7 tips for working from home during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Not that long ago, working from home was what we all saw as the ultimate set-up. But faced with the reality, it can be very challenging for a lot of us. Balancing the new normal of social distancing while spending 8 hours a day in front of computer can be really draining. Add in kids if they are home now and you’ve got an even more challenging situation.
It’s important for all of us to have a period of adjustment while we work towards learning what this new normal means. For most people forced to work remotely, it came suddenly as a response to a world pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic is something that nobody living on this planet has ever experienced in their lifetime. It’s safe to say that most of us are going to be very distracted at the moment wondering if we’ll be able to access enough food for our families, keep our loved-ones safe, and whether or not our jobs are secure during this time.
Go easy on yourself as you take some time to adjust to this new arrangement and focus on controlling what you can by following these 7 tips for working from home:
1. Create a workspace
This can be a challenging one for a lot of people who don’t have the space to have a dedicated office in their home. Try and find a space that you can occupy everyday without needing to put your whole station away at the end of your workday. Try and find somewhere out of the way that will allow you to leave work at work – i.e. the table in the corner of your living room not the kitchen table. Don’t use your bed as your office and try to keep your bedroom for sleeping and relaxing, leaving work out of this space. If your children are home, try and get them on board that you are working and that your work area is not for play. Trust me – as a parent of a 2-year-old, I know this one is easier said than done!
Try to find a comfortable chair that you can spend the day sitting in or better yet, find a way to spend some of the day standing. If you can, use an iPad as a second screen to give yourself more space to work. Many of us are used to having a large monitor or multiple screens at work and it can be challenging to go down to a laptop screen. If you can set up multiple screens, do so.
2. Get ready for work
Don’t wake up 5 minutes before you need to start work. Allow yourself time to have a shower, make some breakfast, spend some time with your family or roommates and then start your workday. It’s very easy to spend the day in your pajamas – and there will be some days that you do. But try to get dressed and make yourself feel as if you could answer any video call that starts that day without needing to run and get changed or brush your hair.
3. Try and create a schedule for the day
Take breaks at the same time every day as you normally would at the office. Use that time to call a friend to check-in or make another cup of coffee! Encourage your colleagues to have remote coffee breaks where those who want to can connect on a zoom call for some social interaction once a day.
Try not to spend the day bouncing between tasks while trying to do housework. It can be very tempting to try and do it all while you are home but allocate some time at the end of the day to throw that load of laundry on so your work flow is not constantly being interrupted.
4. Take Lunch
It’s easy to feel like you need to be working constantly while at home – after all nobody is there to watch you; therefore you need to prove you are working. While we don’t advocate for not working, your mental health needs a break and your productivity will suffer without one. So, log out when you go to make your lunch and take 30 minutes to an hour to do something else. Walk your dog, play with your kids if they are home, or listen to a podcast. Remember if you were at work, you’d be taking lunch and probably a coffee break or two. Let’s not forget the water cooler chat that happens throughout the day when we all need a brain break.
5. Listen to music or the radio
It can be very quiet working from home – something most people aren’t used to, having spent their workdays in an office. Having some background noise can help you concentrate and feel like you are not working alone. If other people are home, put some headphones on and listen to whatever you like to help you get into the work zone. I personally love the playlist “Deep Focus” on Spotify for providing some background noise that isn’t too distracting.
6. When your workday is finished, turn it off
If you normally leave the office at 5pm, close your computer down at 5pm. Try and use a space to work that is out of the way so you don’t have to be constantly reminded of work during your time off. During this time, it’s important to set up boundaries between work time and your time at home because it is really easy to blend the two. Don’t get in the habit of checking emails after you have ‘left’ for the day or logging extra hours to finish a project in your evening because it is easy enough to do.
7. Spend time connecting in your spare time
Working alone and then being stuck in that space most of the time is challenging mentally. Take some time every day to call a friend or family member. This is unchartered territory for all us and we all are missing that social connection. Go for a walk with your family (if you live with them) and breathe in some fresh air at the end of the day. Chat with your neighbours when you see them while maintaining social distancing. For the first time in all of our lives, we are all experiencing the same fears and worries, and it is immensely helpful to talk about them. Take care of your mental health during this time and rest easy knowing we will get through this.
Has your business been affected by COVID-19?
At Unicycle Digital, we want to help small businesses get their products online so that they can safely accept payment and offer delivery or pick-up services for their customers. We have solutions for many different types of businesses and can work quickly to move your business online so you can continue to reach your customers. You can also shoot us a message or give us a call at 778-762-4481. We’re here to help!