How to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak? The coronavirus continues to spread and not only some of the world’s biggest businesses, but even small companies, asked their employees to work from home. For many this is something quite new and could be an additional stress, especially with the closing of schools. In a situation where the whole family is at home, kids are doing their lessons and homework online and parents need to do their work, well, it could be a real challenge.
What can you do to keep the normal life of the family and at the same time cope with your working activities and tasks? Many people struggle to stay focused in this situation. Let’s not forget that the goal is to stay healthy, sane and productive! Here are some practical and useful tips that will help you!
Working from home sounds like an unexpected vacation. Is it, really? In theory, you save commute time which will allow you to have an hour more sleep, for example, and be more productive. The amount of the daily workload will depend on your position, the business and policy of the company, etc. but be sure that this is not a vacation at all. How to get organized? Can you ignore your children? What about lunch and shopping? Let’s start from the basic rules.
Organize a workspace
One of the first things that you need to do is to organize your workspace at home. If you have a special area, i. e. a home office, this is perfect. But even if you do not have a separate home office room, you need to decide where your “work-from-home-office-desk” will be located. It could be the kitchen table, dining table or any other place where you can sit comfortably. Make sure that there is no TV, children’s toys or a bed around your working area. This will allow you to distinguish the place where you sleep and relax, and the area where you work.
Set a strict schedule
Work from home does not always mean less work than in the office. You will have to set a strict schedule. When you wake up, get ready for work. No one talks about strict office dress code, business suits or high-heel shoes. But if you stay in your pajamas, you can hardly get into mood for work. Try to dress in comfortable clothes which will allow you to answer a video call. Jeans and a long sleeve sweater or a shirt is ok.
Distinguish your personal life and work
Imagine that you are actually in the office. Do not get distracted no matter how great the temptation. Even if you notice a spot on the table or on the curtains, do not jump to clean it. You will do this after the end of the working day.
Fighting distractions at home can be harder than in the office. For example, no one will see that you are actually watching a video on YouTube instead of writing a report. If you feel that some activity is preventing you from being productive, make sure you ignore it. Disable social media notifications, do not switch on TV, etc. If necessary, write down a to-do list.
One of the major drawbacks of working from home is that for all possible distractions, there is no way to get distracted for a few minutes and take a break. In the office you can do this while you go for a cup of coffee, for example. Still try to take small breaks – go out to breathe on the balcony, walk with the dog, take a half-hour run. Try to take a break once every hour.
Communicate with colleagues, superiors and clients
When you are working as part of a team you need to be aware of the company’s affairs and understand how things are with general projects. For those who work from home, this can be difficult. There is no problem to call your colleagues and discuss some questions. It saves time and decision making is faster. The same applies for the communication with clients. A phone call or a video chat is very convenient.
Think about nutrition
Another important point that you should think about when you work from home is nutrition. Everyone who stayed in their apartment for a whole day at least once knows how tempting it is to constantly stop work and look again in the refrigerator. To limit the number “visits” to the refrigerator, you can try to set an alarm clock or set reminders on your smartphone that it is time to take a break for lunch or for a snack. This is better than eating directly at the computer.
Do not try multitasking
Deal with household chores later. Many people think that working from home will help them to do twice as much – to complete work tasks, and at the same time to do household chores. However, it doesn’t work this way. If you are trying to solve a serious issue or write e report, for example, your household chores will only be distracting – at least because you won’t be able to focus on one thing. Of course, if your workload allows, you can try to find a balance, for example, consider a project while loading a washing machine. The main thing that you need to remember is that during working hours it is work that must remain a priority and that it is impossible to cope and manage everything at once.
Working at home is based on balancing. Planning, arrangements, flexibility, perseverance and silence will help you successfully move along the blurred line between home and work.