Shifting to the ‘home office’ is the new normal for many of us while we try to flat the coronavirus infections curve, in the common effort to keep all of us safe.
You could choose to stay in your pajamas until noon for a day or two, watch movies, read that book you wanted to finish for a while, cook more meals than ever, or feed yourself with too many breaking news or in-depth analyses on coronavirus… or you can find your way out and start working from home in a very productive manner.
Whether you are a newbie or a work-from-home veteran, here is what we recommend you do to stay productive.
Take it seriously, like your manager or team members would be in your living room
Just because you could lounge around in your pajamas or sweatpants, it does not mean you actually should. Keep the routine you had before, take a shower and dress for work. It does not mean you need to wear a tie, but you should feel that you got prepared and you are ready to start the work!
Set a separate workspace
It would be great if we all had a separate room at home for work, but it is not always possible. However, set an area that can mentally prepare you for the work mode, such as a small desk or a table you can dedicate for work these days. Ideally, for your own sane, try not to mix the relaxing space, like your bedroom or your sofa, with the workspace. For instance, working from your bed too often will negatively affect your sleep in time.
Inform your family or life partner when you are working
Your spouse or life partner or your kids should learn your work routine and respect it. They should know when you are available and not available to them. If you have to share the same room, make sure you buy some noise-canceling headphones. These will also signal the others that you are not to be disturbed or lured into conversations.
Develop a work routine
As you do not have to travel back and forth to your office, your brain needs to learn your new habits to get in the work mode. So, maybe you could start your work immediately after your morning coffee, and end your tasks with some exercises. In this way, you set some psychological borders that let you get in and out of the work mode, and help you to easily disconnect from all the job-related issues. Definitely, plan some break for stretching legs, relaxing your eyes and having some lunch.
Stay in constant communication with your manager and colleagues
Ask for an every day short call with your manager to kick off the day, make the plans with your team and fully understand your tasks. Also, try to keep the same level of communication you had with your colleagues by moving the conversations online. This will help you to stay motivated, fix the urgent things, clarify tasks, but most importantly it will make you feel connected and never alone.
Don’t hesitate to try out new channels of communication. If you were using so far only emails, now it is the time to try out new apps and productivity tools, such as Slack for professional chats and organizing work, Zoom or Google Hangouts for meetings, Google Drive and Google Suite to share files and folders.
Do not exaggerate with the news consumption especially during work time
We have prepared for you a guide on how to manage your news consumption in times of crisis. Read it, and stay away from too many breaking news. Not only that they will constantly interrupt your workflow, but they will also make you feel more anxious and probably even more isolated.
“You’ll never walk alone”
Connect with your colleagues and friends constantly. Try to sustain, as a team, a semblance of normalcy and friendship in unconventional ways. Go out for virtual pizzas or cocktails, play online games or watch movies together. We are incredibly lucky to be able to connect so easily with our friends and colleagues! Call them, write them… never walk alone!