The coronavirus pandemic has led many companies to have employees work from home in adherence to calls from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to practice social distancing. Gov. Brian Kemp has also issued a shelter-in-place order and Fulton County has ordered residents to stay at home.
While remote work has become more popular in recent years, concerns about COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has made it much more commonplace.
However, not everyone has been part of that common work environment. Here are some tips for how to work from home.
Dress the part
As tempting as it is to work in your pajamas, it may harm your productivity. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology indicated employees do better on work tasks when they wear clothes that have “symbolic meaning.”
“Although a dress code may seem silly when you think about working from home, work clothes impact you on a business and personal level and can affect your career,” workplace expert and author Mason Donovan told Fast Company.
Establish a dedicated workspace
Much like dressing the part, employees should also have a work area that they devote to their 9-5 tasks, which experts say will aid in productivity.
“Your brain makes associations with different parts of your home (kitchen for cooking, dining room table for eating, desk for working, bed for sleeping, etc.), so it behooves you to have a specially created space that your brain associates with working only,” said Rachel Ann Dine, L.P.C. of Humanitas Counseling to Prevention magainze.
Stick to regular hours
It’s important that you start and end work when you usually would at the office — at least, as much as possible — to avoid overwork.
“Cutting out the commute makes me feel much more productive with my day,” said Hong-Kong-based Bloomberg cross-asset reporter Eric Lam to the media outlet. “But on the other hand, it sometimes does not feel like you’re actually done with work when your working hours are up. So it’s important to know when to get up and turn it off.”
Embrace instant messaging and video chats
Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean it has to feel isolated. It’s important to still engage with your colleagues even when you can’t stop by their desk or talk to them in the cubicle behind you.
“Instant message or video call a colleague you haven’t had a chance to chat up with in real life for a while," marriage and family therapist Michelle Lozano, L.M.F.T., told Bustle. “This can check two boxes of keeping you socializing, but also keeping up with connections that are valuable. My partner who is a consultant that frequently works from home calls these ‘water cooler convos.’”
When working at home, it could be more important than usual to take a few minutes away from sitting in front of the computer. Take a moment to play with your four-legged co-worker or read a passage from a book.
“Take small, meaningful breaks to recharge,” Lucas D. Saiter, M.H.C.-L.P., a Manhattan-based associate psychotherapist, told Prevention. He added that meditating or a walking outside “have been very effective.” Saiter also noted that taking some time away “to do things you enjoy can significantly recharge you.”
Make a to-do list
Having a list of tasks that need to be completed helps you keep track of what you’ve done and aids in prioritization.
One way to do that is to use your laundry as a timer, as suggested on the blog of marketing and sales software company Hubspot. Start something on your list before changing a load and make sure it gets finished before the washing or drying cycle ends.
Working from home could mean lots of distraction if you have children or needy pets.
Alex Millson, a Bloomberg news desk editor in Hong Kong, told the outlet his method for blocking out the noise.
“Noise. Canceling. Headphones,” he said He added that recently, he purchased a set of AirPods Pro, “which are great at drowning out the playgroup we host once a week and other close-quarters distractions.”
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