How to Stay Sane and Productive While Working at Home
With the spread of coronavirus affecting everything from international travel to the availability of hand sanitizer, mitigating COVID-19 in all over the world has become a growing concern. The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, is sending ripple effects around the world, including a push for more people to work at home, while health organizations work to contain and treat the outbreak.
Plenty of people fantasize about working from the comfort of their own home, foregoing their commute in favour of more sleep, family or exercise time. But working remotely is a double-edge sword — sure, you get to stay home, but it can be harder to focus on working.
When you’d usually be reporting to our desks, you’re finding yourselves on your couches or at your kitchen tables, trying to complete to-do lists without the built-in discipline of the office.
The expectations are the same, but the environment is not. And it’s not always an easy transition.
Below, we’ve compiled a few great work-at-home tips and tricks for you to try.
- Get started early
At home, the transition from your pillow to your computer can be much more jarring. Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Simply getting a project started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day. Otherwise, you’ll prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.
- Place yourself in a good position
Just because you’re not working at an office doesn’t mean you can’t, well, have an office. Rather than cooping yourself up in your room or on the couch — spaces that are associated with leisure time — dedicate a specific room or surface in your home to work.
- Set your schedule
You’ll need to plan out your daily schedule. Establish your start time, midday break periods and what time you’ll clock out for the day. This will keep you on track with your workload. It also sends the message to your co-workers that you have a relatively set schedule—just like you would in the office.
- Stay connected
Working from home might help you focus on your work in the short term, but it can also make you feel cut off the larger operation happening in the office. Instant messaging and videoconferencing tools can make it easy to check in with co-workers and remind you how your work is contributing to the big picture.
- Take breaks
No, scrolling through Instagram does not count as a break. You should aim to take a break every 75 to 90 minutes, for about 15 minutes per break. Ideally, your break should involve no screens at all and let you get some fresh air. Play with a pet or talk to a friend. You’ll find that you’re much more productive if you walk away from your desk and computer throughout the day.
Above all else, figure out what works best for you. Sometimes the answer is apparent, but other times you might need some inspiration from other people who are in the same boat. Good luck and stay safe everyone!