Due to the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many job industries are switching to online platforms as social distancing becomes more and more established all over the country. If you’re a worker in a non-essential field, you may already be at home right now, trying to adjust to a completely different way of life: the life of a remote worker. It can be even more difficult in light of the fact that remote workers can no longer post up at cafes or libraries for the day to get their work done!
At Optimized Career Solutions, we are well-versed in managing that essential work-life balance. As remote workers ourselves, it’s incredibly important for us to build structure, boundaries, and routines in order to simultaneously care for our business and for ourselves. Still, we know that takes time, experience, and practice. That’s why we’re here today to talk about how to make working from home work for you.
Here are our tips and tricks for working from home:
- Be Strategic about Space
As tempting as it is, never work from bed! That’s our number one rule. The bed is far too comfortable for real productivity, for starters, but by working in bed, you’re inviting work life into a space that should be completely devoted to you and your sleep hygiene. You might not realize it, but you’re training your brain to associate the bed with things you do while you’re awake, which can interrupt your sleep at night.
If you live with others, be clear with them about the space you need for work. Whether they are family members or roommates, ask them to respect your time and space and minimize disruptions. If you have an area in your apartment or home that you can completely dedicate to work, great! But others are not so lucky—wherever you need to do your work, make sure you have enough space to be comfortable yet stay busy.
- Get Dressed For Work
“Wait… isn’t the biggest perk of working from home getting to be in your pajamas!?” Trust us, we get it. But hear us out: just like we mentioned in our blog post about virtual interviews, getting dressed for work is just as much about mindset as it is outward appearances.
Now that you’re working from home, the goal is to strike a healthy work-life balance. Pajamas are about settling down and relaxing, not about motivation, focus, and hard work. The less work you’re able to accomplish throughout the day, the more work you’ll find yourself making up for at night, or other times that should be dedicated solely to you and/or your family. And, especially since you won’t be leaving the house much at all, you’ll want to get dressed to keep your sanity intact! Keep up the appearance that life is resuming as normal.
- Practice Self-Discipline
Notice we used the word “practice”? No one is perfect… not even us! We’re all human and we’re all prone to distractions. Practicing self-discipline, however, will help immensely with getting the work done and building your self-confidence.
During your dedicated work time, try to keep your phone on “Do Not Disturb,” or even airplane mode (as long as you don’t need your phone for work!) If you do need your phone for work, shut off the notifications on your social apps during work-time. In general, know your weaknesses and remove those temptations, whether it’s phone use, the internet, T.V., etc.
The biggest takeaway for this tip is to work on creating habits, create clear and achievable goals, and ultimately, forgive yourself. This is an ongoing process. You will get there!
- Build Routine
Unless your company has already set up a strict work-from-home schedule (for instance, remote workers should be available from 9-5), it’s way too easy right now to go to bed when you want and wake up when you want.
Humans need structure and routine. Again, you won’t have a lot of opportunities to go out and socialize and visit different places other than the grocery store. Invite structure into your home, where you will be for the majority of your time. Try to wake up at the same time every day, eat regular and balanced meals (yes–breakfast, lunch, and dinners!)
Try to replicate the habits you had at your desk when you weren’t working from home. Routine will help you build and maintain healthy habits that will be good for you and your job.
- Move Your Body
No, we’re not here to preach about physical fitness and working out! But sitting at the same place all day will take its toll on your mind and body. Working from home is draining in its own way, and your body needs to move to keep up your energy and mental health.
The Coronavirus is not airborne. As long as you are maintaining the appropriate distance from other people, you should try to go outside as much as you can. Any nearby parks where you can be away from people is great. Even if it’s a walk around your backyard or your block. Just find a way to get outside. Fresh air and sunshine is good for immunity, too!
If you can’t get outside regularly, move around your apartment or house. Do a silly dance. Even if it’s just stretching, your body will thank you!
- Socialize Remotely (Keep Up the Cooler Chat)
To the extent that it won’t distract you and your colleagues from the work, try and keep up with the “cooler chat.” Check in with them and see how they’re feeling. After all, this is a scary time for everyone, including them! Even something as simple as, “How’s your day going?” can make a real difference in someone’s life.
Casual work conversations actually help build and bond a team. Now that everyone is home, it will become harder to communicate transparently and keep up that team mentality, especially if certain members of the team aren’t great at written communication! Do your best to touch base as often as possible and offer your awesome problem-solving skills when you can. We here at Optimized Career Solutions LOVE the app Marco Polo! It’s like walkie talkies, but with video messages! It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family while you’re social distancing.
- Practice Self-Care
This probably should have been #1, as it is the most important tip of all, but we decided to save the best for last: self-care. Self-care can mean a lot of things, but ultimately we want to put yourself and your needs first during this scary and uncertain time.
Set clear boundaries with your colleagues and managers first. Even though you’re working from home, you deserve to have time away from work. Consider that time sacred. If you live with loved ones, they deserve to have your time and attention work-free, too! Consider the work day over when it’s over and try to keep up your routines and good habits by going to bed at the same time every night. Make sure you have the space and time to devote to yourself and well-being. Not just because you’re worth it, but your work deserves the best version of yourself, too!
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you should never feel like your job completely owns you. And if you do feel that way, and you’re unhappy, that’s why Optimized Career Solutions is here!
One day, we looked around and saw how many people in our lives were unhappy when they didn’t have to be. It fired us up to be the advocates that workers everywhere deserve. We’re here to help you find the right work for you, whatever it is. Schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation with us and find out how!