COVID-19 or the Coronavirus has forced every single one of us into our homes for the past couple of weeks as schools, businesses, and offices have shut down, causing millions of people to work from home. And, in this time, most of us have discovered not only what it is like to be home with our family around but also how challenging it is to work and stay productive in this environment.
This sudden change in the way most offices and businesses work has compelled not only the business to look at things with a new perspective, but the office-goers to have been presented with this challenge to figure out and adapt to this working environment.
1. Designate A Workspace
Your designated workspace is your home office; it could be your study room or a table at one corner of your home. This is the space that you will be spending the majority of your time when you are working from home, and there are a few things that you might want to keep in mind when you are selecting this space for you.
When we say create a work station for yourself, at your home, we do not mean to take your laptop and plop onto your bed. Although it sounds tempting, this is not the way to go. While choosing or creating that perfect space, you need to make sure that space has a proper desk and a chair with lumbar support available. Given that you will be spending over one-third of your day sitting on that chair, you want it to be comfortable, and it should be a chair in which you would actually want to sit down and get things done without causing serious back issues at the end of the day.
Another thing that cannot be overlooked is lighting. A space with abundant natural lighting would be best, but if natural lighting is not available or you feel that the glare is distracting you from your work, then you can always use your house lights and maybe some additional lamps too. In addition to these two points, always make sure that space has a good internet connection and access to drinking water and a restroom. Also, giving the space a more personal touch like adding plants, pictures, motivational quotes, and preparing a playlist to keep to motivated to work and set you in the mood to work can help the creative juices flowing.
2. Communicating about your work objective with your housemates - family, roommates, etc.
If you live with your family or your roommates, then it is extremely necessary that you communicate with them what you are trying to do here and how they can help you be more productive—asking them to respect your working hours and not to disturb you while your work is always appreciated than telling them to stay out of your space.
If you have young children at home during this time, then talk to them, figure out ways you can keep them busy too while you are doing your work and for example, asking them to write poems or draw something that they can present to the whole family during dinner. We understand that while you are at home, especially during this panic-driven time, you want to make the most of this situation and also spend quality time with your family. Involving them in the process up to some extent, can help you be a productive worker as well as an involved family member/ parent.
3. Establish a Routine
Now you are not traveling to the other side of the city for work; you are walking hardly 100 steps from your bed to reach your workstation. Believe it or not, the former made it easier for you to feel ready and focus on your work, unlike the later, which might be extremely jarring for some because without a routine in place, you would literally be plopping from your pillow to your chair.
This does not give you the time to adjust yourself in the mind space, which makes you ready for work. So, establishing a routine, or making a to-do list for yourself to slowly transition from bed head to super focussed is essential. Creating a to-do list for the day will motivate you the check the items off the list and be on time, this will also help you get started for the day.
Another thing that might help you is pretending or making yourself believe that you are going to the office. For example, doing things like waking up at the same exact time you did when you went to the office, like making coffee or wearing office clothes, will help you feel like you are at work and, in turn, increase productivity.
This routine does not specifically need to start in the morning in the end by your office time if your work permits, you can also choose to make a work routine for the time of the day you feel most productive.
4. Keep Yourself Busy but DO NOT OVERWORK - TAKES BREAKS, YOU DESERVE IT
Okay, we know that working from home and taking breaks can be extremely distracting, and this may prompt you to avoid taking a break at all, but giving yourself clear and designated breaks will help you not fall into a slump. Small things like setting a timer right before you leave for a break helps a lot. And, if you are not that one alarm kind of person keeps four, this will help you keep track of time.
Sitting down and working can be tiring, so every two to three hours give yourself 10-15 minutes to get up and stretch and catch up with anyone else that might be home instead of opening Facebook of Youtube. This short break will freshen up your mind and make you more productive as a result.
5. Allocate a good amount of time for yourself
Having the whole family around the house, 24 hours a day for several weeks at a stretch might be overwhelming at times. It is necessary that you make time for yourself, alone other than the times that you are working, this will not only help you focus on your own mental wellbeing, which in turn increases your productivity on work but might also help another family member have their own time too. Separating a minimum of 15 minutes a day can bring out huge positive results in the long run. A short meditation, or blasting your favorite playlist while you cook dinner for your family, or even taking a few extra minutes when you shower might just be the thing you are looking for.
In addition to this, picking out an activity that the whole family can do together could help relieve the tension from your family during these trying times.
Logging off from your social networking sites, or keeping the TV on in a small volume in the background, or decluttering and keeping in touch with your work friend or colleagues are also some of the other things that you can do to increase your productivity when you stay at home.
This sudden change from working in offices to working from home might seem like a big hassle for now but, we need to look at this as a challenge and also an opportunity that might help us push forward towards the future of work. Businesses all around the world are gearing up to go majorly remote in the next few years, and COVID-19 can also be looked at as a catalyst fueling this change.