We all have those “I wish I could stay home and wear my pajama pants instead of going to work” days. Enter the Coronavirus or COVID-19 and your “work from home” days come true.
With health and wellness in mind, companies across the globe are sending employees home to work.
So we polled our blog team and put together these tips for coping at home without your fav office buds.
1. Confirm the preferred method of communication that’s appropriate for your team.
First of all, follow the protocol set by your company and your boss. If your company tells you to work from home, do it. If your company tells you otherwise, follow their instructions.
“Work with your team to figure out the best ways to replicate the kind of communication you have in the office. Will you be better served by staying in touch via Slack throughout the day, sticking with emails, or having Skype or Zoom check-ins once a week?”
2. Work in a room with a door you can close.
Not everyone has an in-home office. If other people (or four-legged friends) are in the home with you, set up a temporary workspace in a room where you can close the door.
“Besides helping to shut out background noise when you’re on conference calls, closing the door – at least during meetings and when you really need to focus – is a visual cue to kids and other people living with you that you shouldn’t be interrupted.”
“If working from home is new to you, you may not have a spare room you can suddenly turn into an office. Resist the temptation to work from bed or the couch. As the saying goes about not mixing work and play, you don’t want to mix work and sleep. Working from bed creates a dangerous association in the mind of your bed as a place of stress and activity, instead of sleep and relaxation.”
3. Got kids at home? Plan a daily schedule to keep those cuties busy.
If you’re on your own juggling work and kids, give yourself permission to plop the kids in front of a movie when you’re working on your most high-value tasks.
“Don’t feel guilty over emergency screen time. Kids are resilient. This is an unusual situation, and the fact that you’re balancing remote work and childcare on the fly makes you the parent of the year!”
Plan activities for the day to keep kids entertained while they are at home. Make a run to the local drugstore or dollar store for coloring books and crayons or other age-appropriate activities. Plan out a simple schedule for your children to follow, and schedule quiet activities – like a movie – during your high visibility meetings.
4. Keep pets out of your workspace during conference calls and video meetings.
“It’s easy to forget how disruptive pets can be until Fido starts barking like a maniac during a client phone call. Hand out chew toys during calls and conferences to buy their silence if you need to.”
“My dog is really distracted by me being home. I’m waking up early to take her for walks and wear her out.”
5: Take breaks & get some physical activity.
It’s natural to get up and move around the office. But you may find yourself getting up from the laptop less now that you’re working from home. A little prancercise, anyone?
“Consider exercise videos or going for a walk if your neighborhood allows you to keep a safe distance from people. Also, exercise is good for productivity and energy, so don’t feel guilty about making time for it.”
“A quick walk with your dog or listening to music or a podcast, are great ways to free the mind and help you context-switch between projects. During this time of social distancing, you might use your break to call and check in on a friend. Just limit your breaks to 20 to 30 minutes, tops. Otherwise, it’s too easy to fall into Netflix mode.”