Love it or Hate it, Working From Home During the Coronavirus is a Thing – Here’s How to Stay Productive
Four years ago, I petitioned my, then, job to allow us to work from home a couple of days a week. I backed my “petition” with facts, figures, pros, cons and a list of signatures from just about everybody in the office. I felt like it was a pretty solid request. In turn, I was berated by my manager (a term I use loosely) for going over her head to the CEO and an office-wide email was sent out explaining why it just wasn’t going to happen. Reasons like, they’d spent a lot of money leasing the brand spankin’ new office that was still too small for our growing team, which further added to my point of why they should allow us to work from home, but I digress.
Now, here we are. The world has been shifted on its axis from the coronavirus pandemic and employers, who may have once been naysayers to working remotely, are finding themselves having to adapt with the changes. Many companies are either shutting down indefinitely or allowing their employees to work from home during this time. Meaning employees nationwide are getting a taste of the work from home lifestyle. Some love it, some hate it, but either way it’s happening. It is definitely an adjustment, and since I’ve now had the privilege of working from home for over a year, I’m here to share a few tips on how to stay productive while working from home during coronavirus.
Set a Routine
Establishing a routine is important even when you’re not working from home. It’s the perfect way to ease into your day without jumping in head first. Whether you’re waking up and enjoying just a few quiet moments of solitude and coffee or tea, getting in a quick workout to get your blood pumping, reading a few pages of a book or listening to your favorite podcast, do something that gets your mind and body stimulated. Do something for you! Not for clients or the spouse or the kids, something solely for you and your enjoyment.
Also, set a cut off time for yourself. Working from home, it is very easy to work from sun up to sundown and beyond because there is always work to be done. Always! But, give yourself a hard cut off time. The work will still be there tomorrow.
For me, working from home can go one of two ways. Either I’m totally in the zone and will spend hours on end behind the computer, forgetting to eat, drink or pee OR I’m totally distracted with a million and one other things that need to be done around the apartment.
Oh, I need to put away this laundry that’s been sitting here for the last week.
I need to meal prep.
Those hangers are crooked. Let me straighten them.
Ooo look…a random piece of lint. Let’s flick it around for 10 minutes.
Like I said, it’s easy to get distracted. So, what do I do to make sure I’m productive while working from home? I make sure I have a clean space to start my day. I don’t like to work in clutter. When my space is cluttered, that means my mind is cluttered, and when my mind is cluttered I’m not able to work at my highest level. So, something as simple as making sure I have a clutter-free space makes a difference.
Also, the Pomodoro Method is my favorite! What is this, you ask? It’s like a work power sesh that improves productivity. Basically, you work for 25 minutes and then get up, walk around, rest for 10 minutes. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It’s amazing how much work you can get done when you are laser focused and know you are on limited time clock. You can either set your timer, or use an app like Be Focused. Both work just the same; however the app gives you a visual representation of your productivity, which can be kind of nice.
Sitting behind a computer all day while working from home can cause stiffness and aches. At least when you’re in the office you get up, walk around and maybe stop by your buddy’s cubicle and talk about Love is Blind for 30 minutes. Or you get up and walk to the coffee maker for the umpteenth time for the day for your caffeine fix. The point is, you’re moving. At home, it’s easy to get stagnant and not move. So, be sure to take breaks throughout the day. Go out and walk around the block and get some sunshine and fresh air. Stand up and stretch. Or my favorite, get a quick 10-15 minute exercise in. I love love love working out with Fitness Blender! They have tons of videos to choose from, no matter the time range. 10 minutes is all you’ve got? They’ve got your covered. Get a quick 10-minute HIIT work out in to get re-energized and to whip you into shape in the process.
Stay Out of the Bed
I’m going to say it one more time for the people in the back…STAY OUT OF THE BED!!!
It is so tempting to work from bed all day. So so very tempting. However, being in bed is way too comfortable. You’ll find yourself sitting up doing work; then, slowly but surely, you’ll be propped up on one arm, typing with one hand; and then, you’ll convince yourself that you’re just going to “rest your eyes” for a few minutes and next thing you know, you wake up an hour later with a sticky note stuck to your forehead. Don’t do it!
Dedicate a separate work space while working from home; be it a desk, the dining table, the kitchen island. Wherever. Just not anywhere where it’s too easy to get too comfortable (i.e. the bed or sofa).
Some people need to get dressed and put on clothes in order to feel and be productive. Lounge clothes are too comfy, so it goes back to what I was saying about not working from the bed. So, get up and get dressed, as if you were going to work, to keep that sense of routine. It’s not lounge time. It’s work time.
Now, I will say, I am not “some people”. I can’t tell you the last time I put on a pair of pants or bottoms while working from home. But, I decided to include this tip anyway because it may be the tip that somebody needed to hear.
Set Rules and Boundaries
If you are working from home, but you are not home alone, you will have to set some boundaries. People will assume that because you are home, you are available…not the case. People will assume because you are sitting behind the computer all day that you are just scrolling through Facebook or adding things to your Amazon cart…not (always) the case. People will barge in, butt in, interrupt, disrupt, distract, basically anything and everything because they don’t grasp the concept that YOU ARE WORKING! Even if it doesn’t seem like it. So, set some rules. Set some boundaries. Make it clear that you are on “Do Not Disturb” mode from this time to this time.