In these unusual times we’re living, the work from home scenario has become a mandatory reality. At least for the lucky ones who can get emancipated from their offices. With the COVID-19 pandemic escalating worldwide, precautionary measures have fast-forwarded remote work as a norm. For how long? Nobody can say.
Fact is that #WFH is getting an urgent trial nobody saw coming. We’ve all been secretly hoping that this “work from home deal” would be a treat. However, we’re learning that having our cake and eating it too means extra pounds and less work done; and maybe kids running around our improvised desks while wreaking havoc during our online meetings; and maybe fighting off the urge to binge in plain daylight (on food or TV shows); and maybe getting to know our significant other’s most hidden traits; and….oh, the horror!
Before you decide to go mad, go zen. It’s as they say: “if you can’t go outside, go inside”. To help with your struggles and zenification process, we’ve prepared some useful tips and tricks for working at home. As avid-schedulers and online-believers, we’ve been practising these skills since forever. Sure, we still struggle with sugar cravings with the goodie drawer so close, but other than that, we’re golden. Here’s how you can polish your work from home skills.
Stick to a routine. Create a schedule.
The most challenging part of working from home is actually working. If you’ve been used to working from an office, you most definitely associate your home with leisure. So you might wake up and postpone work until your anxiety kicks in and basically yells at you to take action. But, with a few ground rules in place, your work from home productivity can get pumped in no time.
To boost your productivity at home, calendars and to-do lists are your best friends. Prepare your day in advance and allocate specific time slots to particular tasks. Don’t just say “I’ll wing it, I know what I have to do”, because you’ll end up pushing tasks from one day to another (yeah, we see you). Instead, note all to-dos down in your calendar and stick to the schedule religiously. Make sure you create realistic, balanced routines you can stick to! Don’t be a WFH martyr and sacrifice all your time working because that will lead to ineffectiveness and even more cookies eaten due to stress.
Create a designated workspace
The best, scientifically proven way to get into work-mode is by settling in your work-area. At the office that’s easy-peasy. At home, however, your kitchen counter might do less of a great job at reminding you of those urgent reports and meetings (hey, eyes off that chocolate bar!). Your bed might be even a less suitable horizontal-office. And no, you can’t work in front of the TV.
Instead, make sure to organize a quiet space for work purposes only. Remove all distractions nearby and surround yourself with work-related items. Find silence and stillness. Of course, if you’re living in a household with other people, this might be easier said than done. However, things such as noise cancellation headphones might help you get into a quiet zone, even if your kids are playing ‘war-time’ around you. Also, taking turns with your significant other to look after the kids might be a good strategy.
Stay connected to your team. Communicate.
Once you have your schedule and workspace prepped, you’ll figure out something fundamental is missing: your teammates. Luckily, the age of tech is well upon us, and there are countless online tools you can employ to get together even if you’re apart.
To connect, we encourage you to use video conferencing as often as you can. Of course, we’re not advocating for endless, useless meetings. Video conferencing in times of social distances serves a higher purpose and will do more than establishes common ground. By seeing eye to eye online, you will maintain a sense of union, much needed these days.
To add an extra layer of engagement, we highly encourage you (do it, do it) to enable your camera, always. Why? Well, two reasons:
1. You will pay more attention to the meeting and communicate more efficiently.
2. You’ll have extra reasons to prep up and look your best even if you’re spending your day indoors.
Another great way of connecting with your team is by implementing, daily stand-up meetings to kick-off your workday. If you’re more of an afternoon type of being, try daily SCRUM meetings to check progress on your team tasks.
Make room for small talk.
Since social interactions will be limited during the social distancing period, our work from home tips also include…not working. Finding a few minutes for small talk at the beginning and end of a video conference will go a long way. Talk about your day, share a funny moment, whine about something, connect over a juicy gossip or discuss the latest TV show.
Don’t forget that you are human and that, when you were at the office, you also spent time randomly talking with your colleagues. And you did so for a reason. It’s the best team building there is and the best way to give your working mind a break and restart it afterwards more energized.
Find novel team building strategies online
When you work from home, it’s easy to feel isolated from your mates. However, you (or your HR department) can always whip up some fresh ways to keep everybody connected. Just because everybody relocated their office at home doesn’t mean that company goodies should stop. Keep the perks coming!
For example, try to create a weekly habit of after-work hangouts with colleagues. Pour yourself a glass of your favourite beverage and enjoy a talk or play an online game (no, it doesn’t have to be World of Warcraft). Another option would be to convince your manager to offer some online workouts for your company because who sweats together sticks together. Or maybe get tickets to enjoy cultural events online as a team. An alternative cool idea would be to create internal fun challenges or skill-sharing sessions. Whatever you came up with, make it fun and make it last.
Suggested strategies: create designated channels on Slack or groups on Workplace
Honour your breaks. Remember to move.
The danger with any work from home routine is that you might actually forget to…stop working. While we applaud your dedication, we believe in the power of taking time for yourself.
Moving your body is essential to keep your mind at full throttle. So remember to take breaks. Get up at least once an hour (and not to visit the fridge). Get up to stretch, do a quick round of exercises or try some quick yoga classes. Trust us, honouring your body will boost your mental acuity.
Disconnect. Schedule with Preppr.
We know that going the extra mile is what turns a job into a career. However, going the extra hours day in and day out is not a healthy approach for your work from home. Sure, there might be days when you’ll have to put in longer hours, but don’t let it become the norm. We said it once, but we’ll say it as many times as needed. In essence, taking time for yourself is crucial for your happiness and, implicitly, success.
To make yourself (and everybody around you happy), disconnect from your work after-hours. Put your laptop aside and spend time with your loved ones. If you’re living alone, meet online Laugh, learn, enjoy a movie and this time, sure, have that sugary treat. And if you simply just can’t take your mind off of work, remember that Preppr can help you schedule your posts in advance (now even for Twitter) and take the rest of the day off.
Work from home. Pause. Repeat.
Yes, work from home is excellent and, at the same time, it can be not so great. But with the right strategies and tools, you can take the good and eliminate the less good. So give it a go, practice & preach. Of course, stay safe no matter what you do.Start your 10-day Free Trial