COVID-19, many workers are or will soon be transitioning to a work-from-home routine until the crisis subsides – and most will have to do so in fairly short order. Working from home presents its own set of challenges, and workers who are used to working in an office will need to adapt fast.
Fortunately, adapting is what human beings do. It’s in our nature to adjust to new circumstances. These five tips will make the process less overwhelming, and more manageable.
1) Get the Right Tools
COVID-19 is pretty scary, but at least we have the internet to keep us connected and entertained, and to allow most office workers to still bring in a paycheck. That’s great for your company’s business continuity, and it’s great for protecting your health and letting you do your part to flatten the curve. But you need the right tools in order to telecommute effectively.
The right remote working tools allow you to collaborate with your colleagues as easily as if you were still sitting right next to each other, and the best part is, they’re free. Tools like Google Drive allow you to work together on documents, and Skype enables group video calls. Your company may choose to implement the business versions of these tools, Google G Suite and Microsoft Teams, for enhanced functionality, but many companies stick with the free versions, since everyone has access to them and many workers use them and are familiar with them already.
You’ll also need some web security tools to protect your network and devices from hackers. While web security is always important, it’s even more so now that you’re using a company device at home. Look into a maximum internet security solution that protects both your work and home devices. You might be able to talk your company into paying for it.
2) Stick to Your Regular Workday Routine
While you’re working from home, maintaining your regular routine is important to staying motivated and accountable. This will be easier if your company requires you to clock in and out for your workday. Even if they don’t, it’s important to maintain your sleep schedule, wake up at the same time, and get ready in the same way. Showering, doing your hair, and putting on your office clothes will help you get into the frame of mind for work.
3) Set Aside a Dedicated Work Area
You need a place to work where you won’t be distracted by the kids’ failure to complete their online classes or your spouse’s aggressive mouse-clicking that gets more violent as he gets more stressed out. If you can, set up a space with a door that you can close to shut out distractions. If you don’t have the space for that, at least set up a temporary home office at the dining room table or at your writing desk, and experiment with using headphones to shut out distractions. Remember to mute yourself on group calls – the whole meeting doesn’t need to hear your kids wailing, “I’M BOOOORED!” in the background, even if they might be able to relate.
4) Take Your Breaks
Studies show that remote workers work more on average than those who come into the office, and you’re about to find out why. With no division between work and home, it’s easy to stay on the clock even after you’re, uh, off the clock. You could very well find that you have fewer distractions at home, with no coworkers moseying past your cubicle for a chat. Make sure you take your breaks, and when it’s quitting time for the day, quit for the day.
5) Combat Loneliness by Reaching Out to Friends and Family
One of the biggest drawbacks of working from home is the loneliness – especially if you don’t have family or friends living with you. You don’t really realize how much you rely on the casual social interaction you get with co-workers until it’s gone. Combat loneliness by reaching out to friends and family, either on the phone or by video chat, for long-distance social time every day.
Working from home takes some getting used to, but you can’t beat the commute! When you make a quick transition to telecommuting, there’s bound to be some hiccups, but it’s one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. Do your part to flatten the curve – take your work home.