7 Essential Tips To Remaining Productive While Working Remotely During COVID-19
Updated: May 7
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, many employees have found themselves doing something that they've never done before. They are self-quarantining, which means they are also working remotely. Some may enjoy it, others may work remotely every day, but a majority of the workforce needs some time to adjust. There can be some obstacles to working remotely, even without a global pandemic happening, but you must be productive. And remember to remain "business as usual" for the time being. Stick To A Routine. Wake up at the same time that you usually get up for work in the morning. Take a shower, have breakfast, enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea, etc. Do whatever it is that gets you motivated to start your day. And more importantly, do the same thing you'd do any other morning you'd have to go to work. If you usually go to the gym before or after work, that shouldn't change just because you're working from home. If anything, think of working remotely as gaining more time for yourself because you're not wasting time commuting to an office. Get Dressed!
It may not be necessary to put on a suit if working from home, but a pair of jeans and a shirt wouldn't hurt. Remember, this should feel like a "normal" workday. You wouldn't go to work without wearing pants, would you? Break Time.
Take a lunch break at the same time you normally would. The only change about the workweek is its location. So feel free to sit at the kitchen table for lunch or leave home (carefully) to buy takeout.
Work Only At "Your Office."
Speaking of location -- home is a tricky place to work because of all of the distractions. Common distractions that can interrupt your workday include family members, especially children, television, unfinished chores, etc. Here's how to stay focused and find an ideal workspace in your home.
Leave your laptop at the kitchen table or any other quiet space in your home. Make this "your office." This should be the designated place that everyone knows is your office space and to not interrupt you during work hours. It can be tempting to stay in bed and pull out your laptop. But don't work from your bed because your energy levels won't gain momentum if you don't get out of your bed.
Minimize Distractions. Some of us may have little ones at home that need extra attention because many parents are now playing the teacher role in their children's' lives. Homeschooling can be quite a challenge for working parents that need to give their full attention to their jobs and homework. Share these concerns with your manager and work together to create a schedule.
A schedule that will allow you to continue working productively and meet the needs of your team, as well as give your family the attention they need. Block out time for teaching your kid(s), as well as time to study independently or read. Try your best to share these responsibilities with other household members, whether that is a spouse, aunt, uncle, or an older sibling.
Clear Your Head. Take a few 10-15 minute breaks throughout the working day, to help clear your mind, by physically taking a break from the computer. Breaks are essential. Wellness companies, like Headspace, recommend frequent breaks. They encourage their employees to schedule two "no meeting" blocks on their calendars at 10 AM and 3 PM. Get up, walk away from your computer, and go for a walk or try meditating. No matter what you do, it's crucial to allow yourself a mental break from work ever so often to keep your body energized. A refreshed mind means better focus.
Stay Social. While you're supposed to be social distancing for the sake of everyone's health and safety, it doesn't mean you can't still socialize. Try virtual hangouts! Think of the last time you met with a friend for coffee, lunch, or drinks. Now imagine it over Zoom or Skype. It's still socializing; the only difference is it's not physical. During this time, people can start to feel very lonely because they are physically isolated from everyone else. These feelings are valid. Even if there's someone you haven't spoken to in a long time, give them a call, so they know they are thought of and missed. Be sure to keep in touch with friends and family. Keeping in touch will help everyone stay connected and at ease, knowing that their peers are doing just fine. Everyone needs to support each other emotionally during this time. And when it comes to communicating at work, try to have as much face time interaction as possible. When scheduling calls with coworkers, suggest a video call to maintain connections with the team. It's almost as if you're stopping by their desk...but virtually! As of now, the only weapon to fight the Coronavirus is social distancing. Self-quarantining is the new normal for now, so hang in there and be patient. Working remotely is challenging, but it has more benefits than you think, like more time for self-care and wellness activities. Wake up and get dressed, as if it were a typical day at the office. Find a quiet space in your home where you can work uninterrupted. Don't forget to take short breaks throughout the workday to clear your mind and stay energized. Take your lunch breaks seriously. Minimize distractions, like children and television.
If you're currently homeschooling, speak with your manager about creating a more flexible schedule that allows you to continue working productively, but also gives the attention your family needs. Maintain the same amount of social interaction you had before, except it'll be virtual. Remember: while working remotely is a challenge for some; being unemployed is an even worse predicament for others. Be grateful you're still able to work remotely, while so many have not been as fortunate. Stay healthy, strong, safe -- and most importantly -- stay home!
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