How to Stay Productive, Healthy, and Happy While Working from Home During COVID-19
Remote work has been a growing trend for years, and plenty of today’s workers are used to completing their to-do list from a laptop or home office. But for others, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an abrupt shift to their daily routine — causing a decline in telecommuting productivity. If your new normal isn’t feeling normal at all, these tips on adjusting to working from home might help ease the transition:
1. Recreate your office productivity triggers at home
When you work in an office, you have habits around doing productive work, such as getting dressed, commuting, and sitting down at your desk with a hot drink. When you work remotely, those important cues may be missing. Improve your work from home productivity levels, and become more effective and more focused by identifying work habits you can do anywhere. Listening to a specific kind of music, setting a timer for breaks, and meditating are just some examples.
2. Make it clear you aren’t available to talk
Another reason working remotely can be less productive than working in an office is that you’ll experience more interruptions. Especially right now, with relatives and friends on different-than-usual schedules, people may interrupt you more frequently because they don’t know you’re working. Remove this opportunity for distraction by setting clear expectations around your work whenever possible. For example, let your partner, spouse, or kids know that you need help adjusting to working from home and might need to set aside blocks of uninterrupted work time, put your phone on silent during the day, and be unavailable on social media accounts.
3. Choose one goal for each session
One of the biggest challenges of achieving productivity when telecommuting is recognizing that when working outside their regular working environment, people have the tendency to get distracted by everything that needs to get done. If you’re not used to doing your job outside the office, it may be difficult to figure out how to focus when working from home. When you try to accomplish too much, you often get nothing done. Fight the distractions by choosing one clear goal for each work session and taking a break when that task is complete.
4. Use technology to help you focus
Another form of distraction that can be a challenge for infrequent remote workers is the distraction of websites, games and apps on your laptop and phone. If you find you simply don’t get as much done when working remotely as you do in the office, consider using distraction-disrupting technology to help you focus. Apps like RescueTime, and Freedom can track how you spend your computer time and lock down distracting websites on your computer for preset periods of time, helping you work from home in peace.
5. Make your mental health a priority
There’s no way around it: the current COVID-19 pandemic is frightening, and it’s simply harder to adjust to working from home when the future feels uncertain. If you find yourself experiencing anxiety or panic that interferes with your ability to focus when working remotely, try the following recommendations (in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. Consistently hearing about the pandemic can be unnecessarily upsetting.
- Pay attention to your physical health. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Apps like Headspace are currently offering free mediation content to help people through the current crisis.
- Let yourself unwind. Once you’re off the clock, revisit some of your favorite indoor activities like reading, crafting, cooking, or simply playing with your kids or pets.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and feelings. Use video chat programs to schedule group happy hours, chat with relatives, and share stories. Social connection is more important than ever.
This is an unprecedented time, but following a routine can bring a sense of normalcy and purpose back into your day. If you or your firm need help transitioning to a remote environment, we’re here to answer your questions. If you’re a current customer, please read our COVID-19 update. And remember: we’re all in this together.