If you’ve joined the legion of employees who have been told to work remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be having to make some adjustments to your day-to-day living. Working from home can bring plenty of pleasant perks to your life, but it can also be hard to restructure your schedule—especially if you share a home with family, roommates, or pets.
It’s difficult to achieve the satisfaction of productivity when you’re out of your groove, so compiled here are a few tips for those new remote workers out there who are getting used to working and living in the same space.
Many people have built going to the gym into their commuting routine. Time allotted for exercise is often built into traveling to or coming from the office. If you’re no longer leaving your house to go to work, you may struggle to reintegrate physical activity into your schedule.
Even if it takes a little bit of getting used to, it’s important that you find a new time slot and set it aside for exercise. In the short term, the change of pace (pun intended) will improve your focus and mood. In the long run (pun also intended), maintaining an exercise regimen will help you stay healthy.
This is the fun part—it doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you get as long as you get some. If you’re temporarily working remote, now’s a great time to pull out those Tae Bo VHS tapes or hop on that dusty spin bike in the garage. When you return to work, you can return to your normal routine—but for now, embrace the change and give your health the attention it deserves.
Take meals seriously.
When you’re working from home, it’s common to forgo meals or eat at your desk. It’s also likely that most everyone’s face-to-face lunch dates have been canceled, which makes diminishing the importance of mid-day meals even easier. This is more reason to take lunch seriously while you are working from home. Taking a break from work and setting aside a time to regroup, eat something healthy, and hydrate will boost your morale and keep some sort of work-home border alive.
Sharing a space with multiple living beings can get tricky—no matter if you’re working from home or not. If you and your cohabitees are all at home at the same time now, things may get a little… tense.
Ease the house vibe by having a conversation about expectations and schedules. If this is your first time working remote, this means that two very separate worlds are colliding, and structure is necessary to the success of both. Give things some time to shake out and handle conflicts with grace, but also voice your needs regarding time and space early on so you can remain healthy, happy, and productive.
Set up your space.
Speaking of space, remember how much you hated how cold the office was? Or how Collin from Accounting never got the memo about not microwaving fish? Well, now you work from home and it’s hot as heck and it still smells like fish because your roommate only eats tuna because they’re on a keto diet.
What’s a remote worker to do?
As in all facets of life, we aim to control the things we can and make peace with the things that are outside of our realm of control. You probably can’t ask your roommate to come out of ketosis for your own personal comfort, but you can make sure that your workspace is clean, functional, and comfortable. These are things that are very much in your control and will have a substantial impact on your WFH experience.
Here’s a quick checklist to go over while setting up your space:
- Make sure your equipment is functional.
- Make sure your seating is comfortable and ergonomically correct.
- Minimize distractions by decluttering anything in your immediate surroundings that is not useful or meaningful.
Shared office space allows for collaboration in a way that working from home negates. Working near actual humans allows for unscripted and unplanned teamwork and cooperation—which is where many of our best ideas come from. To substitute for this time, utilize your office’s IM system to ping coworkers periodically to see how things are going and have some natural conversation about your workday, pending projects, current events, and so forth.
Doing this will also help alleviate some feelings of isolation that may start to crop up if remote work is new to you.
Take an internet break.
This specific suggestion is primarily prudent to the current situation. Many of us now working remotely were encouraged to do so with very little preparation. Times are truly stressful and we’re all in it together.
One of the best ways to help regain your productivity and give yourself a mental refresh is to take a break from the internet. Close your web browser, tell your team, delete some apps… do whatever you need to do to feel sufficiently unplugged.
If this isn’t an option for you, approaching your internet use with mindfulness is an additional recommended suggestion. If you’re feeling stressed while scrolling, put down the phone, breathe, ask yourself: “Is this adding value to my life right now?”, and—depending on the answer—proceed in a way that you believe would best suit your health and happiness.
Prioritize Your Mental Health
Now is a very important time to prioritize your mental health. Anxiety and stress are innately connected to our physical health and wearing down your mental fortitude can weaken your immune system. Many therapists offer online services and can provide important insight during times of stress and tribulation. It’s okay to admit that right now might feel uncertain and unnerving. Seeking someone to talk to is a good way to help ease your concerns and stay present and productive in your work and home life.
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