For those fortunate enough to be able to work from home during the pandemic, there might be a significant number doing so for the very first time. In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, remote work is becoming more and more of a reality for many professionals around the world and for some, it could be a welcome change. For others who have never had the opportunity, maybe not so much. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of this time and make the experience as pleasant as possible.
At home, without the usual distraction of deskmates, meetings, and water cooler chats, you might actually end up spending a LOT more time in front of the computer than you would be had you been in the office. A report from NordVPN showed that already, remote workers are logging 40% more time in front of their screen than when they were working in the office just before the Covid-19 outbreak. This makes sense; without social interaction and the commute you could technically squeeze a couple more hours of work in after all. But if you don’t pace yourself well and take timely breaks to walk around, eat, stretch, and hydrate, it can lead to that “fried brain” sensation a lot of us get at the end of the day. So, tempting as it may be to just power through the day, your body needs a break as much as it did when you were in the office. Studies show that roughly 15 minutes every hour is the ideal rest-work ratio and maximizes productivity during those working hours.
In all likelihood, most of you did not spend nearly as much money on your home workstation as your company did on your office one. Having the wrong setup could lead to a plethora of not just productivity problems, but health problems as well. Ensure your office equipment is appropriately adjusted to your body as working long term on a maladjusted workstation could cause serious health issues down the road. Don’t ignore the finger cramping, tight quads and low back pain you might experience starting out at home. These are warning signs that your home office is not ideally suited to you.
Where your office is can be just as important as what it’s made of. To maximize productivity and reduce distractions, ensure that wherever you choose to work from is a dedicated space, away from common areas of the house, and isn’t in your bedroom. Separation between work and personal space is key and ensures that your work-life balance stays intact during this time. In your home office, have an “at-work” mindset and try not to let distractions around you impede on your productivity. And when work is done, don’t be tempted to sign on and do work that you wouldn’t normally drive yourself back to the office to do on a normal day.
It’s important to remember that work from home is still work, and it is a time when more so than ever, clear and constant communication with your team is crucial. Going from an environment of collaboration and teamwork to essentially isolation is a huge change, and can make remote work a negative transition for many. A study conducted in 2019 by brand development agency Buffer, showed that loneliness was one of the major challenges faced by employees working from home. It’s not just the loneliness to consider either (because let’s face it, some of you may relish in the idea of being left alone). Building a good rapport with colleagues and managers continues to be important even when everyone is at home. To keep some form of normalcy, trend towards video calling with your colleagues, friends, and managers instead of IM’ing (this would mean you’d have to put on an appropriate top). Go even further by still doing your morning huddles, greeting everyone you’d normally say hi to, and taking dedicated break times with your colleagues so you can keep up conversations and a level of camaraderie you had before all this pandemic craziness.