Working remotely is pretty prevalent right now. Working from home is a new reality for many during COVID-19, but for the veterans who have had a work from home job for years, what’s their secret? Modern technology has made it easier to do all the things we need to do from the comfort of our homes, but that still doesn’t change the 50-50 split on whether or not working from home is for you. Some people love working from home, and others loathe it, some claim increased productivity when they work from home, others say there are constant distractions, but, now, many of us don’t have a choice and need to adapt to this WFH lifestyle.
Here’s some comprehensive advice on making the best of working from home, keeping your sanity, and remaining productive with simple life insights, time management skills, and productivity tips.
1. Create a Workspace
You need a place to call your office when working from home. Whether you’re in a house, townhouse, apartment, condo, ranch, or tiny home, please designate a separate creative space from the rest of your living quarters. This is not just to ensure at least eight hours a day for your professional responsibilities when working at home, but it will allow the rest of your residence to remain as it’s designed to be, a space for rest and relaxation.
Not all of us have a home office or room for one, so get creative, even a small, well-kept desk in your bedroom or kitchen will do. I’m a huge proponent of natural light, so if you can set up your home office by a window – bonus points! If you are always taking calls, make sure there is a door you can close to block out any sounds or distractions.
2. Home Office Décor
Create the home office you want. Couldn’t burn candles at your regular office? Burn the heck out of that scented candle now. Play your music. Bring in some air-filtering plants. Get a more comfortable office chair, because you will need it, but watch out, they can get expensive! I recommend the Autonomous ErgoChair 2 – when I work from home, this is what I use. The ErgoChair 2 is completely customizable, comfortable, and good for your back, with a mid-tier price. Delivery times take forever, though, so be aware. Get knickknacks and thingamabobs that are personal to you – artwork, wall décor, pens and notepads, a rock garden, a clever throw pillow, a mousepad, whatever they may be.
Need a little white noise with a touch of visual stimulation? Alexa has this great skill called Ambient Visions combining beautiful music and sounds with serene landscapes that’ll add a bit of calm and meditation to your day. The skill is free but can be upgraded for a small monthly fee.
3. Get Dressed
Look, I know it’s easier to work in your pajamas, but the simple act of showering and getting dressed in the morning is rejuvenating; it will boost your mental clarity, productivity, and actually help to improve your mood.
4. Time to Work vs. Time for Yourself
A work-life balance is just as if not more important when you work at home. Introverts, extroverts, ambiverts, and even typically happy people are going through sporadic bouts of depression and anxiety right now, thanks to the novel coronavirus and our current world crisis. We are boarded indoors, and sometimes it feels like work and chores are all we see.
Realize the importance of time management. While we all have responsibilities that must be met each day, part of time management is setting up adequate moments to step away from home work. Get out. Go for a walk. Have a cup of coffee on the porch. Do some yoga at the park. Meditate in a quiet place. Take breaks throughout your workday (we all need it). Safe social interactions are also important, so make sure you put your computer away for a reasonable amount of time each day to live your life. When that’s not always possible, create little rewards for yourself to look forward to when the work is finished.
5. Family, Pets, and the Place You Call Home
Family and pets bring joy to our lives…most of the time. When you spend most of your time at home, you can start to feel a bit claustrophobic. Small imperfections in your day can compound into major irritants – pet messes, misbehaving children, a spat with your significant other, and an endless stream of dirty dishes in the sink. Take some deep breaths and try to remain patient and remember that your loved ones are your lifelines – we must help one another. Stay levelheaded and be a support system for your family, and when you need the favor returned, they will be there.
6. Different Schedules
If you or your partner have returned to work outside your home, be mindful of each other’s schedules. Both situations are tough. If your partner is out in the field and continually deals with customers, patients, or clients every day, they are risking their lives to contribute to your family’s welfare. Alternatively, if you are working from home, every day can present its own set of challenges. It is hard to compare one to the other. If your partner requires downtime after returning home from a long day, please give it to them – fix them a drink or their favorite food and give them time to relax. Conversely, you must understand that working from home five days a week or more can be isolating, suggest activities you and your partner can do to get out of the house and away from the stresses of home life, if only for a few hours.
School has started for many children, and over the next few weeks, every child will be back to full-time education. However, many schools have switched over to online classes, and are troubleshooting how to homeschool for the time being until a more permanent solution is presented for COVID-19. How can you ensure that your workday is productive, along with your child’s education?
First, your child also needs a workspace, let them create it with you.
Second, teachers are doing their best to adjust their lesson plans to fit with our current reality.
Third, set up lunchtime for you and your child to talk. How is their day going? What do they need help with? Try to plan three well-balanced meals a day.
Be respectful of each other’s days, and find a system that works for you and your children. If you are working in the same room and find certain lesson plans distracting, use headphones. When you get up in the morning to prepare for your day, guarantee that your child does the same.
If you need an hour to yourself after your workday is over, suggest that your child does a solitary activity that they enjoy too.
COVID-19 has given us a new appreciation for our families and homes, but we also need our space. Know that every situation is only temporary and we have no choice right now but to make the best of it.
Stay strong, stay safe, and be well.
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