As coronavirus fears sweep the country, more people are working from home. In fact, tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter mandated that the majority of their staff work remotely. If you are in this group, you may have mixed emotions about working from home. Sure, it’s great to avoid the morning commute and stay in your pjs all day, but there are other challenges to face.
Below are five tips to help you navigate remote working and stay productive – even with kids at home.
1. Create a realistic schedule.
The first thing to do is create a schedule that you can follow. This will help you stay on track with the same expectations you have on a normal work day. Without a schedule, it’s easier to sleep in, be distracted by the news and work longer into the evening hours.
In your schedule, have clear guidelines for when you will be working, and be flexible for clients and coworkers in other time zones. You may have to extend your day or wake up earlier to accommodate them, but this should still fit into your normal working hours.
2. Set ground rules for others in your space.
If you have a busy household, you might have lots of people in your space right now. This added noise and chaos can be distracting and difficult to work through. For this reason, you’ll need to establish ground rules for everyone in the home. For example, you may have to divide up household chores and pet duties. Or, you may have to set “do not disturb” hours.
3. Schedule regular breaks.
Even though you’re home, it’s important to take breaks like you would at the office. Your body needs a break from the computer screen, so take a few minutes to refill your water bottle, enjoy a walk outdoors or play a game on your phone. The standard for working adults is one lunch break and two 15-minute breaks.
4. Alternate shifts with your partner.
If you’re in a position where you and your partner are working from home, it’s important to communicate your roles and responsibilities over the next couple of weeks and months. Both of your jobs are important, so you should not take on more burden just because you’re home. This can impact your productivity. Intead, sit down, discuss your schedules and alternate shifts to ensure everything is getting done around the home, including laundry and meals.
5. Maintain a dedicated office space.
You’ll want to have a quiet working area where you can focus. If you don’t have a dedicated office, you’ll have to be creative in making one. To do this, claim a desk or section of a table in the home. Set up your computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, etc. so that you can work comfortably and efficiently. Talk to your employer about bringing home the supplies you need to do your job well.
Hopefully, your employer will be happy to work with you during this challenging time. Don’t forget to take care of your mental health, too, as you want to stay happy and productive. To avoid panic, we recommend getting your information from credible sources like the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.