Thanks to COVID-19 we’re all settling into a somewhat unsettling new normal. Fortunately, a lot of us are doing so from the comfort of our own homes. As stronger “social distancing” and “shelter-in place” recommendations from health experts come down the pipeline, more and more people are being asked to work remotely. It has given a whole new meaning to “work-life-balance.”
Without a clear delineation between your personal and professional spheres, your productivity and your sanity, are at stake. We hate to burst your bubble, but working from home isn’t all sleeping through your normal commute, never missing a delivery and enjoying copious pet snuggles. Ok, it’s definitely some of that too, but it’s only one piece of the pie.
Working from home requires an allegiance to boundaries (and snacks – naturally). Do it long enough and you’re bound to feel the dull ache of loneliness, the constant pangs of distraction or both. All that said, get yourself set up for success and the time you spend telecommuting could be your most productive yet.
1. Supply Smart
2. Stay social.
Sound counterproductive? Hear us out. We know what all work and no play can do to a person. Humans are built for social interaction, even if your employer usually frowns at too much water cooler chat. Without the ability to directly interact with people, It’s critical you make time to connect on Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Facetime or even phone colleagues and loved ones. One Idea? Set up virtual coffee chats with coworkers to start out your week. We’re so fortunate to have the tools to connect, especially in times of uncertainty. Take Advantage.
3. Get outside!
Not only is sitting the new smoking, but nature is a huge productivity booster. Studies show that taking a short walk outside has a positive impact on your concentration, memory and creativity. So make some time each day to stretch, move and get some fresh air. Because you’ll never get in your recommended 10,000 steps a day just going from kitchen to couch.
4. Treat video meetings like in-person meetings.
We get it. Part of the joys of working from home is the ability to shamelessly parade around in PJs. But you still want to dress for success – even if the only one who sees you is your cat. Making the switch each morning is essential for helping you transition from sleep mode to work mode. When in doubt, remember the three Fs: fresh clothes, fresh face and fresh breath, every day. While you’re at it, find a fun (or at least clean!) background that won’t distract in case you do get that surprise video call from your boss.
And, hey, if business casual eventually becomes a work from home mullet (business on top, sweat pants party on bottom), at least you made an effort.
5. Leave work at work
(even when you’re not at work)
Quitting time may be the biggest boundary of all. Simply put: Log off when the day is done, and treat WFH hours like normal business hours. This may mean silencing your chats, turning off email notifications or putting your laptop in a time lock safe until morning. We joke, but for your well-being give yourself some time to decompress after work and take your stated office hours seriously.
Don’t get it twisted. Working from home is absolutely a luxury; a luxury many in our communities don’t have. For essential businesses like hospitals and grocers it’s business as usual (read: frontline exposure). Too many others are staring down the bread line – a heartbreaking reminder of how lucky teleworkers are. Your telecommuting days will eventually be numbered. But these tips will help you stay focused and balanced, no matter how long we’re weathering the storm.