Employees working remotely for a day or two each week is becoming more and more common. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, many employers are implementing voluntary or mandatory work from home schedules, possibly for extended amounts of time. If you’re working remotely for days on end, the possibility of going off track is a big concern for employers. Here are some tips for staying productive and having balance while you are working from home.
You may think you aren’t a ‘routine person’. Chances are, you have one without even realizing! Many of us wake up for work at the same time, eat the same breakfast, hit up the same coffee shops, take our lunch at the same time, etc. What helps you feel as though you are about to start work? If it is reading your favorite blog while enjoying a coffee, be sure to continue that on a daily basis. This will add normalcy and help you feel ready to begin work.
You may have a family member or roommate who is also working from home for an extended amount of time. This can be tough, especially if you only have a shared dining table or a single desk. Map out your routines and schedules accordingly, instead of waiting until it becomes an issue. If your roommate has several phone calls scheduled throughout the day adjust the noise level as needed, and they will (hopefully) do the same for you. Also split up the space and adjust accordingly so that you can both get your work done effectively.
Does your company allow you to take two half hour breaks during the day? A full hour lunch? Make sure you are aware of their policies, and take your breaks throughout the day. This could be as simple as taking a walk, making yourself lunch, or turning on your favorite podcast. Time away from your computer and phone is important, so schedule time for yourself. It is also important to take the full break, if you have an hour – take it!
Do you normally have a team meeting twice a week? Maintain this through a scheduled conference call, or by sending email updates. If calls aren’t a great option, project management tools are a great resource. A great (and free!) platform to try out for your team is Asana – this will allow you to see your co-workers progress and stay on track for team projects. This is also a great tool for personal use as well. Checking in is important and helps you (and your staff) feel like they aren’t alone and still have the resources they need.
This one may seem a little odd, shouldn’t you be motivated to complete your job? Being alone for long periods of time can get lonely, and isolating. This brings your motivation down and can cause you to drag out tasks or projects that normally wouldn’t have taken much time at all. Breaks can help with this as well as following a regular routine. Little things like getting dressed in the morning (hey – we know staying in your pajamas for a day or two is fun, but can actually negatively impact some people’s mindsets), or making yourself a delicious lunch can make a difference on your overall mental health.
If you typically work in an office, your work and social lives are separated by a physical space. Working from home can blur those lines and it can be hard to feel as though you are separated from work when your hours are over. Start work at your regular time in the morning and shut off your laptop or work phone when work hours are done. This is in line with having a routine, but unplugging is definitely great. You don’t want your home to start feeling like it is strictly a workplace – work life balance is more important than ever.
This is a difficult time for everyone, and it is important to keep that in mind. Taking care of yourself should always be a priority, but we recognize it can be difficult when your routine gets shifted dramatically. Keeping these tips in mind will hopefully help you adjust to your new work environment and help you continue to work and operate as normally as possible.
If you are searching for resources for your small business regarding COVID-19, we are continually updating our website with up-to-date information and resources.