post by Stephanie Nelson
With Coronavirus being ALL over the news lately, there’s a lot of talk about companies telling their employees to work from home to lessen the chances of the outbreak spreading. As I listen to these stories, I hear, “keep doing what you’ve been doing for the last 8+ years.” But not everyone’s so fortunate. If you’re new to not being in an office, here are a few of my tips for working from home.
- Work time is work time.
As tempting as it is to throw in a load of laundry, throw something for dinner in the crockpot, run to the bank, or otherwise “knock something out”, this isn’t a day off. If these are tasks you can do when you’d normally be taking a break at work (like, if you typically get up to stretch your legs around 10am), go for it. Use that leg stretch time. But if you’re going to stay productive, recognize your work patterns at the office and make them stick when you’re home.
- Background noise vs distractions.
When I started working from home, I found out FAST that the background noise my coworkers had created in the office was essential to my productivity. Working in the quiet drove me BONKERS. Music worked for a bit, but I found that I was paying too much attention to what was playing; it was more of a distraction than background noise. What works for me is to keep the tv on reruns of shows I’ve seen a gajillion times. I don’t feel the need to pay attention at all. (Oddly, this is also what helps me fall asleep.) I’m not advocating tv as your background noise by any stretch. It works for me, but you need to find what works for you. And if that’s absolute quiet, run with it! 🙂
- Take your lunch break.
I’m guilty of not following my own advice on this one. But when you work at home, eat at home, sleep at home – basically just stay at home – you’ve GOT to do some things to mix it up. Don’t just stare at your computer all day. If you’re not under quarantine, use your lunch break to actually take a break. Take a walk. Run out to grab a bite. Fit in a quick workout. During all of this, your safety and public safety is obviously a top priority, but if you’re not being forced to stay at home 100% of the time, your sanity will thank you later if you get away for even a few minutes.
- Have a dedicated workspace.
As much as working from bed in your pajamas sounds amazing, that’s not the way to do this. If working from home isn’t permanent for you, setting up an actual office may not be realistic. But have a place that you go to work, whether it’s a corner of the dining room table, a tv tray set up in front of your favorite chair, or some other “office-like” set up.
- Act like you’re going to work.
My guess is that you wouldn’t head into the office unshowered and unkempt. Don’t head into your temporary work quarters like that, either. You’re still going to work. Your location is different, but you’ll find yourself feeling and performing much better if you keep your morning routine in tact.
I know several of my friends and cohorts are in the “now working from home” club. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, for any of you reading this, I hope you stay safe. Wash your hands. Keep your distance (around 3 to 5 feet) from others. Limit your exposure to crowds. We’ll all make it through this together! (Well…figuratively. ha ha ha)Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay