With COVID-19 taking over the globe, most companies have turned to work from home in an effort to combat the spread of the virus. While working from home can be extremely beneficial when it comes to travel expenses, planning your own time, working to your own agenda, and so on, living quarantined in your own homes with little to no social life can take a toll on one’s mental health, thereby affecting one’s productivity.
There are many aspects of working in an office that can be mirrored if you’re stuck at home. With the current scenario, it is uncertain how long one might have to stay at home, but these tips will help you get through this tough time.
1. To-do Lists
At the beginning of the day, list down all your tasks. This helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed. Once you finish a task, cross it off your list. However, big or small, important or not, list all your tasks down. This helps you gauge how much work needs to be done and it is all the more satisfying when you cross it off your list. At the end of the day, you will feel accomplished when you see that to do list and all that has been crossed off it.
2. Time Management
Plan your day basis length of tasks, deadlines and your most effective time of day. Take your to-do list and segregate the tasks on the basis of two scales: Most important and least important and urgent to not urgent. Divide them into four quadrants: Urgent and important, not urgent but important, not important but urgent and, important and not urgent. Now you know your urgent and important tasks are what need to be tackled on priority.
Everyone has different times of day when they are most effective. Allot your most effective time of day to tackle the urgent and important tasks. As you go through the day, you will realise that some tasks might move from one quadrant to the next, and that is how you should keep tackling them.
Maintain your office routine for breaks and meals. Try and stay on the same schedule as you would if you were in office. This way your mind will slowly begin to process as per the working hours.
3. Communicate Well
Clear communication is of utmost importance when working from home, be it with a client, employer or even your peers. Clearly communicate the deliverables you can manage to complete within a day’s working hours. Give timely updates to employers, clients and peers about what you have done, what you are working on and what needs to be done. In today’s day, technology has become extremely friendly with remote working. If possible, conduct all your tasks on collaborative platforms like Google Sheets. This way your employers and peers can see real in time what you are doing.
4. Maintain a Workspace
While working from home, it is very important to assign a workspace. Work from home, doesn’t mean work from your bed. Find a spot, preferably with a desk and chair, which you treat as your workspace. This can be in a study, living room or even a dining table. But treat this spot as your designated work space and maintain it how you would your desk in an office. This helps you get into the working frame of mind and not get too comfortable.
5. Minimise Distractions
It is very easy to get distracted when working from home. Identify your biggest distractions and knock them down before settling in to work. Put your phone on silent for all non-essential notifications, turn off social media push notifications, strictly no Netflix or TV or YouTube during work hours. Along with social distancing, practise social media distancing too during work hours.
Inform your family or those also quarantined at home with you about your work schedule and understand theirs. Set some ground rules and boundaries. Let them know in advance if you have a call or need quiet time for work. If you can, wake up before the rest in your house as it will be the most peaceful time of the day. Stay calm. Practise breathing.
6. Get Dressed
Before you get down to work, make sure you take a shower, and put on nice clothes and make-up/ hair gel like you would if you went to the office. This will help you get in the mind frame to work and leave you feeling refreshed. It will also help if there are some unscheduled video calls that come your way.
7. Stay Motivated
This is a must for work from the office and home. Stay motivated when working and also motivate others—peers, family members, employees. You can stay motivated by taking an appropriate number of breaks to get up, stretch and breathe. Go to a balcony or a window for some fresh air and a feel of being outside, if you’re feeling cooped up. Most importantly, take breaks to wash your hands and face. This will refresh you and also help get rid of germs.
These are just some tips to help you with getting comfortable, but not too comfortable with working from home. Achieving everything is not easy, but tomorrow is another day and we live and learn. You’re not going to ace this in one day, give yourself time to ease into this set up and figure out what works best for you. Practise makes perfect. Take your commitments seriously but go easy on yourself too.