As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change, many employees are adjusting to working from home. For some, it’s a welcome change. For others, it’s a challenge. With anything new, there are growing pains and learning curves. Adapting to working at home is no exception.
We compiled some ideas and resources to help ease the transition.
Create a routine
If you usually wake up, brew coffee, take a shower, and go to work – keep the same pattern. Each person’s work from home routine might differ from their usual working routine. That’s OK. It’s important to find what works for you and stick to it. Here’s a Fast Company article on the benefits of daily routines.
There are many memes and jokes circulating the internet about how working from home means messy hair and sweatpants. Though it’s true that most people are probably not wearing a suit at home, that doesn’t mean that all personal care and hygiene habits take a hiatus. Additionally, the physical act of changing from pajamas to other clothes – even if the other clothes are equally comfortable – can signal to your brain that it’s time for work. There are several opinions on how best to dress when working at home. This TODAY Style article shares some input from stylists and psychologists.
Make your bed
Leaders have long sung the praises of making your bed every morning. As the Huffington Post states, this small habit can lead to other productive habits. Making the bed has been linked to happiness and positivity. We’ll add to that – especially when working from home with many more opportunities to see your bed than usual, looking at a tidy bed is better than a messy one.
Set specific working hours
To hold yourself accountable to yourself and your colleagues, keep regular office hours like you would if you were in the office. This will help you avoid the temptation to get “productively distracted” and clean your kitchen and fold the laundry when you have a project to finish. It will also help you to set boundaries between your home life and work life.
Even though you may have an office in your home, your home is not your office. Just because you’re home and so is your work, doesn’t mean you have to work 24/7. Consider learning a new skill or hobby in your free time (here and here are two blogs with tips), so you don’t work yourself too hard.
Get outside daily
It’s one of the most beautiful seasons to be outside in Arizona. Before the heat of summer comes for us, enjoy your outdoor time as much as possible. This Business Insider article cites improved memory, reduced inflammation, less stress, eliminated fatigue, improved ability to focus, and more as possible results of spending time outside. So do something that works for you – whether it’s a walk before sitting down to work, a lunch break fitness class, or an evening run.
Use video call when possible
Many times, you can choose to participate in a conference call with audio or audio plus video. It can be tempting to use the “audio only” function (we’ve all been there), but the video function adds a personal and human connection that you don’t get if you cannot see your colleagues. While working from home, we don’t get the “water cooler” conversations, the serendipitous hallway chats, or the cubicle catch-ups. While we practice physical social distancing, we must look for new ways to create social connection from afar.
Whether it’s a digital calendar or task list, a physical to-do list, or another system, keep track of your goals and accomplishments. Plan your day ahead of time, and time block your calendar with the projects you’re working on. You may get interrupted, but you can get back on track knowing what you set that period of time to do.
For many of us, it’s easy to check off a task and move on to the next one. But try to note what you accomplished, not just what you have left to do. When you come out of quarantine, you will have something tangible to be proud of (not to mention, a regular sense of accomplishment while you’re working from home).
Support fellow local businesses
On your lunch break, consider getting curbside pickup from a local restaurant. Or order coffee to go from your local coffee shop. Check out our blog on supporting local businesses while social distancing here.