During this unprecedented time due to the Coronavirus, many of us find ourselves working (or learning) from home. At first, you may have thought it would be nice to work in your PJs or sweats, eat comfort food and watch the news while you get on the computer (mostly to shop), but you’ll quickly realize it’s hard to be productive from home.
So how can we make sure we’re being productive while working from home? Well, first, get up, get dressed (out of those PJs) and get started early. An early morning can jump start your productivity for the rest of the day. One of the bonuses of this is that you’ll have an even longer day to be productive, but also, Forbes says that early risers are more proactive and better planners. Why not get into a good habit during our time away from the office?
Second, designate a place in your home to be your work space. When you’re in that designated space, you need to be focused on work. Pretend that this space really is your office, because it is right now. Make sure this space isn’t somewhere you enjoy your leisure time, because that time is for you to relax! Create an office area in your home so that you can be as productive as possible.
Stay productive by taking advantage of technology. For example, use video conferencing, instant messaging and other ways to communicate with the people in your office. You can ask each other for tips, communicate about what you’re working on, and stay connected in general to increase productivity. There’s lots of programs that allow productive, remote working environments to thrive (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc.). We have technology to help us, so let’s use it!
Avoid distractions. If you have a TV playing in the background, don’t let it be a distraction. Keep the volume low. If music soothes you, consider playing soft jazz or classical music while you work. I like Amazon Music's spa station.
Now, I realize there are several folks working from home while their children are also home. That certainly poses a different challenge for those who have young children. You may have to limit your hours to early morning, nap time or late evening. That's what one of our staffers is doing now. Hopefully your employer will work with you on your own personal situation.
Try to maintain your work (or class) schedule and hours. This gives you a start and end time to finish for the day. Sure, you may want to adjust those hours now that you don’t have a commute but try to stay on target and available to others during your workday. Don’t let your work life spill over into your personal life during this time when the two seem intertwined. Working from home is hard enough, let yourself keep a regimented schedule to separate them as much as possible!
During uncertain times, it’s important to stay positive. Attitudes are contagious too. When working with your co-workers, boss or clients, try to remain positive and on the work topic. Your attitude is important, and we all need to stay positive as best we can in this tough situation.
Finally, while working from home and keeping our social distance, you may want to think about ways to support local businesses in your area that are open. Many restaurants have pickup and delivery service available. You can also buy a gift card from your favorite local businesses for that upcoming birthday, anniversary, etc. Let’s do our best to support each other as best we can.
THANK YOU to those in the field!
It’s important that we acknowledge the people working on the front lines of this pandemic: the health care workers, government leaders, pharmacies, grocery store staff, truck drivers and delivery personnel.
These workers are working overtime in this time. They do not have the option to work from home as they are busier than ever trying to help us. We thank you for your dedication and determination to help our communities through this crisis. We’re praying for all of you.
Stay safe, stay home and we’ll get through this. Well, that’s all I have for now.
A special thanks to Lizzi Riordan who helped with this blog.