In the wake of the new coronavirus, many companies (ours included!) are making the switch to working remotely in an attempt to flatten the curve of the outbreak. This sudden change can be tough for those of us who are unfamiliar with the different facets and new reality of working from home. Even if this is not your first rodeo, it's clear that the landscape of working remotely in our current global situation is uncharted territory. Below are some easy tips to set yourself up for success while maintaining good mental health.
1. Get Dressed
They say, "dress for the job you want, not the job you have." And while we fully condone dressing like Wonder Woman, remember, you do still have a job to do! Getting dressed for the day is an easy way to wake up the mind and prepare your body for the work ahead. Don't feel obligated to dress how you would for normal office hours, but putting on fresh pair of leggings sends triggers to the brain that it is time to be productive and get work done.
Also, wearing your everyday civvies is an easy way to feel "human", something that is more crucial than ever in a time where actual human interaction is at a stand still. If you usually put on makeup, go for it! Do what you need to do to feel your best. And, of course, slippers are the perfect working from home footwear.
2. Have a Designated Work Space
Make sure to have a spot in your home that is strictly work and no play. This may be difficult with little ones or for those without a home office but even taking a position at the dining room table is enough. Before, it was easy to keep your work and home life separate when you were occupying different physical spaces. Work stayed in the office and home was at your own address. That physical space is still important. Having a designated work attack zone, it will be easier to "clock in" in the mornings and "clock out" when the day is done. Leaving the work on the very real table is essential to keeping your home work life balance intact.
Pro-tip! Choose a spot with windows and natural light. "When I first went freelance, I was in a dark apartment with no views. Now in our home, I made sure to set my desk next to a large window. If possible, try to do the same. Having a place to look up and out can make the world of difference!" -Nikki Wilds, Wilds Creative
3. Set Work Hours
Once you have figured out where you are going to work, it's time to decide when. Working from home can be a challenge when your looming deadlines are only a room away. Resist the urge to re-open that laptop by setting work hours just like at the office. This will help keep yourself accountable to a schedule while preventing productivity burnout.
Can't do Dolly Parton's 9-to-5? Find the times that work best for you and your family. Once you have a schedule, stick to it! Your kids are also going through a huge transition and secretly crave stability. Setting your "office hours" is a great way to get the whole family back into a daily routine.
4. Turn Off Distractions
Now more than ever, it is easy to get distracted by the news, television and our Instagram feeds. With the flood of information pouring in at an alarming rate and overwhelming sense of worry across the globe, it is important to stay informed but not at the expense of your mental health.
Staying focused on the tasks ahead and shutting out the noise, even for a few hours, is crucial. This will help keep you motivated through the work that needs to be done but also giving your soul a chance a rest.
5. Stay Social While Social Distancing
Whoever created the video conference is a genius. Humans are social creatures by nature. The small interactions you have at work around the water cooler or talking to Dani about her weekend, go a long way in breaking up the monotony of the day and help us feel less alone in the world.
Isolation isn't kind, so remember to catch up with your coworkers throughout the day and keep the lines of communication open. Instead of a phone call, try video conferencing with business communication tools like Zoom or Skype. Collaborate with your work bestie on that upcoming presentation. Though we are apart, technology has grown by leaps and bounds to keep us all connect. Be sure to take advantage of those tools to communicate with your team.
6. Give Yourself a Break
The world is already tough enough without being hard on yourself. We understand that staying productive can be really difficult in this uncertain time. Allow yourself short breaks throughout the day, even if it's just 10 minutes to fold laundry or take the dogs out for a walk, are now more crucial than ever.
Give your mind a chance to breathe without giving in to the easy distractions like social media. Find an activity that can kick start creativity or gets the blood pumping. These are the perfect opportunities to get your steps in with a quick workout, catch up with around the house chores or play a game with the kids. Coming back to your work space refreshed is better than staying stagnant. Show yourself some grace, you've earned it.