As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world, many companies are requiring their employees to work from home and within a matter of weeks our lives have been turned upside down - the ways we work, our homes, our culture, our families and friends, the list goes on.
Although this new paradigm brings many challenges, along with these challenges lies the opportunity for new perspectives to emerge. With the right mindset and state of being, you can stay productive and thrive while taking care of yourself and your loved ones.
If you’re not used to working from home, it can take some time getting used to the challenges it brings especially if you don’t have an organised workspace and where distractions can easily disrupt your productivity. After all, you are in your personal space not your professional environment. The children need feeding and let’s not forget their education! The house needs cleaning. The pile of washing is mounting. The dog needs walking. Plus, maybe you want to watch This Morning since you’re always in the office when it’s on.
One comforting thought in all this uncertainty is everyone’s in the same boat and although all of our situations are unique, there are steps we can all take to stay on top of our game, learn new skills, explore areas of personal growth and rethink parts of our life we wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
Let’s take a look at some important tips for maintaining productivity and working from home.
Designate a workspace. Make sure you have a specific area in your house designated to your work. It will help you focus on your professional outputs and obligations. You should only go to this designated area to work and you should leave it at the end of your working day just like you would the office.
Communicate. Communicating with your team members and across the business is essential. There are many digital tools available so you can stay connected. Some of our favourites are Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and WhatsApp. Set regular huddles with the team so you can share your current work plans and keep team members productively focused.
Set a Routine. Create a daily schedule and stick to it! It might help you to have the schedule visible to you. Try to keep to the routine you had before COVID-19 presented itself. If you woke up at 7am, continue to do so. Get dressed! If you used to go to the gym, replace with exercises – PE with Joe Wicks is at 9AM each day BodyCoachTV YouTube channel. Do your makeup or use this time to allow your skin to breath and treat it with face masks and creams.
Take frequent breaks. Taking breaks is crucial for our productivity and even more so, our sanity! Long hours in the office always welcomed a moment to step back and interact with our colleagues over a cup of a coffee but we no longer have this necessary fuel to get us through the working day. Add breaks into your schedule at home. Break to have lunch with your partner or children. Call a work colleague you would normally have a chit chat with over coffee. You can use Clockify, free software that tracks how long you’ve been on your computer.
Remember to laugh. We all know laughter is good for the soul and humour can help us cope with the fear and anxiety COVID-19 has unleashed. Mental healthcare professionals have been telling us for years that laughter soothes the nerves and relieves stress. When we have little control over our circumstances and environment, laughter and humour can help us gain control again.
Keep fit. You are now spending a large part of your life indoors and with the social distancing measures in place, there is little room to escape. However, you are allowed to go outside and exercise - breath in some fresh air and go for a walk or a run. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact, it relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.
Learn something new. Now is a great opportunity to learn a new hobby and connect with your passions and identity. Hobbies have also shown to improve productivity, physical and mental health. Here are a few ideas to make the most of your downtime: learn a new language, take up gardening, write a novel, practice yoga, learn to bake, learn a to play an instrument.