Employees throughout the country have had to adjust to working from home, whether prepared to or not.
Here are some tips to stay focused, stay motivated and complete your tasks as Americans are encouraged to practice social distancing.
Create space Find a place in your home that can be used for just your work space and make it hands-off for other family members. It can be a small area, but should allow you enough space to organize it in a way where you can be productive and comfortable.
Get dressed for the day Working in pajamas can be nice at first, but if you are working from home for more than a day or two, getting dressed can make you feel a sense of normalcy and improve your mood.
Create a new commute Whether it is a few laps around your living room or a quick walk around the block, create a new routine that keeps your blood flowing.
Create structure and goals A set schedule can help productivity and keep tasks on track. Block out specific office/computer time or set project-specific goals for each day. Sometimes simply having a beginning and end point can provide structure.
Set boundaries It is easy to become distracted when working in an environment with family members and household tasks in the next room. Set clear boundaries with family members about your office space and privacy. If you have a partner who is also working from home, create an agreement or schedule outlining who will handle household responsibilities or children during specific times. Ensure each of you have adequate time to accomplish your work responsibilities.
Socialize Working from home can be an isolating experience, especially given the current circumstances. If you’re working for a company with other team members and have access to a chat system, initiate conversation with your coworkers to stimulate human connection. Each day, set aside some time to talk to someone on the phone. Utilize FaceTime, Skype or options like Zoom to virtually connect with both team members and loved ones.
Keep the face-to-face conversation going each day by asking questions, reaching out, responding, making suggestions and initiating conversations.
Communicate effectively Without face-to-face interactions, communications can sometimes become challenging.
When composing an email, chat or text, be concise and succinct and avoid slang or sarcasm.
It can sometimes be difficult to interpret tone in writing, so be sure to maintain a professional tone and give each communication a second look before hitting send. It is also important to keep sensitive topics such as politics or personal views at a minimum and only where it is appropriate.
A simple emoji can change the tone of any message. If it is appropriate, sprinkle an occasional happy face or thumbs up into your communications.
Give yourself a break Sometimes you need to leave your physical space to clear your mental space, especially given the stress and challenges many people are encountering during these difficult times. Sitting at your computer all day can stifle productivity. Getting out of your chair and walking around can help your brain to relax and get blood flowing again.
If you feel comfortable, leave your home and go for a walk outside, being mindful of social distancing suggestions.
When you work in an office or a traditional setting, you receive lunch breaks, coffee breaks and maybe some other small breaks throughout your day. Continuing to take these quick timeouts can help retain your focus and prevent your mind from wandering. Find a spot in your home where you can enjoy a lunch away from the pressures of work.
While we all adjust to a change in environment and disruption to workflow and every day life, these tips can be small ways to maintain a sense of normalcy and structure.
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