Working from home has become more popular in the last few years with a 159% increase in remote work between 2005 to 2017. It used to be a tough sell to get permission from your employer to work from home.
But now with the coronavirus spreading around the world, major employers like Amazon and Facebook as well as smaller organizations are actually asking their employees to work remotely to cut down on the chance of infection.
I have worked from home for around ten years, and while I wouldn’t trade it for anything, it does come with its own set of challenges.
If you are being asked to work remotely for the first time, here are some tips to help you stay productive:
1. Get Dressed
Confession – I don’t always stick to this one and have totally done a webinar in my pajamas before. BUT getting dressed does put your mind in the right head space – “It’s time to stop watching YouTube and start working.”
2. Stick to Your Schedule
It is important to be available when your clients and colleagues are used to you being available – especially if your organization has decided to send everyone home to work. Just like you wouldn’t stay at the office really late, you also need to have a set time to stop working.
3. But Work When You Are Productive
On the flip side, if you know you get more writing done in the late afternoon or can better focus on a project after your kids are in bed, then go with that, but switch your schedule accordingly so you don’t overwork yourself.
4. Have a Dedicated Work Space
Even if you are just co-opting part of the dining room table, have an area you can use for work. As someone who has had to work from her bed for the past few weeks after surgery, it gets old and is distracting. Working in your bed, also messes with your sleep schedule as your body loses that natural cue of “Oh, we’re in bed. It’s time to go to sleep.”
5. Let Friends and Family Know – and Set Boundaries for Them
If you are new to working from home, it will be tempting for your friends to stop by or want to do things with you. Or if you have family at home, they may constantly bombard you with questions or ask you to do things for them. Be upfront about what is happening with everyone in your circle. This is not a vacation and you are at your job even if you aren’t physically there.
6. But Take Breaks
On the flip side, you don’t want to be a hermit. Go to lunch with your friends for a set period of time. Get out of the house and go for a quick walk. Cook yourself some lunch. Find something to do away from your work space.
7. Know Your Technology Limits
Your WiFi may not be as fast at home or you may have an older operating system on your computer. Maybe you are used to a bigger monitor and now you have to design a brochure on your laptop. Whatever your limitations, be sure to clearly convey them to your employer and colleagues so they can make adjustments or provide you with what you need.
Has your organization sent its employees home due to the coronavirus? Let us know how you are handling it in the comments.