Working from Home in the Time of COVID-19
Working from home is a privilege for some that is becoming the new normal for many as we move into this unprecedented period of social distancing to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Previously, WFH didn’t literally mean only working from within your own house—many people used coffee shops, local restaurants, libraries or coworking spaces, especially if the home wasn’t an ideal location to tackle tasks due to kids, social media or our televisions. But, for the time being, these public venues are mostly off-limits, and home sweet home is what we’ve got to work with.
But this doesn’t have to be a stressful experience! As we all make these adjustments, LEAP Group has a few WFH hacks to offer that will hopefully make your transition out of the office and into your humble abode a little easier and more productive.
create a workspace for yourself.
It may be tempting to use the couch as your desk, but it’s a better idea to create a dedicated area in your home that is comfortable, organized and free from distractions. Also, make sure that you have a clear Wi-Fi connection and that all technology and productivity apps like Slack or Zoom are working with clear, strong connections.
schedule your time.
Don’t assume productivity will naturally happen. Just like you would at work, start each day working from home with a clear agenda of how you’ll spend your time. Create blocks in which you’ll work, but don’t forget to schedule break times for clearing your head and having a bite to eat.
Additionally, if you have a family at home, create clear schedules as a family unit so that everyone is on the same page about what time is work and what time is play.
Staying organized is a best practice no matter from where you work. Making lists and visually monitoring progress is a great way to stay on task when working in a different environment. By ranking priorities, you have a better chance of avoiding procrastination and getting everything done on schedule.
work when you’re most productive.
One benefit of working from home is being able to work in time slots that are well-suited to your strengths. But, make sure you are consistent—not only for yourself, but for your coworkers and family. Be available to your teams when the bulk of them are online, but use the flexibility of working from home to work when you have your highest output.
dress the part.
You don’t necessarily need to put on a suit or high heels, but it’s not a bad idea to “get ready” for work in the morning — even if you’re simply moving to another room of your home. Make coffee. Brush your teeth. Dab a little scent on. Small, routine acts that you would otherwise do are great ways to put you in the mindset that you are entering a workday.
be prepared for outside distractions.
If you don’t usually work from home or spend time there during the weekdays, you may be surprised what happens in your neighborhood. A dog might stay outside barking all day. Maybe your neighbor loves doing home improvements only between the hours of nine and five. Prepare yourself that your home space may not be as quiet as it in the evenings and adjust accordingly. Maybe now is the time to buy those silencing headphones you’ve been eyeing.
avoid inside distractions.
You’ll be home, so it will be tempting to put the television on, but the stimulus could prove too distracting. The same goes for social media. If the quiet of home becomes too much, try turning on the radio. We’re used to music as a background presence, so it’s less likely to pull focus from the tasks at hand.
If you’re exclusively working from home and are unable to utilize typical spaces like coffee shops or restaurants to work from due to public health concerns such as COVID-19, make sure you take breaks to leave your home and get fresh air and a change of scenery. By taking a walk around the block or to a local park, you’re less likely to develop cabin fever.
log off and stop working.
Just as you would if you were working from an office, set a clear end to your day. Your home is meant to be a comfortable, happy place for relaxation and downtime. If you never “leave” work as someone working from home, you’ll always be at work.