The entire world is increasingly feeling the effects of COVID-19. This applies to governmental authorities, small and large companies, and of course, individual employees. Almost everyone is forced to shift their ways of working towards remote teleworking means, and there are certainly both pros and cons of not being in the office. In addition to the reduced risk of infection spread, you also don't have to commute and have more time for actual work or for personal needs. On the other hand, working remotely can create challenges, such as blurred boundaries between work and leisure, disruptions, communication breakdowns, and the speed at which we accomplish tasks.
If you are working from home during these times, here are some tips to help you keep both your focus and health in check.
1. Plan your day the night before.
As a remote worker, you need to take more responsibility for planning ahead. A proven and effective tip is to set aside some time at the end of the day to review your priorities and schedule for the next day.
2. Create morning and evening rituals.
Your regular commute to work creates a natural interruption between work hours and leisure. This can help you change gears and focus on the task you have ahead of you — when you’re working from home, you need to create this break artificially. Take some time to devise a good morning and evening ritual to ground yourself.
3. Try to get dressed for work.
Similar to morning and evening rituals, your clothes can act as a signal that work is in progress. In other words, if you can find it in you, don't make yourself too comfortable in your favorite sweatpants (this may be the most difficult, but worth a try!).
4. Arrange a proper home office.
Your work environment affects your physical well-being, which in turn affects your productivity. Avoid working in bed or on the couch in front of the TV, and instead, designate a specific area for your home office. Remember to sit as ergonomically correct as possible and somewhere with natural light, ideally. If you need peace and quiet around you to concentrate, having a separate room is ideal. If this isn’t an option, investing in a pair of nice headphones is a helpful alternative.
5. Keep fixed working hours.
It's easy for business and everyday activities to blend together when we're working and playing in the same place! To prevent your work day from getting longer and longer, you should set a fixed schedule for when you are and are not working (make sure to stick to the schedule!).
6. Schedule your breaks.
Without coffee and food breaks, it can be easy to forget that regular pauses are actually good for both your health and productivity. Set an alarm that reminds you to take a break every now and then. Use the time to detach from what you were doing completely — drink a glass of water and stretch your legs.
7. Talk boundaries with your loved ones.
In these times, it’s quite possible that you're not the only one working from home. And it can certainly be a gift to get to spend more time with your loved ones, however, it can also mean an increased amount of interruptions and again, blurred lines between work and free time. Which in turn can lead to frustration. Take a moment and talk boundaries with those you share space with. This way, you can avoid petty fights and unnecessary stress.
Cassandra Carlsson is a coach and HR professional, passionate about human beings and the amazing things they are capable of, once they set their minds to it. For more information on her work and writings, visit cassandracarlsson.com.