The coronavirus outbreak has affected the economy in a serious way. In order for many companies to continue some semblance of operations during mandatory shutdowns and shelter-in-place order, creating the ability for employees to work from home or remotely became the only hope of survival. While this was a big change for many, many companies have reported productivity increases in the new arrangements. Companies have had to outfit employees with computer systems, linked phone numbers, and some accommodations for domestic priorities and COVID-19 impacts. These tips can help you maintain a healthy work/life balance, as well as being productive when you are working from home.
Give Yourself a Schedule
By establishing your working hours (unless the company has a strict schedule for employees), you can put yourself on a schedule that will keep you from working when your attention is needed elsewhere. Set clear guidelines for when you work and when you will take your break of lunch. Working from home does provide more flexibility than in the office, but you don’t want to take advantage of that fact either. You may need to adjust your plans from time to time, but try to hold yourself to getting the important tasks done first in the most time-efficient way possible. Another little motivation is the probability that companies may restructure their positions or opportunities if the economy gets too tough, and you will want your work (both quality and amount) to speak for itself.
Establish a Routine
If you have given yourself a starting time each morning, don’t just roll out of bed and show up for work minutes later. More than likely, you had a routine when you were actually headed into the office or store each day. Try to establish something similar. Spending time exercising or doing yoga before work can help get your blood flowing and put you in an energized mood. Take time for a healthy breakfast or read or watch the news over a cup of coffee. Develop a routine that will help you jumpstart your workday.
Give Yourself Space
Not everyone is equipped with a private office or spare room in their home. During COVID-19, you will see people doing their work from just about any spot they can find. However, working from home in these public spaces can open yourself up for more distractions. Kids who are out of school will be tempted to pop over and ask you for a snack or help getting new batteries put in the remote. Your pet may want attention and it may seem convenient to schedule service people to perform maintenance checks or repairs while you are home. All of these things will eat away at your productivity and blur the lines between work and life. Set boundaries and clearly explain them to the others who will be at home while you are working.
Organize Your Office
Even if you are going to be working from the dining room table, try to set up your space as organized as you would your office. Have files or folders handy for paperwork that needs to be printed. Keep your staple supplies, like pens, paper clips, tape, stapler, or post-it notes organized in containers with lids. Hunting all around the house for something you need in the middle of the day is an interruption that you can avoid. If at all possible, try to set up your workspace where it is out of the way of the rest of the activities going on the house, as it makes it easier to walk away at the end of your workday and put your focus on other things.
Use a Separate Phone Number
Your company may have required you to use your cell phone for work-related calls, but there opens up the possibility that someone will be contacting you concerning work after you have already clocked out for the day. Rather being tying up your mobile phone, you can use a service Ninja number to set up a separate phone number for colleagues and clients. Google Voice, a Skype number, or even a second mobile phone can help you keep better control over when you are working and when you are to spending time away from the desk.
With cases starting to skyrocket again, there are several states exploring additional closures. It could mean that remote employment, at least for many, is here to stay.