There are some entertaining memes circulating on social media that allude to the challenges of being quarantined with partners and families, while trying to work from home.
Of course, most are intended to elicit a chuckle but the reality is: there certainly are challenges that we face when our work environment changes and working from home has both positive and negative sides to it. What if there’s a meeting or conference? How can you be productive when you’re constantly interrupted? How can you keep work and home separate when you’re working from home? How can you stay balanced and not over- or under-work?
These are valid concerns. Here are some tips to help you stay productive and thrive as you work from home.
Keep Your Routine
Just because you’re among the millions of people who are not commuting to the office, doesn’t mean you’re not working! While it may be tempting to get out of bed, fix some coffee, and shuffle your pajama-clad way to the computer, don’t. Instead, try to stick to the same routine that you had when you were going to work. Set your alarm, wake up, take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast.
Make A Schedule (And Stick To It!)
Take time each day (or week) to set up a schedule that will keep you on task. If companies with 300+ remote workers are using schedules to keep their teams on top of their game, it must work! Be realistic when you make your schedule so you are not creating more work for yourself than you would in a regular work day. This not only helps prevent burnout, but makes it easier to stick to it.
If you have children at home, experts suggest you should incorporate a schedule for them, as well, to avoid as many interruptions as possible but also, to plan for them, too.
Separate Work from Home
If possible, set up a separate space for you to work from so you can close the door and have some privacy. If this isn’t possible or feasible, try setting up specific boundaries during your work hours. Be sure everyone is clear about these boundaries, so they can respect them and don’t bring any home-related stuff into your workspace.
One major shift that working from home creates, is the invitation of your coworkers, supervisors, clients, and others to potentially see into your life. While, of course, you want to be professional, what if your cat jumps on your lap during a Zoom meeting? What if your teenager or husband yells from the other room, wanting to know where their charger is?
You might feel like crawling under your desk in such scenarios but the truth is: We are all human and it’s okay! Naturally you want to minimize these unfortunate interruptions but rather than feeling dread, embrace your humanness, apologize for the interruption, and allow yourself to be natural.
The Coronavirus has forced many companies to shift to remote work in a short period of time. If you feel frustrated, off-balance, or overwhelmed, I invite you to reach out and let’s talk about how you can take control of your work-from-home situation to be more productive, balanced, and efficient.