The COVID-19 pandemic caused a world-wide shutdown. Many companies were forced to send their employees home to work virtually. This sudden change within the workforce probably resulted in lots of adjustments for you and your family. Moving into a work-from-home environment is a new experience especially if your job was never designed to work from home. While there is not a cookie-cutter approach to remote work, there are some things to keep in mind as you deal with the changes:
- It will be a learning experience.
- Many things you try won’t work the first time.
- Things will sometimes not work or work differently than expected.
- It will require patience and adaptability.
To a certain extent, everyone who had to transition from an office to working from home is in the same boat. As time has passed, everyone’s situation is likely unfolding uniquely. Some have returned to the office full-time. Some are on a staggered or hybrid schedule. Some remain working from home full-time with no idea when they will return to their offices. Going about your new way of working can lead to positive shifts and growth. Continue reading to learn how you can stay at the top of your professional game during these unprecedented times.
5 Tips for Working from Home
- Get Dressed
- Find a Balance in Managing Updates & Email Overload
- Turn off your email notifications and manually check your emails three times a day (morning, mid-afternoon, and end of the day).
- Discuss how to reduce e-mail distractions with the people you report to and anyone who reports to you.
- Explain that by limiting the total number of interruptions in a day, the more able you are to focus on completing tasks.
- Get a User-Friendly Time-Management App
- Create “Work” & “Home” Boundaries
- Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
Casual dressing is a perk of working at home, but you still need to get “ready for work”. Creating and maintaining a daily routine that includes getting up and dressed for work helps to keep you on task. Also, if you are required to be on video calls and people can see you, you want to be prepared to take video calls on a moment’s notice. Getting dressed for work helps to mentally prepare you for the day.
The visits to your co-worker’s offices and water-cooler conversations have been replaced by phone calls, video chats, texts, instant messages, and emails. Below are a few suggestions to discuss with your supervisor about managing chatting, the increase in e-mails and workload (haven’t you noticed you are doing more work from home than you did in-office?)
Managing your own time can be difficult, but there are several support aids that can keep us organized and on track with deadlines. Of course, our e-mail calendars, but it is also helpful to use other technology like new apps and other non-traditional time-tracking aids. RescueTime is a cool app that beats most of the time management apps in the market right now. It has a unique way of working which lets you know how much time you are spending on which things. In other words, this app will tell you how much time you spent on your different tasks. LinkedIn Learning also has a range of classes on Working from Home, such as: Time Management: Working from Home and Working Remotely: Become a Successful Remote Worker. A simple but certainly not overlooked thing that many people helpful is setting alarms and timers on their phones and watches.
Separate your work and personal time. When you are working from home, It is important to categorize work time from personal time so some distance can be put between when you are “at work” and when you are “at home.” Sometimes it is not as easy as it sounds, but it can be done, if you make a realistic and personalized schedule.
Preventing the compulsion to work around the clock is important so make sure you set boundaries on your work hours. Working from home can put you in a comfort zone. Being in a relaxed environment it is easy to think it’s okay to check e-mails at odd hours. Working during non-work hours can cause problems like you doing work during hours you are not going to get paid for. It can also lead to resentment and burnout. Working around the clock can also take a toll on your family.
When working from home, it is imperative that you Identify what’s important, what’s urgent, and what’s neither. This is especially important if you have small or school-aged children. This is another reason why it is important to stay in communication with your supervisor. Life happens but you should always keep your supervisor updated with the goings on in your life if it could possibly affect your work productivity.
Let’s face it, no one could have prepared for this change of day-to-day life. The good thing is we can make the most of it. You like many others may find yourself living a life that feels like a snow day that never ended or an extended summer break. It takes time to get used to the new normal, so give yourself time to adjust to your new work life. Give yourself a pat on the back for your abilities and work on finding your work-life balance.
Remember, we’re all in this together.