With the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions and the threat of the next super spreader event, most companies have adopted a work-from-home set-up. The choice to telework has shifted from being a mere option for employees to a necessity given the situation.
Working from home may not be ideal for some—there are people who find it difficult to focus—but it’s a set-up we all have to live with. The best thing to do, for now, is to make the best out of the situation. Here are tips to make the work-from-home arrangement more efficient and productive for you.
1. Stick to a schedule.
Even while you work at home, do it within a set schedule and routine. This will help create a sense of ‘normalcy.’ One tip is to list down all the tasks you need to finish within the day, including breaks for mealtimes and coffee breaks. If, by chance, you’re ‘quarantined’ with other people, maintain a period of time where you can’t be bothered.
Part of setting up a routine means having to get up at a specific hour. Set an alarm in the morning and take breaks if necessary. It will not be easy at the start and you’ll stray. But hey, we’re all doing our best to adjust to the situation, so give yourself some time to get used to it.
2. Dress up.
For some people, dressing up as though you’re going to the office helps in putting you in work mode. The key is to pretend you’re actually going to work.
Put together a decent outfit, do your makeup, or fix your hair for instance. Simply put, don’t work in your pajamas. Dressing up (hopefully) will make you feel just a little more enthusiastic about accomplishing your tasks.
As far as professionalism goes, this tip is particularly helpful especially if your company does virtual conferences daily. Imagine going into an e-meeting with unruly hair and ratty shirts, yikes! More than just about taking care of your looks, this is about making yourself feel good despite the unusual circumstances.
3. Plan your meals.
To save time in the morning so you can get right to work immediately, opt to prep your food at night or during the weekends.
Pre-quarantine, you were probably accustomed to dining out or eating late. This is a great time to form new habits, as we prepare for the “new normal. In addition to prepping your meals, stock up on snacks, too! Brain food like berries, nuts, and whole grains can improve memory and boost productivity.
4. Have a proper workspace.
If possible, try not to work in the same area where your bed is. You might find it difficult to resist the urge to crawl under your sheets and sleep. If not, the least you can do is tidy up. Designate a conducive area in your home that’s free from distraction and noise.
You can also try setting up your laptop or computer near a window to get some sunlight and Vitamin D. This will help you stay energized throughout the day.
5. Get moving. Exercise.
Being stuck at home for an extended period of time means having low levels of physical activity. Don’t use isolation as an excuse not to get moving.
You don’t always need a complicated routine or even equipment to exercise. The simple act of walking around the house is enough to get your body and brain energized. And since you’re working, you’ll probably spend lots of time sitting down, so don’t forget to stand up and stretch.
There are dozens of workout classes available on the internet, from yoga to light aerobics and intense HIIT routines. You’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy.
6. Drink lots of water. Eat healthy.
Boosting your immune system is more crucial now than ever before. So, make sure you stay hydrated and well-fed. Keep a pitcher of water beside your desk or set up alarms for coffee breaks.
Incorporate snack breaks and lunch breaks into your routine. Set up alarms for those, too. With back to back meetings and with you working alone, there is no one to remind you to take a break and eat.
7. Stay connected.
Working from home means you’ll be relying on digital tools to get work done. But that does not mean, you’ll cut off everyone else. It’s crucial to maintain contact with your colleagues just to align. Schedule e-meetings regularly to check in with your team and align goals and deliverables. Make sure you’re also reachable via calls, just in case virtual messaging causes a mix-up.
Working from home may have its challenges, but you can easily adapt. And given the situation, this new arrangement offers the safest and most practical means for the community to continue working while staying secure and protected.
Productivity can only be achieved if you plan your day right and prepare yourself to be optimized for work. It’s really all up to you!