With the number of COIVD-19 cases on the rise, many businesses have stepped up to do what they can to mitigate the fallout from the spread of the virus. For many businesses, part of their COVID-19 battle plan includes shifting much of their workforce to remote workspaces.
In a very short amount of time, individuals have found themselves in a situation they never expected to be in, and, frankly, never wanted to be in. To some, the idea of telecommuting sounds amazing, but to others, it’s a sentence.
It’s understandable with all the tension in the news cycle many Americans are feeling anxious and don’t know how they are going to get through the next several weeks.
Below are some tips and guidance from our team of recruiters who have been working remotely for several years:
Starting Your Day: Go Through a Morning Routine Before Going to Work
When beginning to work from home, we see so many people start their workday off on the wrong foot.
Most of us have a set morning routine we go through before we begin our commute to work;this routine gives our brains time to switch from personal thoughts to “work mode” before setting foot in the office. When you work remotely, you don’t always have that luxury.
Dropping kids off at school or grabbing a coffee from the local coffee shop allowed us to mentally warm up for work, but with schools and dining facilities closed for the foreseeable future, that is no longer something we can do.
For those who do not have school-aged (or any) children, they are the most at risk of waking up, rolling out of bed and logging on to work. Your brain needs the time to transition from being relaxed to being productive; it is essential to build a morning routine as if you were going into the office.
Work out, take a shower, change out of your pajamas, eat your breakfast, make a cup of coffee, or even pack your lunch! Complete as many items as you can to create a sense of normalcy and prepare for the day ahead.
Identifying a Workspace: Set up a Designated Spot to Be Your Office
Having a defined physical space to work is just as important as using a morning routine to create a mental space for work. Simply setting up shop on your couch will not only make it hard for you to switch into “work mode”, but it also leaves you open to becoming distracted. It is important to be organized and stay focused by designating a space in your home as your “office”.
Work Schedule: Working Remote Doesn’t Mean You Are Logged on 24 Hours a Day
Just because you are working from home does not mean the hours of 9-5 no longer apply. You still have the same work hours you did before your environment change.
It is very easy to find yourself working until you go to bed because your “office” is right there. A lack of discipline to log-off at 5 pm can lead to burnout and an imbalance of your personal and professional life.
Get up and Move: You Are Not Chained to Your Desk!
You don’t sit in a desk chair at work for nine hours a day, why would it be any different when telecommuting? Get up and move around, talk to colleagues, get up to let your dog out, check on your crockpot, take a yoga break, anything! You still need to take mental breaks while working from home.
It is important to get up and move around. We have found the best time to do this is when you are on the phone with a colleague. If you do not give yourself these little breaks, you will find it increasingly more difficult to stay focused. Keep in mind these mental breaks are meant to be short, five-minute breaks a couple of times a day. They are not meant for folding laundry, making a four-course lunch, or cleaning the bathroom.
The Desire to Prove Productivity: I Need to Let My Boss Know That I Am Working
Not having your boss in the office while you are working can be nerve-racking for some. How will anyone know you’re working if they can’t see you working?
Some people feel the need to call their boss multiple times a day about things they normally wouldn’t approach them with, or they will send a thousand “update” emails a day. Communication styles do change when you are working from home, but it’s important not to inundate your boss or your colleagues with status updates. Try to build the habit of sending an email at the end of the day summarizing what you ‘ve accomplished, and where you stand with your current goals.
Stay Organized: Prioritize and Create a Daily Timeline and To-Do Lists
The need to prioritize your daily work and create a to-do list does not change regardless of where you are. When you are in a familiar environment, it is easy to become distracted. By creating a daily to-do list, you will be able to map out your day more effectively.
Log Off: Leave Work for the Day and Go “Home”
When you are finished working for the day, log off your computer and close your “office”! It is all too easy to have your work bleed into your personal life and vice versa. Yes, it is easy to respond to a quick email while making dinner, but it is also as easy to wait until the next day to respond. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you separate work from your home life for your health and sanity.
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Working from home is a major adjustment, especially when you consider the circumstances at the center of your new-found situation. Even though your remote office may not be the ideal work-environment, it is important to remain positive. Do your best to take care of yourself mentally and find ways to establish a sense of normalcy. Whatever you choose to do, the bottom line is you need to create and maintain as much physical and mental space as possible between your work life and your home life. If you stay disciplined and follow the above tips, you may find that you can be more productive working from home than you were in the office.