As the COVID-19 pandemic persists globally, and impacts everything from travel, getting groceries, to the availability of hand sanitizers. That’s why most employees have been mandated to work from home as social distancing measures have been implemented to stop the spread of the viral disease.
While many have fantasized about working from home, the reality has notably proved challenging for the vast majority of workers forced to do so. After having spent more than a few weeks working from home, it’s the small things we start to miss about are typical work routine. Like getting that morning coffee from your artisan coffee shop, the ergonomic desk at work, your regular lunch-time trip to the gym and it may sound silly the commute into work – those who drive, miss the alone time and solace of the commute.
Working from home may not necessarily be the greatest thing in the world, but it has its benefits and we’ve come up with a few handy tips to cope with the new normal:
1. Set a “home-made” work routine
If you are a diligent planner working from home may prove challenging, sure, you get to stay home, but it can be harder to focus on actually working. Whether it’s a pile of magazines, that suddenly looks more appealing than your bosses’ to-do list, or a quick three-hour binge of your favourite Netflix show you’ve been dying to watch, staying productive at home can take a little extra effort. This is why its important to create ahome-made work routineto get you through the day and at your productive best.
Firstly, be realistic about your surroundings, don’t treat working from home the same way you treat your 9-5 –it will drive you crazy. Set work hours that match the reality of your situation. The beauty of working from home is that you can be flexible in setting your working hours. For example, if you are most productive in the morning, or if you have kids that need home schooling you may want to set your work hours from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Secondly, every morning write down your work to do list and a set of accomplishments you want to achieve. This will give you focus to zoom through your tasks. Finally set a limit for your work day – many confess that they work far longer working from home than in the office, so it’s important to distance yourself from work, so you don’t work nonstop.
2. Set up a dedicated workplace
Working from bed is a great temptation, but it may not be the most productive place to get your work done. Its important to set up a personal workspace that has the least distractions, preferably out of sight of a television, bed and fridge. Regardless of space or location, establish an area of your home where you will work, make it as comfortable as possible and commit to working in this space every day. Be sure your workspace is quiet so you can focus on the task at hand.
Some of us may not have this luxury especially when it comes to space. If you're living with other people, chances are, they're being forced to work from home as well. That means you have to fight for your own little space to work in.
3. Move around
The Pomodoro technique by Francesco Cirillo is a great tip to attain physical wellness and productivity at work, even from home. The Pomodoro timer is a 25-minute length continuous working period, associated with a 5-minute break right after. During the 5-minute break, a myriad of short activities can be done. Regularly stretching and moving helps you maintain great posture. At a minimum, stretch throughout the day so you don’t get sore or hinder your quality of life anything that gets you to move around is good, so don’t forget to set a timer every 25 minutes to remind you to move around with the Pomodoro technique.
4. Eat healthy
Working from home can lead to a greater impulse to raid the fridge or cupboard with all your favourite snacks, such as, chips, cookies or that leftover cheesecake. When we work in the office, we are at the mercy of whatever is available in the pantry or the options in the malls for lunch.
To avoid the inevitable weight gain from snacking. Stock up on fresh and healthy food. Plan your meals ahead with your family, include them in your weekly work-from-home schedule, and consider a few food deliveries in between. With your upcoming meals planned, you will also be able to plan your grocery shopping capacity and necessities ahead. Set fixed meal timings to avoid unnecessary munching during work, and set a note to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
5. Listen to Music
While many of us need complete silence in order to work productively, putting on the right type of music may help you reach the finish line. Numerous studies have shown that listening to music improves productivity and creativity, some refer to it as the Mozart effect: that is, listening to music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as "spatial-temporal reasoning"
Suggestion: create a playlist of your favourite music, whether its Mozart, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé or a jazz compilation use it as soothing background music. The music serves as a healthy distraction for when you are slogging through paperwork. So, if you see your inbox is chalked full with new emails, by all means, crank it to 11.
We do not know when the pandemic will end, but working from home is a reality for all of us now. Give yourself some time to adapt, and soon you will be finding yourself hurdling through this transition and making the most out of a difficult situation. Take care and stay safe!
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half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women connecting you to career opportunities at companies that care. Providing you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the rapidly changing workplace.