to a survey published by Life Hack, the top three obstacles faced by 24,000 in 95 countries are: family members demanding attention (59%), difficulty concentrating (43%), and children, family or pets disturbing telephone calls (39%).
Not only that, it’s also hard to stay productive when you have full access to your bed, TV and the fridge.
To help you with that, I’ve rounded up a list of hacks to keep you focused and productive while working at home during this pandemic.
Keep your routine.
Just because you don’t have to drive to work anymore doesn’t mean you can wake up 5 minutes before you clock in. Create and maintain a new “work” routine where you wake up early, have a decent meal and shower — or whatever your “normal” routine is when you were commuting to work — to mentally and physically prepare you for a productive day ahead.
As much as you want to stay in your pajamas all day, DON’T! That will just put you on lazy mode all day and would keep you off track from all the pending work that you have. You don’t have to dress up formally but getting out of your sleep clothes is a must if you want to turn “work mode” on. It might help to pretend that you are on camera. In some cases, you might be!
Have a designated workspace at home.
If you have already have an office at home, then you are lucky. But if you don’t, make sure you create a separate workspace away from where you relax (bedroom) and have fun (living room or entertainment room). Your goal is to stay focused and productive, so make sure to have a clear boundary between work and play even when you are at home.
Keep clearly defined working hours.
Speaking of boundaries, you should also be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not. Not setting a fixed work schedule might result to procrastinating and bad work habits. So just like working at an office, implement a schedule for yourself too – when to start and end your shift and the breaks in between.
Have a plan.
To help you maintain efficiency and productivity, having a to-do list is highly recommended. Having a list of things you need to accomplish for that day will help you prevent getting side-tracked, and motivate you to remain focused the whole day.
Since everybody’s at home now, it’s really hard not to get distracted. So make sure to talk to everyone at home and ask for cooperation, especially during virtual meetings. BTW, I currently use Zoom for my virtual meetings. So far, I have not found anything better; it is easy to use, is reliable, and does a good job of gracefully handling bandwidth problems. Plus, it has a very flexible recording feature.
Have breaks in between and go outside.
Don’t forget to get up from your desk – grab a snack, do some stretching exercises, walk around the block (while practicing social distancing) to keep your blood flowing and of course, avoid getting overwhelmed with being in one place the whole day.
We all crave social interactions and maintaining that in a work environment helps us to stay productive. However, since we can’t go out in public or have gatherings at home, you can opt for virtual happy hours and hangouts over FaceTime, Skype or other messaging apps.
You may think that this transition is challenging and difficult now but remember that you are so lucky to still have a job. Not everyone has the option to work from home and continue to earn money while being on lockdown.