Working from home is not a new concept for industries that operate globally. Such teams have had instances where they have worked outside office hours from their homes in order to ensure around the clock deliveries to customers. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we're now working from home for a longer time period and all of us are in this together, no matter where we are in the world.
Just like any one of us, you may have felt strange and anxious in these past couple of weeks as we’ve moved away from our regular routines. Here are some tips to stay productive and sane:
Set up a dedicated space to focus on work:
This can be anywhere you feel comfortable around the house. Some of us may be okay working amidst noise and distractions while some may prefer a quiet surrounding. Take your pick and select a spot. This will be your “home office” until it’s safe to return to our offices.
Don’t forget to take breaks:
In times when we are not commuting to work, meeting work colleagues in the cafeteria or gaming areas, or simply walking around to get to meeting rooms, we may end up sitting in one spot for prolonged durations. This is not healthy and will hamper your productivity.
Apply the Pomodoro Technique and work for a 25 minutes stretch, then take a 5 minutes break to walk around the house, make a snack, step outside for fresh air or perhaps just opt for a quick workout to boost serotonin levels. The idea is to work in 25-minute chunks and pair them with a 5 minutes break to relax and stretch. After four such cycles, you get to take a longer break. This is a simple, yet powerful, technique to keep you motivated.
Set out time after regular work hours for house chores:
Don’t be distracted by personal tasks like cooking or laundry and work for the regular 8 hours like you would on any other day in office. Set out time for chores after the workday is over. If you keep overlapping your domestic chores and office work, you’ll be fatigued. If you’re living with family, utilize breaks to catch up with them over coffee or lunch and you’ll be invigorated when you get back to your “work desk”.
Eat well to boost your immunity:
It’s easy to be tempted to indulge in boredom/stress eating and consume lots of junk food. But in order to stay healthy, it’s best to eat clean to boost your immunity. Consume healthy snacks throughout the day to keep yourself going. These can include fruits like berries and oranges that are high in vitamin C, nuts, dates, fortified cereals and some dark chocolate as a treat. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated!
Stay connected with co-workers:
While you’re working remotely, there’s no need to feel disconnected with your team when you can make use of the available collaboration solutions like Teams or Yammer. Schedule regular video calls to stay in contact with your colleagues as the virtual socializing will help with teamwork and you can motivate each other to keep pushing. You may be in quarantine, but please don’t allow yourself to feel isolated.
Don’t be distracted by news circulating on social media:
In times of information overload, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and depressed with the excessive COVID-19 news. Not everything being reported is true, so it’s best to limit your intake of news and only rely on official health ministry sites. Consuming too much information would needlessly put you under further stress and limit your ability to work productively.
Last but not the least, take this one day at a time.
Always keep in mind that nothing can hold you back. You can rise above all challenges - life may be tough in these unprecedented times, but you’re tougher!
Until this time passes, it is best to stay home, not just for your own safety, but also to keep the more vulnerable people around you safe. Let’s keep the curve flattened!