The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses and organizations to transition their office labor force to work remotely in order to keep employees safe. Many are not only working from their homes for the first time, but doing so with family members and roommates in close proximity. For those adapting to a work-from-home environment, these tips can help you adapt while trying to keep your sanity.
1. Designate a work space even if you don’t have a formal office.
Set up an area as far from distractions as possible that is strictly for working. Find a comfortable chair, ensure good lighting and consider headphones that will keep surrounding sounds minimized. This is especially helpful for those trying to focus with children nearby.
2. Stay meeting-ready during work hours by choosing clothing each day you can wear on camera if needed.
Meetings can occur with little notice and may require you to login via video conferencing. Keep a cardigan or blazer hung in your work area to grab at a moment’s notice. Place a pop-up backdrop behind you to disguise home office clutter and promote a more professional image.
3. Give yourself regular breaks. Do some stretching or go for a short walk.
Weather permitting, sit outside for a breather or while you eat lunch. It is easy to let the hours fly by, so set a timer or schedule a few 10 or 15-minute increments each day by making specific calendar appointments. Taking breaks is not only essential for your mental health, but it can give your brain a boost and help productivity overall.
4. To help stay on task, keep clearly defined work hours and stick to them.
Share your schedule with your work team and with those you live with. This will help create healthy boundaries for your time (and sanity) while ensuring you prioritize appropriately. There may be times you need to work past those hours and that is OK. Just make sure you are still taking care of your personal and family needs too. Be patient with yourself, since it can be a balancing act.
5. While sometimes challenging, find little ways to help yourself focus.
Interruptions are unavoidable. Who hasn’t seen or had their pet or kid make an impromptu appearance on video chat? Using visual reminders for those around you can help keep some of these intrusions in check. Use a “Do not disturb” sign on the door to your home office or a removable laptop decal for those without a dedicated work space.
With so many working from home, the line between work and personal has become blurred. As we all adjust to a change in our working environment, there is a continuous learning curve. The one thing we all can count on is that our coworkers, customers and vendors are in similar situations. What has helped you keep your sanity while working remotely? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.