6 Tips for Working From Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic
These days, we’re dealing with new challenges every day. A new one for many: working from home.
If you’re like many people during this time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, you may have the option to telework. For those who can’t, especially people working paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet, we hope our lawmakers quickly provide extensive relief and protections for workers’ health and financial well-beings.
But if you can work from home, we know that it’s not always easy, especially if you’ve never done it before. There are the regular distractions like the pile of laundry or managing child care. There can also be problems with staying productive and keeping your motivation.
Here are 6 tips to make your working from home a little easier during these times.
To get dressed or not?
Oft-repeated advice from the work-from-home crowd is to get dressed for the day when you telework. The argument goes like this: Putting on clothes similar to what you’d normally wear to the office sets the tone for the day, helps keep you focused and connects you to your work.
On the other hand, these are stressful times. Your mental health is important. Wearing your favorite sweats or leggings can be comforting, and your boss will probably never know. But it might be a good idea to put on a good top if you have a video conference. Some of us here at CREDO enjoy a “casual Friday” feel for our work-from-home outfits. It helps us stay in control of our daily routine while still remaining comfortable.
Keep a morning routine
We think there’s a lot of benefit to keeping your morning routine as we transition to a new and uncertain lifestyle. Take a shower, brush your teeth, have breakfast and your morning coffee or tea. Taking time to take care of yourself can help you feel better and more productive for the day.
Designate a separate work space
Trust us, it will be tempting to stay in bed with your laptop all day. But don’t fall into the trap. You’re bound to be less productive.
Just like getting ready for the day, having a dedicated space for your work day will help keep your home and work lives a little more separate. You don’t need a whole room; a dedicated space in a small apartment works just fine. If you have a desk, you’re already there. If not, a table or another surface works great. If you can’t find a quiet space, try sitting in your car to do some work.
Treat your work space the way you might treat your space in your physical office. Ensure that your family members or roommates are aware of your working area and should respect it.
Keep regular hours
When you’re working from home, having structure in your day is important, and that includes the working hours you keep.
If you normally had regular office hours, try to keep them. Again, remind the people you live with that when you’re working, you’re “on,” and that you’ll let them know, pending emergencies, when you’re “off.”
Balancing family care
If you have children or other family members that you care for, many of the tips above may not apply. Many child care facilities are closed. Districts across the country have shuttered schools for the foreseeable future. Yet, some schools still require distance learning, and you may need time during the day to homeschool. If you care for a loved one with a disability or health issue, you may not have additional home care help at this time.
We understand this is going to be a difficult time. Be upfront with your employer, human resources department and your coworkers about your situation. Likely you’re not the only employee confronted with this circumstance. Get creative with your schedule as much as you can. If you have a partner or others at home, try to work out a split schedule to balance the family care needs. Here are some additional tips from The Muse.
Remember to take breaks
This is a stressful time. It’s important for your mental health to schedule breaks during the day, if you are able to. Take your lunch away from your work space. Walk outside for some fresh air, if it’s safe, and practice social distancing. Use this time to connect with friends and family on your phone via FaceTime or other cross-platform app. This TechCrunch article offers some advice on the best video chat apps.