With the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak affecting everything from international travel to the availability of hand sanitizer (not to mention people panic-buying toilet paper!) protecting ourselves from the corona virus in the United Kingdom has become a growing concern. That’s why many offices, both big and small, have implemented solutions to keep their employees safe so that as many people as possible work remotely.
Plenty of us have fantasized about working from home, foregoing the tiresome commute in favour of more sleep, family or exercise time. But turning your home into your office is tricky even in the best of times, as it can be hard to separate work and home life when they’re both happening in the same place.
Whether it’s a pile of laundry that suddenly looks more appealing than your boss's to-do list, or a quick three hour binge of that one Netflix show you’ve been dying to watch… The isolation can quickly become a downer for those of us used to socialising at work. And some people, of course, would prefer to stay in the office.
Here are a few things you can do to try to effectively work from home without driving yourself into a pit of misery.
So, first things first: you should probably get out of your pyjamas and into your workout clothes. Get that one exercise a day task checked off your routine.
Note: Please make sure you stay local and not travel unnecessarily for exercise.
There are plenty of effective workouts you can do at home.
Eat your breakfast and put on something smart yet comfy. It’ll help you get in the right mindset for work and allow you to take video calls on the fly.
Location, Location, Location
Try finding yourself a dedicated and comfortable space to work at, that you can associate with your job and leave when you’re off the clock - that means get off the couch and definitely keep the bedroom as a sacred space for sleeping and relaxing where work is banned. It will help make the work-home life divide a little clearer.
Have a Plan
Working from home should be more structured and having a daily schedule is key. Usually at work, our time and structure for the day is influenced by other people, client meetings and other miscellaneous tasks. So one of the things that we should try and understand is that in solitude time is spent better if it’s structured. Include multiple breaks throughout the day, take a coffee break, get out of your workspace and take a stretch, walk around the room or go downstairs to grab your mail. You’re probably not actually working 100% of the time when you’re in an office anyway.
Remember everyone works differently…
Managers should remember that not every employee actually want to work from home, a change that can be stressful for some. It’s key to communicate as much as possible and help employees struggling with the change.
You might find it easier to be productive without the most chatty co-workers constantly buzzing in your ear. But social interactions, even with coworkers, can alleviate the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Durham University’s Dr. Thuy-vy Nguyen, who studies the effects of solitude, thinks the psychological effects of working remotely for extended periods is often overlooked or ignored, despite it being an essential factor in our mental well-being and team bonding.
To help fill the socialising gap whilst working remotely, I recommend buddying up with a colleague you can hit up when you’re feeling the need to chat with someone. Using Zoom instead of slack or text isn’t a bad idea. Screen-sharing is another killer aspect of getting people on the same page. If you’re in a meeting giving feedback, chances are the host is sharing their screen as well, so now you’re all looking at the same thing as you toss ideas around.
Overworking can be a Real Issue!
So clearly define what hours you will be working and stick to it. Sign out and turn off notifications for work-related email and instant messaging when the day is over – especially if you’re signed in on your personal devices.
Be sure to socialise after work, even if it’s just a video to call to keep loneliness at bay. Use FaceTime or hop onto social apps to connect with family and friends who are social distancing or, in self-isolation or shielding.
We’re all doing our part by staying safe indoors, although work never stops! Marketing specialists are hard at work to keep business running. Get in touch to find out how I can help your business through these unique circumstances.