With many of the world’s schools and businesses shifting to the “Work from Home” mentality due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been forced to redefine our regular workday. For some, the ability to work from home reduces commute stress, workplace politics, and social interruptions, which contribute to productivity rates skyrocketing. In a survey of 7,000 workers last year by FlexJobs, 65% said they’re more productive working from home. In an era where social distancing has become the new “norm,” working from home seems like the most effective way for employees to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. However, there are still many of us who are working from home for the first time. For these individuals, we have gathered valuable data and insights to help with productivity during these unfamiliar times.
1. Communication is Crucial – No matter what the circumstances are that have bound you to your home workstation, communication with your team and managers is a necessity to keeping yourself on track and your sanity intact! “Have really clear-set expectations for communications day today,” says Barbara Larson, a professor of management at Northeastern University in Boston who studies remote working. Communication can be effortless if you have the knowledge and tools at your disposal. Many companies today are using ZOOM meetings and other teleconferencing applications to engage with their colleagues. SKYPE is another valuable tool to assist you in tackling issues that need immediate responses. Aside from these facts, being away from your team can be lonely. Last year, a study of 2,500 remote workers by online brand development agency Buffer found that loneliness was the second-most reported challenge, one experienced by 19% of respondents. This is just another reason why leveraging the resources you have at your disposal is so important when working from home.
2. Be the King/Queen of Routine– At first, the idea of transitioning to working from home might add stress to your otherwise regular morning routine. To combat this, start your day like you would any other typical workday. Wake up, have coffee, exercise, do your hair or makeup, drive the kiddos to school or the bus stop. It may sound trivial, but putting on your regular work clothes and setting up a similar workspace at home helps us create the mentality that we are at work and allows us to function at the same capacity. It is also essential to work the same hours you usually would work if you were in the office. It is easy to work hours past your assigned business hours, but that can cause burn out and undue pressure.
3. Have a dedicated workspace – We understand that working from home was not something that you expected. The world went from calm to chaos in a matter of days, and here you are trying to figure out how you are going to work from home. This doesn’t have to be a complicated situation if you can adapt to your surroundings. Sitting in your pajamas in bed, hunched over a laptop is not the ideal way to slay that constantly growing task list. Not to mention, your body will only last so long in such an ergonomically inaccurate position. Find a quiet space, and make sure your family understands their boundaries while you are “at work.” Find a table and a comfortable chair and sit in an upright position, as if you were physically at your place of employment. Create an environment where you can maintain your professionalism and productivity.
4. Log in & Log out- Achieving the work-life balance at home can be a bit more difficult considering you don’t get to drive away at the end of the day. For many, working from home doesn’t just end at 5 pm every day, but instead bleeds into the twilight hours. Shutting your mind down when your computer is only an arm’s length away is sometimes the most challenging obstacle you will face all day. Natural habits must continue because you must shut your mind down and give your brain time to refresh for the new day. End your workday by winding down with follow up emails and setting up your calendar for the next day. Don’t forget before you logout to check in with your team to let them know you are getting ready to sign off. Once you have accomplished this, it should be much easier to wind down your mind and set your focus on your family life.
Adjusting to new and unknown situations can be difficult, but with proper guidance and resources, success is at your fingertips.