Tips for Working From Home During Quarantine
Most of us are used to going into work every day. We’re used to our commute and the traffic. We’re used to sitting down at our desks, working eight hours, and starting the journey home when the clock strikes five. We’re used to the security that this whole routine provides, even if it does become stressful or monotonous or annoying at times.
Many employees are being told to work from home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. And, although some of us do have experience working in a telecommute or remote capacity, many do not. For those people, adjusting to working from home might be a little bit of a challenge.
Even though we’re in our office in downtown Wilmington, NC most of the time, our team does work at home from time to time for unique situations, like the one we’re currently all facing. So we thought we’d pass our experience with working remotely onto you by offering some tips and tricks on how to be efficient, comfortable, and productive while working from home:
- Stick to your routine. Obviously you aren’t going to be getting into your car or standing around the water cooler in the break room, but you should do your best to keep your day as normal as possible. That means getting up, showering, getting dressed, making coffee, etc. all at the same time you usually would.
- Set goals. Making lists of daily, weekly, and monthly goals can help to give you a visual representation of what needs to get done. This is especially helpful when you don’t have your boss or coworkers around to remind you of things or help you stay on task.
- Reduce interruptions whenever possible. Yes, your family and/or pets are probably going to make work a little… noisier than normal. And, yes, you’ll probably get more emails, calls, and texts about work than you would if you were in the office. Try limiting the amount of time you allow these things to interrupt you by following the two-minute rule: If you can solve the problem, read the email, or respond to the text in two minutes, do it. If not, handle these things later when you’re at a good stopping point.
Create a boundary between work and home. Separating yourself from your home life while you’re working will go a long way toward cutting down on interruptions and making you more productive. To do this, make sure you have a place to work that’s all your own. It should be a space that you don’t do anything else but work in, and you should only be in this space while you are working. Likewise, make sure you don’t work outside of your dedicated space.
- Take breaks. Incorporating a little bit of rest into your workday actually helps you be more productive. A good rule of thumb is to work for about 90 minutes and then take a 10-15 minute break. It may feel like a long time, but a break this long really gives your brain a chance to reset before you tackle the next task.
- Chat with your coworkers. Socialization is healthy and important for a good professional relationship. Most companies use some kind of internal instant messaging platform for quick and easy communication, so why not make use of it while you’re working from home? Even a short conversation with your favorite coworker can boost your morale and make you feel a little less lonely.
- Eat healthy. You might find that your urge to snack is stronger while you’re working from home, especially during a stressful situation like the coronavirus quarantine. That said, it’s important now more than ever, to avoid junk food and keep your body in the best shape possible. So instead of reaching for candy or chips, try to select healthier options like fruits or nuts.
- Don’t try to multitask. Jumping around between tasks before completing any one of them is, generally speaking, not the most efficient way to work because it forces the brain to work in overdrive. It can also overwhelm you further, which is the last thing any of us need. Instead, pick a task, focus on it, and enjoy the sense of accomplishment you get from completing it before you move on to the next thing.
- Make your workspace comfortable. It’s hard to be productive in a space you don’t like being in. So, since you’re probably going to be spending a lot of time in your home office, why not spruce it up a bit? A fresh coat of paint and a few plants or pictures can go a long way toward making a space feel homier. You should also consider investing in a chair and desk combination that’s comfortable and ergonomic.
Hopefully, these tips from the team at BTM will help you be more productive and relaxed during this transition from working in an office to working remotely. Stay strong, stay focused, and remember that we’re here if you need us!