6 Tips for Working from Home More Effectively During the Covid-19 Outbreak
Working from home sounds like paradise in theory but for many, it is quite the opposite. The current global COVID-19 pandemic has a great deal of us working from home, many for the first time ever. It may have been fun at first, but as weeks turn into months, first-timers are struggling.
Working from home is hard, and working from home effectively is even harder. Thankfully, there is hope to work more productively regardless of your location.
We’re all in this together and experiencing the same pain points of work-life balance, productivity, and mental wellness. Regardless of this crazy lifestyle change of spending more time at home, better, more effective work can be achieved! Follow these tips to begin working from home more effectively.
Stick to a daily schedule
The first step to working from home is to stick to a schedule. Just because your “office” is a few steps away, does not mean you should sleep in. Wake up at the same time you would for a normal day of work. Use the time you would spend commuting to your office to do an activity that makes you feel good.
The world’s most successful people follow morning routines, so make one for yourself. By following a few, simple rituals every morning, you are setting yourself up for success. Try going for a walk, drinking your coffee on a patio, or practicing mindfulness by journaling, meditating, or reading.
Completing these enjoyable tasks first thing will help you feel accomplished and more importantly, start the day feeling happy.
Dress the part
Another key component of working efficiently from home is to get ready each morning. Treat Monday through Friday the same. You don’t need to swap your sweat pants for tight jeans, but be mindful of how you present yourself. Rolling out of bed and staying in your slippers doesn’t put you in a productive headspace.
In addition to reinforcing your brain to go into work mode, a functional wardrobe will help you show up to meetings and be heard. This helps your coworkers know you’re present and taking work seriously - even at home.
Designate a work from home space
One of the most important tips for working from home effectively is to dedicate a space to solely work. If you don’t have the luxury of a home office or desk, transform a nook in a room or part of your kitchen table to become your go-to workspace. As tempting as it is, avoid working from the couch or bed.
You need to differentiate spaces for working and for relaxing. If you mix the two locations, your brain will have difficulty telling which task you should be doing. Another benefit to a makeshift workspace is preventing your family, significant other, or roommates from bothering you. Your workspace will quickly become a work bubble sheltering you from distractions.
Increase productivity with a timer
A productivity hack beloved by many is the “Pomodoro Timer.” The idea is based on the Pomodoro Principle and it actually works. Basically, you try working diligently for a set time then reward yourself with a break. This works because it’s easier to survive a work “sprint” when you know relief is on the way.
Simply set a timer for 25 minutes and work. When it’s done, reward yourself with 5 minutes to refill your water or respond to that text, then begin again. If you find 25 minutes flies by too fast, do 45-15 minute sessions instead.
Don’t be afraid to take a break
When you start to zone out, recognize that your brain needs a breather. In an office, you have constant distractions like coworker visits and small talk. These short interruptions give you a break. At home in isolation, you don’t have the luxury of forced mind breaks.
Make it a point to take a moment away from your work. Go for a walk, stretch your body, or make a healthy snack.
Another way to take a break is with a short, non-work related activity, like PrizeRebel. Double down on your downtime by earning extra income by completing online surveys. You can earn over 500 different types of merchant rewards like PayPal and Amazon gift cards. Not only will your breaks reward your mind, but they’ll reward your wallet.
Respect work-life balance
The hardest part of working from home is the fact you cannot escape work. Enforce a hard stop time, no matter what. Close the laptop and ignore notifications until morning (if your job permits). After your workday is over, do not feel the need to respond to emails - even if your laptop is sitting a few feet away.
By respecting work-life balance, you maximize your free time. That way, you can return to work feeling recharged and excited, rather than overworked and tired. It’s also important to remember that work-life balance is a two-way street. While your coworkers should respect your space, you must also cherish theirs.
Extra work from home tips
Here are a few last-minute tips to remember when working from home:
1. Invest in a desk chair, preferably one with lumbar support.
2. It’s okay to take a sick day, even when working from home.
3. When in doubt, overcommunicate with your team.
4. The mute button is your new best friend.
5. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need to be successful.
6. Using Zoom? Spice things up with a fun virtual Zoom background.
7. Put a plant in your workspace to add some nature indoors.
8. Light a candle or try an oil diffuser to relax.
9. Drink plenty of water, always.
Working from home has its ups and downs, but it’s time to take advantage of it. Capitalize on the fact you can run a load of laundry during a meeting or watch Netflix during your lunch break. You can work from home effectively AND enjoy your time too.
This unprecedented pandemic is affecting us all in ways we never expected. Just be patient with yourself and your coworkers. We are in this together and no matter what, you’re not alone!