During the COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus) outbreak, many companies have made the decision to allow their employees to work from home. One week ago, my employer announced a voluntary work from home policy that may soon be upgraded to mandatory as the number of cases in Virginia continue to grow.
Between working from home and practicing social distancing, many of us will be spending a lot of time in the house. I’ve only been working from home for a few days and I’ve already learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to adjusting to this new temporary lifestyle. I’m making a conscious effort to be sure I remain productive during my days spent working from home and wanted to offer up a few tips to you on how to do the same. We’re all in this together!
Stick to your morning routine.
At some point, when this is all over, we will have to return to the office. As smooth and exciting as it was to make the transition to start working from home, you want to be sure that you’re sticking to your normal morning routine so that the transition back into the office is just as smooth. You may not have to get up as early, but I would still recommend setting the alarm for the same time every morning. Allow yourself time to make your bed, take a shower, brush your teeth, wash your face, and fix yourself a filling but healthy breakfast before it’s time to clock in.
Change out of your pajamas.
I know working from home in your pajamas sounds ideal, but this can also slow down your productivity if you’re a little too relaxed. Now, I’m not saying that you have to change into jeans or full-on office wear, but you should want to change into something that’s not comfortable enough to sleep in, but comfortable enough to work in.
Create a designated workstation.
Lucky for me, because of blogging, I already had a computer desk. Before working from home became an option, I was contemplating on actually getting rid of the desk because I wasn’t using it as much as I had in the past. However, I am so happy that I didn’t because now I have a designated workstation while working from home, which ensures that as long as I am at this desk, I am in work mode. Your workstation should be quiet, stress-free, and a place where you can focus. Check out my previous post on how to create the perfect workstation!
If you’re going to snack — snack healthy.
I was totally guilty of chip snacking when I first started this work from home thing. I cleared an entire bag of Spicy Nacho Doritos within the first two or three days. I thought I was living the life until I really started to settle into my work from home routine and thought, “Girl, no.” Between working from home and practicing self-quarantine during COVID-19, I know it’s going to be easy to put on those extra unwanted pounds, so I knew I had to stop chip snacking right away. So, I made another early morning store run and picked up healthier options like grapefruit, oranges, apples, yogurt, etc.
Even while in the office, my department started participating in a five-minute stretch program every day at 3:30p, which earns us each 100 vitality points each month. All we have to do is stand up at our desk and stretch for five minutes because we all know that sitting down for a long period of time can be tiring and rather unhealthy. While working from home, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to stretch and uncross your eyes!
Play soft music and light a candle.
I was unsure of how well I would adjust to working from home and wanted to make sure the ambiance made it easy to transition, so on the first day I lit a candle at my workstation and played soft music, which turned out to be a great idea. Increased productivity, reduced stress, increased focus, and an improved mood is just a few of the benefits of listening to soft music while working.
Take your scheduled lunch hour and 15-minute breaks.
Regardless of the new work from home policy, you should still be taking your scheduled lunches and breaks. Please do not work through your lunch hour. You have earned this time to step away from the computer and regroup. Yes, we should all be self-quarantining at this time, but this does not mean that you cannot at least go for a short walk to get some fresh air. Go get that second wind!