How to work from home and still stay productive during the pandemic.
Okay everyone, your assignment this month, maybe next month, and who knows for how long, is to work from home to avoid spreading the Coronavirus. Sound familiar?
Thanks to technology, we can now work from home as long as we have a good Internet connection. But it takes far more than large data transfer, cloud access, and backup servers. It takes commitment, willpower, focus, and planning.
Since our humble beginnings as website designers in 1995, we’ve worked from home. Excuse me for sounding a bit too much like Farmer’s Insurance, but “we’ve seen a thing or two” so we know what we’re talking about. Working from home is convenient and saves a ton of gasoline and lunch money, but it has its challenges. With most of our friends and clients also working from home this month, we thought we’d share our wisdom with other suffering souls of social distancing.
If you are working from home:
- Stay close to a routine
Remember how you’d wake up, put on the coffee, shower, dress, then grab a mug for the drive to the office? By the time you got to your desk you were ready to work. At home, use a similar routine but in lieu of the commute, take 15-minutes to check the news online and respond to business emails. Handle personal texts and emails during a mid-morning 15-minute break or at lunchtime.
- Look good to yourself
Leave the nightwear in the bedroom. Puffy pants are OK, but only the nice puffy pants, with a coordinated shirt. Better yet, wear comfy pants that you wouldn’t mind wearing in mixed company outside of the house. We feel like we look; look sharp, feel sharp. Shower, shave and brush your teeth and hair.
- Work like your boss is watching
Without the daily structure of scheduled meetings and routine tasks, it’s important to keep a list of tasks (when you check them off as complete, it feels good) and learn how to shift gears between work and personal. Create white noise with your favorite music, but except at noon or in the case of a national emergency, leave the television off.
- Create a work space
Avoid any work space that closely resembles a couch, La-Z-Boy® chair, pool float, or kitchen stool — places you associate with leisure time. There’s something about “down time” seating that makes eyelids start to close. If you don’t have a home office or desk of some sort, designate a specific room or surface in your home from which to work.
- Set boundaries
Unless your job is working for yourself, your company, or others’ social media platforms, it’s best to stay away except during short scheduled breaks in the day. Creating boundaries for the easy things makes it easier to focus on the more difficult tasks that may lay ahead.
At the end of the day, log off from your laptop and say “I’m done!” Saying it out aloud signals to your brain that it’s the end of the day, time to stop thinking about work. Once you commit to the workday’s end, the stress will drain away. It’s common that a relaxed mind will discover solutions to nagging problems, and fresh creative ideas form out of nowhere. Jot it down. Go play.