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10 Tips for Working From Home During COVID-19

Working from home because of the Coronavirus? Here are our top 10 tips to help you work at home effectively.
26 3 月 2020
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Chances are that due to COVID-19 (commonly referred to as the Coronavirus), you’ve been asked to work from home on a part-time or full-time basis. For some of us, that’s not a problem. Here at SelfKey, our team works remotely so we’re used to working from home, but we understand that this is a new way of working for many people.

Working from home can be challenging in a number of ways, especially if it’s not something that you are used to. In this article, we’ve compiled our top tips on how to work from home and compiled them for you here to make life just a little bit easier.

1. Keep a regular schedule

Working from home sounds like a dream until you’ve somehow spent sixteen hours working and can’t seem to stop checking your work emails before bed. It’s crucial to set your own working hours when working from home. We suggest a schedule that is similar to what you had when you were working in the office. Choose a start and end time, and make sure to give yourself breaks every couple of hours. Installing a time tracking app, such as RescueTime, can help make sure that you are sticking to your schedule. 

That being said, your schedule may need to adapt. If things are chaotic right now at your job, you may be finding that you are working longer hours. If your job requires you to coordinate with people in different time zones, you might have to wake up earlier or stay up later in order to make it work. Don’t worry about needing to move your schedule around, but do try to stick to the same schedule as often as you can.

2. Have a morning routine

The most successful people in the world have a morning routine, and chances are you already had one before you started working from home. While your old morning routine might not be functional anymore, it’s important to establish a new one. Use your morning routine to set yourself up for success.

You don’t need to go crazy with your morning routine and start doing everything that is recommended; pick a couple of things you would like to add. You can meditate, exercise, plan out your day, or spend quality time with loved ones. Have your morning routine end with you starting to work.

3. Give yourself breaks

This is one of the most important aspects of working from home. It’s really easy to spend your whole day working and forget to eat lunch or take the dog out for a walk. Have set times during your daily schedule where you take a break. You can plan for several shorter ones (ten to fifteen minutes) throughout the day, and don’t forget to take a little longer to have lunch!

It’s important that you don’t shortchange yourself during your breaks. If you give yourself ten minutes, take the full ten minutes. You can grab a drink, go to the bathroom, do a bit of stretching, say hi to your family, or plan what you want to have for dinner. Once again, having a timer here is really useful to make sure you are taking your breaks and spending time away from your computer and phone.

4. Have a dedicated workspace

If you don’t have a desk or table you can use in a quiet room, now might be the time to get one. Working on your couch or in bed sounds appealing, but these are spaces that your brain associates with leisure and as a result, your productivity may suffer. Finding a dedicated room or surface to work on helps keep your work life and your home life separate.

While your entire family may be home with you right now, do your best to find a space that is free of other people and request that people don’t bother you. If you have young children at home, this might be tricky, but you can redirect them to quieter activities while you are working. Do your best to set ground rules with the other people in your home or who share your space with for when you work.

5. Go outside

This might seem counterintuitive, but try to leave your house at least once a day and get outside. When you’re working in an office, you don’t spend an entire 24 hours there, and the same applies to your home office. While coworking spaces or cafes are not the best idea right now (it is recommended to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic), there are other things you can do.

If you have any meetings that are over the phone and don’t require a computer, go for a walk while you’re taking the call. You can also get outside during your breaks. It doesn’t have to be for a long time, but breathing in fresh air has a number of benefits that are good for your brain and your body.

6. Change out of your pjs

It is incredibly tempting to spend the day in your pyjamas when you’re working from home. However, it can be hard to feel motivated and productive when you look and feel like you should still be in bed. Now you don’t have to wear a suit at home every day (unless you want to), but it is important to change out of your pjs. 

Additionally, many businesses are now choosing to communicate to their employees through video calls. While your boss probably won’t expect you to be dressed to the nines for every call, you should put in an effort to look presentable, especially for group calls.

7. Over communicate

When you’re working in the office, communication is easy. You can quickly stop by someone’s desk, have a quick chat in the hall, or simply wait until you see them at lunch. When you work from home, this form of communication is entirely eliminated. As a result, it’s important that you communicate what you are doing to your coworkers, managers, etc. If you finish a project, start working on something new, or are working on an important task, let people know.

This is especially important if your availability is changing or you’re about to take some time off. Make sure that you communicate to everyone clearly so they are aware of when and why you won’t be available. 

8. Make a to-do list

The humble to-do list can have a big impact on your motivation, productivity, and organization when working from home. When creating a list, include big goals (like quarterly and yearly KPIs) and smaller goals. Your smaller goals should help you work towards your bigger goals. Checking off the smaller goals not only helps you towards achieving your bigger goals, but also gives you positive reinforcement. 

An important part of having an effective to-do list is to write it down or have it on your computer or smartphone. Keeping everything in your head is simply not realistic. Plus, the act of crossing things off on your list is super satisfying!

9. Keep it healthy

Nourishing your body and your mind while working from home is more important than you think. During your breaks, make sure to stretch and move your body. Sitting for long periods of time is not great for your health, so don’t forget to move. You can even stretch in your chair, there are lots of guides for exercises you can do at your desk.

Eating nourishing food is also important. You want your brain to be at its best, and eating a bag of nachos every day is not ideal. Since you’re working from home, you have full access to a kitchen to prepare your meals and snacks. Make sure that you are stocked up on your favorite healthy foods by planning ahead. You can still treat yourself as a reward, just don’t go crazy.

10. Stay off social media

Social media can be a giant time suck, and we are all guilty of falling into its trap. When working from home, it’s even easier to suddenly spend half an hour laughing at memes because you’re outside of an office setting. Turn off social media notifications on your phone while you’re working (even better, leave your phone on the other side of the room) so that you are less distracted. Staying off social media can also be a great way to improve your mood. By avoiding a constant barrage of news stories about the Coronavirus, you may find that you are worrying less.

There are several different apps for your smartphone that let you limit and track how much time you spend on social media. You might be surprised at how much time you are spending on your phone which could be redistributed elsewhere. 

Conclusion - Working at home during COVID-19

We hope you’ve found our tips useful and that they make your working at home experience a more pleasant experience. If you’re brand new to working remotely, there might be some growing pains, but don’t worry - you’ll find your routine soon. 

COVID-19 is set to continue having a major impact on our lives during the next few weeks. Stay safe, and enjoy working from home.

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