8 tips for staying sane when working from home during coronavirus
Working from home was the dream of many employees, long before the coronavirus hit. If you were lucky enough to be in a job which could be done from the comfort of your own home, then it was up to you to prove to your employer that you would be productive enough to warrant this luxury, even if it was just for one day per week.
Having that freedom to get up later, stay in your pyjamas, eat breakfast in bed and work from your laptop with Netflix in the background sounds like work heaven! However, that’s great if it’s a luxury you can enjoy once a week but working from home every day requires some adjustment.
The coronavirus has made working from home a necessity for most businesses, rather than a benefit for select employees. But how do you stay productive when working from home? Having Netflix on all the time is only going to be a distraction and making Zoom calls in your pyjamas is not going to look very professional!
This article provides 8 tips for staying productive when working from home during the coronavirus. How many of these do you already do?
If you don’t have someone who checks what time you “sign on” to work each morning, then the likelihood is that you will be tempted to snooze and have a lie-in. This just creates a slippery slope as this is probably what you would normally do on the weekend. Start your workday as you normally would! Perhaps you do snooze your alarm a bit… we’re all guilty of it! But then you get up and get in the shower and perhaps put on some coffee. Whatever you usually do before you go to work, do the same thing at home – get yourself in a work mindset.
We’re not saying you should don a suit every morning, but dressing in sweats is not going to make you feel motivated, is it? Even if you put on jeans and a t-shirt, just make sure you look presentable enough that you could take a spontaneous work call from your boss/client and not be embarrassed!
That goes the same for your hair/make-up. Ladies; we’re not encouraging you to go full-faced makeup while on lockdown, because that’s a little silly! But men and women alike should get “ready” as they would if they were going out in public. It’s all about feeling confident enough to tackle the day.
Productivity planners saw a huge rise in popularity in 2018/2019, but it makes even more sense to use them now that you’re working from home and need to stay organised. Check out our favourite productivity planners if you’re not sure which one works for you!
We like to start the day with a solid to-do list; one that’s not too ambitious but pushes us to get things done. Always start off with your most important task that must be completed today – we learnt this trick from The One Thing, an amazing book by Gary Keller, that we recommend as one of our Top 10 books to read during lockdown.
As you work through your tasks, physically cross them off, or highlight them – it gives you a strange feeling of satisfaction and aids productivity!
Where you work is hugely important for productivity – yes, that means that your bed is not an appropriate place to work. Not only is it not great for your posture, but it’s very tempting to just “take a nap” … and we all know how that turns out!
If your bedroom is the only choice you have to work, then try to work at a table, at least. Failing that, there are some great laptop tables you can get for working on your bed!
Wherever you work, try to recreate a similar environment to what you would normally be used to at work. So, make sure you’re not going to be easily disturbed and that you have access to chargers, so your laptop doesn’t suddenly die. Getting a plant is a very popular choice for those trying to create a home office vibe.
It’s really easy to just work through the day because you’re at home and comfortable. Take regular breaks and walk away from your computer screen or your phone. Go into a different room and watch some TV or read a book, even for a few minutes. It’s healthy to do this every few hours.
Try to take an actual “lunch break” – make yourself some lunch and sit down away from your computer to enjoy it. If you normally go out for lunch, perhaps go for a walk after you’ve eaten. If you normally eat lunch with colleagues, ask them to jump on FaceTime and you can enjoy your lunch together and gossip as normal!
Communication is a huge part in staying productive when working from home. If you’re used to working in a team, you’re going to miss having them around you and things just won’t feel the same. You may not notice the productivity decrease, but it will. Try to schedule in regular meetings with teammates to brainstorm ideas and just check up on their progress and lend a helping hand. Even if you don’t have work stuff to talk about, check in with them and perhaps have them in the background while you’re each working so it feels more like the office!
This is especially important if you’re in complete isolation during this lockdown. It’s essential for your mental health to have contact with others, so do try to stay connected with as many people as you can. Schedule in regular video meetings with clients, colleagues and other contacts – even if you haven’t got a specific project to discuss, if you’re in regular contact, you’re at the forefront of their mind when opportunities come in!
It’s so easy to become a hermit when you’re working from home all the time, but you’ll end up getting cabin fever. Try to leave your home once a day for some fresh air, even if it’s just for a quick walk around the block. Clearing your head after a long stint on your computer will do you wonders.
Ideally, you want to get out each day to do a bit of exercise as this will also increase productivity. Granted, British weather is not the most predictable, but we seem to be blessed (or cursed… depending on how you look at it) with amazing weather during this lockdown.
When your home becomes your office too, it’s difficult to know where work starts/ends. If a client emails you at 9pm, you’re going to be tempted to reply since it feels so natural to do so now. This is how you end up blurring your home/work life. Try to down tools at a “normal” time and switch off and relax.
If you work in a different room, this should be easier to achieve. However, if your office is also your bedroom, it may be a little trickier. But perhaps put your laptop in a drawer and mute work notifications until the morning.
We know it’s a really difficult time at the moment for most people and so we want to do as much as we can to help. If there are any other tips you’d like, please do not hesitate to get in touch!
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What will you start “doing” and not ”talking about” next week?
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Today, we’re giving a big shoutout to all you amazing, strong people who have beaten the horrible C-word. No, we’re not talking about coronavirus… for once!
Today is Cancer Survivors’ Day.
So, to all you amazing people, stay strong and be happy.
A harsher way of putting “the early bird catches the worm”! But if there are opportunities out there, then you need to be on the ball to capture them. It’s even more important now as there will be less available.
Do you want the shell?
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