A guide to working from home efficiently (without losing your mind)
Due to a worldwide pandemic that has gone on for too long, we're working from the comfort of our own homes rather than the office. Either way, we're all in the same boat: Home-bound, anxious and on the brink of insanity.
Of course, social distancing and isolation is indisputably necessary to slow down the spread of COVID-19, and while working from home can be a great opportunity to rest up and relax a little, it can be a bit much to be holed up in one place for so long, especially with the whole family home (I haven't experienced silence since the Movement Restriction Order began).
Lucky for you, we've got a couple tips to keep your head on straight and fight off the boredom.
It’s super important to stick to your regular routine when working from home. Don’t take this as an excuse to sleep super late or sneak an extra wink of shut-eye in the mornings. Your sleep schedule is a delicate, fragile thing. Don’t screw it up.
This doesn’t necessarily mean for work either; using it to schedule in a little exercise (great way to keep the insanity away) or for a little extra time with family (they’ll definitely not have much going on at the moment) will be a much needed refuge.
It’s so tempting to work from the comfort of your bed, but we promise you it’s probably for the best that you don’t. Associating your bedroom with work will make it difficult to relax and unwind, which is unfortunately what your bedroom is for. Besides, we are all folly to the temptations of the afternoon nap, so pick literally any other room to work in—preferably anywhere with a table.
Don’t take this to mean that you’re married to one spot once you’re in it, though! If you’re used to a rather versatile day-to-day of off-site meetings and events in addition to desk duty, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same at home. Switch up the scenery once in a while (just make sure you’re not getting too close to anyone).
Just because no one is going to see you, doesn’t mean you should just let yourself go. Sticking to your regular grooming routine will make sure that you are still a functional human being by the end of the quarantine and will make you feel better and refreshed for your home-bound work day.
Plus, having that moment at the end of your day to change back into your loungewear will help make the transition from work-to-personal time more poignant and enforce some form of structure in your work-from-home life.
Open a window (get some fresh air, but not too much), do some stretches or make a cuppa! It's the little things that keep us going. Let’s be real, no one is working for the whole eight hours we’re at the office. If we didn’t have those coffee breaks, co-worker chatters and short walks around the office for leg-stretching we’d all have gone insane by now. Likewise, you can’t be cooped up in the same spot all day—taking regular breaks will help you stay motivated and keep you at the top of your game.
You don’t have to schedule them strictly, nor do you have to stick to any particular number of breaks; just if you are feeling run down or overwhelmed, take a 15-minute breather and then get back to it once you’re feeling better. As for lunch, that is a break you certainly shouldn’t skip, so set aside at least an hour for you to nosh down (and maybe cook something—you don’t have to eat your regular cold office lunch anymore so go whip up something nice!).
Aim to get as much done during the course of the day as you normally would—just because you can work round the clock now doesn’t mean you should. Plus, it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough when you’re working from home, so (for your sake) a good rule to follow is: As long as you’re getting the usual amount of work done, you know you’re on track and you’re doing fine.
In situations like these you can inevitably feel a little lonely, so it’s imperative that you keep up your social life as much as you can. Video call for meetings, keep your coworkers in the loop through messaging, and FaceTime your friends outside of work (over a virtual glass of wine, perhaps)—chances are they’ll need the social interactions as much as you do. It’s not quite a catch-up dinner and drinks situ, but if you’re proactive you can make socialising work in isolation.
Possibly the most important thing to do is to set an end time for your work day (and stick to it). Working from home means that there isn’t any strict boundary between work and play, so you have to set that for yourself. Make sure an alarm goes off when your day is over and then leave your work there.
TL;DR: Take care of yourself people!
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