Coronavirus and its impact on the work field have been abrupt. One simple notification — which likely arrived in the form of a quick, pinging “ding!” to your email inbox — let countless Americans know: we will continue to work tomorrow, but we’ll be doing it from home.
No need to refill your gas tank tonight, America: the only commuting we’ll be doing tomorrow is the commute from our beds to our dining room tables.
For many working-class individuals across the globe, this came as quite a shock. Just two weeks ago, COVID-19 seemed like a faraway threat (I mean, right?). We believed the news headlines: Coronavirus Poses No Threat To The US, Life To Continue On As Normal. Almost overnight, however, everything we believed proved to be false became real, and COVID-19 changed the fabric of our daily lives was palpable totality: closed retail stores, canceled parties, state-wide lockdowns, and shuttered schools. Unprecedented: the one certifiable, daily constant of work— jumping into a car with a mug of coffee in a shaking hand, preparing for a long day in the office — had evaporated.
However, in this uncertain time, there is no reason why we can’t adapt. Staying at home is the best way to reduce the spread of this virus, and I think we’re up to the challenge. We’ve sourced a couple of work-from-home tips that are sure to improve your productivity and shake away those remote-working blues. Check them out below!
1) Stick to a schedule.
Managing tasks can be difficult without an imposed structure. In a regular work environment, your hours are clear-cut and recurring; you know when to arrive, when to break for lunch, and when to go home for the day. You’ve mapped out your daily to-dos and deadlines, and know when to complete them. Even if you get distracted at times (procrastination, anyone?) it is easier to get back on track.
At home, however, with comfort, distraction, and even boredom at every turn, your schedule can get derailed. Try to stick to the schedule you had at work. Make sure you start at the same time, break at the same-times, and stop working at the same time each evening. This will allow you to stick to your “at-home” schedule as well — the same time you cook meals, exercise, and complete self-care rituals. Sticking to a routine will help you keep your workflow going, and prevent burnout.
Tip: Hard to stick to a schedule? Try making lists! Write down the emails you need to send, meetings you have to make, and tasks you need to complete. Not only will it give you a finite end-goal, but it’ll also increase your feelings of success and productivity when you reach your list’s end.
2) Explore teleconferencing options
By now, everyone is an expert at conference-calling via iPhone. There are, however, many online teleconferencing options available that can increase connection between colleagues and streamline workflow (much like an in-person meeting!) while based in the home. Even better, they’re all COVID-19 social-distancing approved. Ask your employer/employees about meeting via Zoom or Skype, and see if this proposed idea can improve productivity in your workday.
Tip: Need some guidance? Check out reviews and tutorials on Youtube for each platform, and find out what might be the best option for your team.
3) Budget some time for fun
While it is certainly important to stay on track during your workflow indoors, it’s equally important to preserve your home as a space of relaxation and fun. Additionally, with coronavirus news absolutely everywhere, it is a great way to distract the mind, de-stress, and refocus on your goals.
Queue a bunch of flicks to your online streaming account, and make some plans to video chat with friends and family. If you have a hobby you always complete at home (painting, video games, playing an instrument), it is important to not sacrifice these actives in the name of productivity. While this may seem strange, it will have a positive effect on your body and mind, keeping you both sane and happy, and improve the quality of your work itself. Make sure to preserve your space as one of retreat and solace — don’t let the lines between work and pleasure get too blurred!
Tip: Having trouble separating your leisure-space and work-space? Try confining your work hours at your desk or dining table, keeping your couch, bed, and outdoor space available only during your leisure time. Your physical space can greatly influence your point of view — give it a try!
4) Stay active — stay healthy!
The siren call of one’s bed and television remote can be deafening. Whenever I’m stuck at home, I somehow always find that the easiest thing to do is to just laze around. This can be wonderful if you’re only home for 1-2 days out of your week, but over the course of a 2-4 week quarantine, you’ll find your body start to become anxious and sluggish.
If you’re a generally active person, you can mimic a class environment using online courses. Many yoga, dance, and barre studios have started to unveil online class platforms, with dozens of classes available to watch and take from the comfort of your own home.
If you already have a subscription to a studio or a gym, it is likely their new online catalogue will be available to you at no cost.
Youtube is also a wonderful resource, which is always free for all users. Try to make at-home exercise apart of the schedule you create — it will keep your body healthy, calm your heart and mind, and, as an added bonus, pump up your immune system.
Not generally an active person? Even if you’re not one for downward dog, you may start to miss the day-to-day movement your body experienced, even just walking to and from the office or heading to lunch. Even a quick 15 minute set of push-ups or sit-ups can help replace that loss, and get you back up to speed. Those extra endorphins will make you feel happier, too!
Tip: Finding it hard to stay motivated? Order in some great workout gear. A yoga mat or set of weights, if you don’t have them already, will greatly increase the number of activities you’re able to do from home. If Amazon isn’t currently available in your area, consider some weight stand-in options (full, reusable water bottles, jam jars, bags of flour). Change it up, feel your best, and allow yourself to crush your goals!
Remember — for most, working from home is just a temporary solution. As terrifying and life-changing as this virus feels, life will win out. Society will return to normal, and bring with it all the woes and tribulations of your early morning commutes, meetings, and routines — all those things we all somehow miss. While you lay awake in the fear of the world, try to remember that there will soon be a time of peace. Your joy will return and with it your routine. So, for now, remember to take it easy, hydrate, and wash your hands. Use these productivity tips, but remember to take ample time to prioritize your mental health. Most importantly, know that we are all in this together. Take a deep breath and relax, work-from-home warrior. I promise you, you’ve got this!