With all the shelter-in-place orders due to the coronavirus, remote work is the new norm for many people. If you weren’t part of the remote-worker pool prior to the pandemic (about 3.4 percent of US workers), you might be overhauling your working regimen now. Here are the top four tips to help you work from home more effectively:
Tip #1: Stick to Core Work Hours (and Schedule Breaks)
When you work from home, it can be tempting to either sleep in and skimp on your duties or turn into a workaholic with no boundaries. Sticking to your regular work hours helps you get everything done while also keeping a healthy work–life balance—especially when you schedule in breaks.
Also, expect and embrace distraction during your day. Instead of feeling bad about the times you accidentally spend 20 minutes scrolling through the Instagram Explore tab, schedule an off-the-clock break to do just that. Dedicated and intentional breaks are known to improve productivity.
Tip #2: Establish a Dedicated Office Space
Even if you don’t have an official office in your apartment, you can still create a dedicated office space to boost your productivity. It can be at the kitchen table or in a nook in the living room—whatever works best. Just make sure it’s comfortable, organized, and conducive to your type of work.
Now that you’ve figured out what works for you, make sure that the arrangement also works for others who share the space. Communicate to them the times you need to work, and particularly when quiet is needed. For example, if you have an important video call coming up, treat it like a real appointment and let everyone know that you need to be left alone in your office space for that chunk of time. (Unless you want to recreate the hilarious moment when this little girl boogied into her dad’s BBC interview.)
Tip #3: Be Overly Kind to Your Coworkers
Have you ever received a text from someone that sounded uncharacteristically curt? With remote work, there’s obviously more written communication going on. And with that, there’s more room for intentions being misunderstood. Now is the time to add in additional friendly emojis and happy exclamation points—show your coworkers your positive intentions. Also, try to give them the benefit of the doubt if their texts, emails, and messages seem harsher than their usual in-person communication. There’s a learning curve with showing the right intent in written form.
Tip #4: Prep All Food Prior to the Workday
When you work from home, it can be tempting to prep each meal on demand. Handling meals in that way can really cut into a break’s intended purpose: to relax and recharge. Respect your breaks and take time to prepare meals and snacks in advance. It will make your day a lot less stressful!
Adjusting to remote working conditions can be challenging. But, scheduling your day, creating a dedicated space to work in, being overly kind to your coworkers, and meal prepping in advance can help you conquer your day. And, dodge many of the roadblocks you may otherwise run into.