Working from Home during the Coronavirus Lockdown
Social distancing and the coronavirus outbreak mean that millions of us have been forced into working from home instead of going to our usual office environments.
As you’ve no doubt discovered, this comes with a huge number of challenges and a huge adjustment to some.
How do you avoid getting interrupted every second by your family? How can you avoid getting distracted by Netflix? How can you stay as productive and creative as you should be despite being away from the input and expertise of your colleagues?
The good news is that it will get better.
I have been working remotely for many years now and have plenty of tips that can help you get through the difficult early days and thrive in this new working environment.
1. Create a dedicated workspace
Although you could work from your sofa wearing your pyjamas if you really want to, it’s key to find an area of your home you can dedicate to work when you’re working from home.
This will help you stay focused during your working day, add a sense of normality and free up your brain space to stay as productive as possible.
Even if you’re not lucky enough to have a home office, or even have a permanent workspace, you still have options. Use the kitchen table and clear away when you’re done or use a particular corner of your living room and use it consistently.
2. Schedule your time
Distractions are one of the biggest problems when it comes to working from home. There’s always Netflix, that pile of washing that needs to be done or kids who constantly need your attention.
The best way to overcome this is to set yourself a schedule.
Decide when you will be working, allocate chunks of time to particular tasks if you can and then stick to it. Many people find that it’s best to separate work sessions into two parts- first in the morning than later in the afternoon or evening. If in doubt, make a list, what do you have to do, what do you want to achieve today and tick it off as you go.
Breaking the day up in 2 parts gives you the opportunity to get outside if the weather is good and get some much-deserved fresh air and sunshine and help you stay productive and feel positive.
3. Have breaks
It can be tempting to keep working on projects and get stuff done when there’s no clear separation between work and home life. This is especially the case right now as the coronavirus takes its toll on the world economy and we’re all facing financial uncertainty.
That’s why it’s so important to switch off your computer and give yourself a break.
Follow the schedule you’ve (hopefully) created. Get up and make yourself a cuppa. Get outside for a walk. Watch an episode of your favourite series. Exercise. Create a delicious meal to share with your family. Read a book. Listen to music…
Whatever you do, make sure it’s away from your desk and helps you relax. It might feel counterintuitive, but you’ll notice how much fresher and more productive you feel when you get back to work.
4. Stay connected
When working from home, it’s important to stay in contact with your colleagues and your boss so you don’t find yourself feeling isolated and lonely. You’ll be able to collaborate as you usually would, keep spirits high and still get stuff done. It is important to think you are not alone and there are many people in this situation right now and not everyone will be coping.
Perhaps scheduling a social 20 mins to chat with colleagues where you just catch up on life, TV programs. It takes your mind off of work and allows you some Me time to lift yours and other people’s spirits.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools that can help you do this. Here are a few suggestions:
- Skype and Zoom: Both of these platforms allow you to communicate via video or phone call with other people. They’re also free.
- Asana and BaseCamp: These are excellent project management tools that can help you stay in touch and plan your projects.
- Google Drive: This is an excellent free cloud storage solution that allows you to create and share documents directly and promotes easy collaboration.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other excellent tools that can make working remotely much easier for you. A quick Google search should help.
Remember that working from home won’t last forever (unless you want it to, of course) so follow the tips we’ve shared above, use the tools and resources we’ve shared and stay positive.