With the spread of the novel coronavirus, many companies are mandating or recommending that as many employees as possible work remotely until the virus can be slowed. While some may be familiar with the flexibility of working from home, others may be adjusting to these new work conditions for the first time. Needless to say, working from home can be a bit of a transition. Here are five tips that will help you excel in your new work-from-home environment.
1. Write out a to-do list for each day
Ideally, you’ll want to leave at least an hour in your schedule every day to write out a daily to-do list—whether it’s first thing in the morning or the last hour of the day. Keeping a running to-do list provides a level of accountability. You can refer to the list when you feel like you’re getting off task. Regardless of any other items that pop up throughout the day, it will help you keep track of what you’ve accomplished and what still needs to get done.
2. Create a dedicated work environment
Find a dedicated work space to help separate your work life from your personal life. This space should make you feel as though you’re heading into an office and somewhere you can leave when you’re off the clock. Remember that it doesn’t have to be extravagant—it can be as simple as claiming a table and chair as your work space, setting up your laptop and placing a plant and a candle close by to add a little extra ambiance. It’s about getting yourself into the mindset that, when you sit down in that space, you’re ready to commit yourself to any work that needs to be done.
3. Stay connected with your team
Texts and phone calls are great, but there are many other ways to stay connected while remaining physically distant. Using chat apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams and videoconferencing services like Zoom can be a great way to enhance remote communication.
4. Take breaks often
It’s extremely important to schedule regular breaks throughout your day—whether you’re working from home or in an office. With remote work, there aren’t as many opportunities for the mini distractions that tend to pull you away from your desk when you're in the office setting, such as co-workers coming by to chat or a defined lunch hour. Because of this, it’s common to find yourself sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end, which is neither sustainable nor healthy. Make it a priority to step away from your work environment every so often. Eat your meals away from your work space, take a walk, or squeeze in a quick at-home workout.
5. Stick to a schedule
Working from home can be the ultimate test of how well you manage your time. Procrastination can be avoided if you set consistent hours. When working alone, it helps to keep a more structured daily schedule than usual. It’s not as much about the amount of time, but more so about the quality of the time you’re putting towards your work. It’s important to find a schedule that works for you and set firm boundaries around it so that you can have a good work-life balance.