With the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus, many companies are implementing mandatory work from home policies. Others are opting to stay home themselves to minimize the potential of getting sick or exposing others. Working from home can be fantastic but it can also turn sour quickly if you aren't taking the right approach. Most companies offer a guideline of some sort to working remotely, but if they don't, we've got you covered!
So how should I approach working from home?
To put it simply, working from home should be almost no different from going into the office. However, this doesn't mean you need to be uncomfortable. Here are some easy tips to stay motivated, productive, and happiest when remote.
1. Get Dressed and Have Breakfast
This doesn't mean put on the normal business attire, usually. Casual attire is generally fine when working remotely. Just be sure if you have video meetings that your top is appropriate. Working in PJs can make you feel more relaxed in the beginning, but over time your motivation can decline. You also don't need to cook a four-course meal but even just making eggs and toast will help you start to feel productive immediately.
2. Create a Work Environment Separate from Living Areas
It can be tempting to work from the couch or even the bed. It is important that there is an area dedicated solely to work so you can properly focus. This will also help contain the stress of work so you can enjoy the rest of your home and relax easily. The dining table is not a workspace. If you have limited room you can buy a cheap, small desk and place it in the corner. We recommend keeping the desk out of the bedroom but if space is limited, identify a corner that any distractions can be blocked out.
3. Keep Distractions Limited
We don't do our laundry at work or watch movies so why would we do that when we work from home? The temptation will always be there but we need to remember that working from home is still working. We need to ensure we are keeping similar, if not the same, routines as we do at work.
4. Work Outside the Home
Working outside on your patio, coffee shop, or your local bookstore can help with the cabin fever. We recommend doing so for at least a few hours per week.
Err on the side of over-communication to help with transparency and to avoid silos and isolation. Make sure your calendar is up to date and if you need to be away and won’t be able to respond to messages for a few hours, let your team know. Be sure to update your Slack status or whichever messaging app your teams use. We recommend daily check-ins or every other day check-ins to ensure we stay connected while being remote. Whether that’s Slack/ message check-in or video call check-in, it is important to stay connected!
6. Prevent Burnout, Isolation, and Anxiety
Take a "mental health" day to lower your stress (spend time outdoors, get a massage, get some exercise). Know when to take a break and if you are prone to forgetting, put a break reminder on your computer or calendar. It's easy to get sucked into work. Be sure to switch off when you're away from work and don't go straight to work after you wake up. Turn off notifications if you are on a break or lunch. Keep your team accountable; when you notice someone should be asleep, tell them! Schedule random coffee breaks or even meet up with a coworker that lives nearby for meetings or lunch.
7. Do All Your Normal After Work Activities and Implement Something New
Tidy up, watch all those movies and TV shows you've put off, develop an exercise routine, take up a new hobby! Being creative, exercising, or engaging in an interesting show or movie can help you switch off of work mode.
While these work from home policies might be scary at the moment, this can be great for workplaces that are less progressive to start making progress. Having the option to work from home and flexibility can greatly improve workplace culture and increase employee satisfaction.
How do you feel about working from home? Do you have any additional ideas on how to maintain a successful work environment? Leave us a comment!