In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, working from home is the new reality for millions of US workers. Many companies are implementing voluntary or mandatory work-from-home policies, which means a lot of us are facing with an unusual challenge of working remotely for the first time and full-time.
Surely this era is different from working home for a day or two. Working from home due to coronavirus outbreak is unforeseen and could be extended for a certain period of time. You cannot easily go out and socialize in person, and are limited only to essential activities. According to Business Insider, some of the biggest challenges of remote workers include struggling with loneliness, managing their time, and communication among colleagues.
I do too, had a difficult time transitioning myself to work from home for a few weeks. Then, I came across with these tips to improve my WFH experience to stay productive and healthy while working remotely:
1. Get Dressed
Dress like you are at work, or at least from your pajama, helps even if you won’t be interacting with another person all day. By dressing up, your brain knows that it’s work time, and prepare yourself to focus effectively.
2. Designate a Home Office
It is very tempting to work from relaxed environment at home, but this could take a huge penalty on your productivity. With a designated separated workspace, you will be more alert, more confident, and more organized.
3. Keep Defined Working Hours
Just as you designate and separate your physical workspace, it is important to distinguish when you are working and when you are not. This is the important step to ensuring productivity while working from home. Setting yourself consistent hours keep you accountable and productive. Moreover, it is your best practice to keep your regular hours on the same schedule as your coworkers if your roll is collaborative.
4. Communicate and Stay in the Loop
Communication is especially important if you and your team have to go fully remote. Regularly communicate with your team when you convey any changes or new assignments to one another. If you encounter unique challenges as you try to do your job remotely, reach out to your team for your help.
5. Set Your Goals
Before you start working, a little habit of planning your work day will help your productivity up. Check what your priorities are for the day, how long you think it will take you to get everything done, and what you will work on if you have extra time.
For an example, here are the breakdowns of my new working-from-home routine:
Wake up, do some morning stretching, have a light breakfast, and dress up. About ten minutes before working, I jog down my plans for the day.
9:00AM – 12:00PM
Work, work, work! I have separated my workspace from any distraction in my house. For example, when I’m near my refrigerator, I tend to open and close the door repeatedly staying hungry. My home office is the farthest from the kitchen.
12:00PM – 1:00PM
Prepare and have a lunch, and take a short stroll around my apartment complex. I use this time to check my mail box.
1:00PM – 6:00PM
Work, work, work! Based on a short personal analysis, I am much focused between 2PM to 6PM. Every hour or so, I take few minutes to stretch my body and to look out the window so that I could rest my eyes for a bit away from the computer screen.
Following this routine helps me to stay more productive while I can keep practice healthy social distancing life.