To help slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, companies right across the globe have banded together, asking their employees to flip the switch on their everyday life and commit to a new normal: working from home.
But whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a complete rookie to the #WFHlife, there are a number of simple things you can do to take some of the sting out of what can be a huge shake-up to your routine, particularly at a time where we’ve got the added mental load of social distancing and self-isolation.
Stick to a routine
What’s not to love about working from home? You can sleep in a little longer, save a tonne of time on travel, and can even work in your own bed! Well, as fun it all sounds, until you’ve actually nailed the #WFHlife, it’s these sorts of perks that can actually end up setting you back on your productivity and make work feel like it’s piling up on you.
To avoid falling into this trap and make the most out of your work days, it’s important to stick to your regular routine. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not easy when you can hear your bed calling your name for a midday siesta, but it NEEDS 👏 TO 👏 BE 👏 DONE 👏.
Start by implementing at-home work hours that reflect your usual office routine, for instance, 9am-5pm. That doesn’t mean rolling out of bed at 8:58am, brushing your teeth and hopping on Zoom! It means getting up at your regular time, following your favourite online workout, coming home, jumping in the shower, having your favourite brekky and THEN hopping on for your 9am work WIP.
Continue that pro-flow by structuring the rest of your day. Whether that means downloading a digital planner to jot down all your meetings and tasks, or writing down a good ol’ fashioned to-do list, it’s important to outline your daily and weekly goals to give you that extra push and motivation (and make sure you’re not falling behind).
Dress for success
Speaking of routine – unless it’s Wear Pajamas to Work Day (P.S. it’s this month!), don’t wear pajamas to work. Dress for success when you wake up to break yourself out of that holiday mode mindset and shift gear into work mode. You don’t have to suit up like Barney Stinson, but putting on clothes you feel comfortable and confident in will help bring some normality into your day and get you ready for victory.
Our favourite dress code right now consists of activewear, cosy linen and basically anything warm and fluffy.
Location, location, location
We touched on it briefly, but leave the bed behind ya! Avoid all the temptation, laziness and distractions that come with working in your bedroom by focusing all that energy into finding your perfect WFH location. Putting the time into finding and setting up your space will take your productivity levels from zero to hero, so make sure you take it seriously.
If you live with family or friends that are also working from home, it’s a good idea to create a communal working space (keeping that 1.5m distance in place, obvs) because working alongside others can help boost your concentration levels as it’s a team effort to keep each other motivated to stay on track. For our introverted friends, find a private area to become your safe space away from any distraction zones where you can focus on your work.
Another hot tip is to ask your employer if you’re able to take home your work chair, desk or anything else that helps you settle into working from home. You’d be surprised (or probably not) to find out that your $20 chair just ain’t gonna cut it when you’re spending the majority of your time in it.
A wise someone once said, “Communication is key” – and they’re not wrong. When working from home, it’s incredibly easy to keep to your own little bubble and forget that you’re actually part of a team when they aren’t physically present. But don’t worry, the pressure isn’t all on you; staying connected throughout such a disconnected time is a team effort!
First things first, make sure everyone is aware of the core business hours. While everyone might work differently, these are the hours when everyone is 100% contactable – whether that be via text, call or messenger bird. Whenever you’re out for lunch or in a meeting, set a status or send out notifications so your work mates don’t have to play hide and seek with you.
Use an internal communication tool, with channels set up for various teams and topics, making it feel like you’re right there in the office. If you’re a better verbal communicator (or really just miss your work-spouse), consider video calls instead of instant messaging to get that face time in!
Lastly (and arguably, most importantly) keep work traditions alive with events like virtual Friday drinks to make sure everybody still feels in the loop and like we’re all in this together.
Treat yo’ self
If you’re feeling a little Cabin Fever-ish, hold off on calling the doctor because we’ve got the antidote: a little TLC. Your mental health is the number one priority throughout all of this, so don’t let it slip. If you’re a notorious gym junkie, jump on YouTube and find the perfect workout playlist to keep you active in your backyard. If smoothies and acai bowls take you to your happy place, purchase pre-mixed packs from your local grocer and make your own for lunch. You might even find that something as simple as remembering to take regular breaks from your screen and allowing your mind to switch off for a little will help tremendously. Whatever it is that makes your life feel as regular and routine as possible, find a way to do it that works with the current social climate and just roll with it.
Above all, remember that this #WFHlife is just temporary for most of us. It may not be what you had planned for 2020, but you can definitely get through it!