What does COVID-19 mean to you right now? For many, it means that schools are canceled, daycares are closed, and living rooms have replaced offices. Perhaps you’re wondering how you’re going to get anything done, how you’ll stay focused, and maybe even how you’ll stay sane. If working from home is out of your comfort zone, and you’re panicking about how to handle being at home for possibly the next month or more (especially if you have kids), check out these tips to help you effectively make it through with your sanity still intact.
1: Check the internet
If you have kids and need a way to keep them entertained, Pinterest and many other sites have tons of ideas to keep them busy with activities and new ways of learning, and many of them are free. A quick internet search will reveal virtual tours of museums, art classes for kids, and much more.
2: Try to plan around your kids’ schedule
If your kids are still of napping age, plan important calls during their nap time.
3: Set clear expectations
If your kids are old enough to understand, communicate clear expectations as to when they can come to you for something and when it can wait until later. And, be sure to reward them when they meet those expectations!
4: Keep a routine
Create a daily schedule for your children, and write it down. With a set routine, your children will know what to expect next, rather than constantly telling you they’re bored. For yourself, set some designated working hours. Don’t meander into your office space and turn on your computer at 10 a.m. and hope to have a productive day. You might miss out on something important, or get behind on your work.
5: Create a designated workspace
While you may (and should) stray from your workspace occasionally throughout the day, it’s important to have a designated area where you can be productive—and this space shouldn’t be your bed, your couch, or anywhere else where you will be easily distracted. Your work area should be quiet, so you can stay focused and organized while you concentrate on the work at hand.
Wherever you work, be sure not to sit all day. Prolonged sitting can drag you down and cause aches and pains. Get up and move every hour or so to get your blood flowing.
7: Communicate clearly and often with your manager
Your at-home tasks may be slightly different than what you can do in the office, so get clear expectations from your boss on what you need to be accomplishing while working from home.
8: Lift your mood
There are many ways you can improve your mood during this difficult time.
- When you need a break from your desk, take your laptop to your back deck or porch. The sunshine of a nice day will improve your mood, and increase your body’s production of vitamin C.
- Play music while you work. A daunting task won’t seem so bad while listening to your favorite playlist.
- Incorporate short workouts or meditations into your workday. A 15-minute yoga session can do wonders for the mind, body, and spirit.
9: Impress your boss
Take this opportunity to start a work project you’ve been thinking about. It can show your dedication to caring for the company, even during a stressful time.
10: Lean on technology
Use video-based communication tools, like Zoom or Skype, as much as possible. You will feel more connected to the company and your colleagues, and you’ll enjoy some of the in-office banter you might be missing.
11: Turn it off
At a decent time, put the phone down and close the computer.
Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean it’s a 24/7 job. Your computer isn’t the only thing that needs to recharge. Use your evenings to play outside with your kids, cook a meal with your family, clean out that closet you’ve wanted to organize for the last year, or take a relaxing bath.
While COVID-19 is temporary, if you are an owner or manager, it may be revealing where you need to adjust your sick leave, or create a plan in your employee handout for future situations. You never know when you could be in a similar predicament again. Good luck, and remember: This too shall pass!