As the world continues to grapple with the Coronavirus, working from home has become the new norm in many work places.
Here are few tips on how you can stay productive while working from home and maintain your own well-being:
Create a schedule
Trying to create a somewhat normal routine is not only important for you but also for your children (if you have kids). Setting a schedule that replicates a school day or a normal work day can be really helpful. It helps to wake up at the same time every day and get dressed as you would on a ‘normal’ day, this will help with focus and productivity. It’s also important to still take a lunch break or coffee break and for kids it is still great for them to have a lunch hour, and in that time send them outside into the backyard to play. With your children/child set aside some time to write out all your schedules, you can have a reward system in place for whoever sticks to their schedules the best each day.
Keep up communication
Having regular chats with your colleagues is just as important as talking with your loved ones in this time. Being home over the next few weeks may get lonely for some, so having regular communication will not only keep morale high but is a good way to ensure you can stay focused, energised and productive. Most people will be trying to manage the same challenges e.g. work and life balance, so the best thing you can do is be open and honest with your team. If you’re jumping into a video conference it is okay to give them a “heads up” that a child may come into the room or be making some noise in the background.
You may have family members or a friend who lives alone, so make sure you check in on them and let them know you’re only one call away. It is also beneficial to you to have conversations with those outside your house and if necessary have a vent or chat about what is going on at home.
You may live in an apartment block or have elderly neighbours or someone with a compromised immune system. If you’re heading to the shops it could be nice to slip a note under their door or give them a call and ask if they need anything. You will be surprised how many people would appreciate these small gestures and return the favour. Maintaining our community is good for us all.
Set up a work space and work boundaries
As tempting as it is to stay in your pyjamas and send emails from bed, it won’t be beneficial in the long run. It is important to treat working at home like a real job. If you already have a desk or office that is great, but if you don’t, setting up a space that is specifically for you is important. Up until now you might work on the dining room table for an hour at night. If you are now based at home, you might need to create something more established and more private. Setting up something similar for your children and creating a space that is just for them where they can do their school work will help keep them on track.
It is also a good idea to set boundaries for the people you live with, if you have children let them know if parts of the day are “do not disturb” time. You can have a sign on your door or a little note on the table with “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” If you know that parental responsibilities could affect your work time, speak up openly with your team about your plans to work flexibly. You might need to have more breaks and to then log in again after dinner if you have home distractions.
Staying active while working from home can sometimes be difficult.
Sometimes just a walk around the block before you start your work day or going for a walk/run in your lunch break is all you need. Either way, it’s important to take breaks throughout the day. Whether working from home or at work, we all need short breaks to stay fresh and alert.
Plan out your weekend activities
More and more places have opened up but because of restrictions in restaurants and cinemas it can be hard to get into places without some advance notice. It’s important to plan ahead to avoid disappointment. To keep things entertaining and different, one idea could be creating a bowl where each family member writes on a piece of paper a different activity you can do. Other ideas that don’t involve leaving the house include:
- Board games
- Drawing or painting competitions
- Backyard sport – soccer, cricket, handball
- Movie marathons/start a new TV series
- Baking snacks for the week
- My Kitchen Rules home edition (split the family into groups and have one group cook entrée, the other main course)
We know this situation is a first for all of us and will be challenging at times. You may be feeling completely overwhelmed and there are people who are here to help:
This blog originally appeared on Relationships Australia NSW.