Amidst the concern over COVID-19, a growing number of people have had to ditch their office and start performing their job from home. While this might seem like a dream for some, the reality is that working from home isn’t for everyone. And when you do it for an extended period of time, you can quickly realize that your morale has started to fade. After all, working from home is no vacation (though you might want to plan one for yourself when this is all over).
The pitfalls of working from home
Working from home seems like heaven until you actually start doing it. This is primarily because you are typically kept to the same standards from when you worked in the office; this can be difficult when you’re struggling to adapt to working in a new environment. Worse yet, establishing a regular schedule is even more difficult when your body and mind cannot use your morning commute to get ready for the day. Studies have shown that our regular morning routine is vital to preparing for work. Everything from brushing your teeth to putting on clothes to getting angry at that red light can help separate your personal life from your work life.
At home, it’s tempting to roll out of bed and log onto your computer in your pajamas. But most tips for successfully working from home will tell you otherwise. Sure, you’ll go through some of the motions of your morning routine — like caring for your pet and making breakfast — but making that final transition from work to home is harder when the lines are blurred.
On top of that, many people simply aren’t used to working from home. There are countless distractions and coworkers aren’t able to effectively communicate over group messengers and Skype. While unified communications systems will help your company cope with the varying needs of your customers, internal communications will need adjusting when everyone works from home for the first time. When something goes wrong, you can’t just walk up to a coworker to get advice. This could slow down your momentum and take you out of the flow state that you need in order to work effectively.
To top it all off, most of us are increasingly worried about the state of the world because of this crisis. Many of us are worried about getting sick or seeing our loved ones get sick from this respiratory illness. Suddenly having to work from home is the rancid cherry on top of an already stressful situation. Even if you have access to medical care, that doesn’t mean that your best friend or grandmother is in the same situation. All you can do right now is work hard and try to take care of yourself from the comfort of your own home.
If you find that you’ve lost the morale to keep working from home, rely on these tips for successfully working from home.
Establish a comfortable — and private — working space
Working from home should be similar to working from the office: you should have a designated work area that’s separate from the comfortable areas of your life. For example, working from the couch might make you feel like you’re still at work, even when you finally clock out for the day. Without a healthy, separate workspace, your work life and personal life might start to mingle in ways you never expected — and never wanted in the first place.
One of the best tips for successfully working from home is establishing a regular office space. This can take the form of a desk or a spot at the kitchen table that isn’t used very often. Wherever you choose, you should realize that as soon as you sit down, it’s time to work.
You can help make this space feel more professional by bringing over your work tools and setting up some casual decor. Art design in offices is essential for boosting employee morale and the same can be said for those working from home. Make your workspace enjoyable to be in, otherwise, you will feel like work is dragging on forever. That’s one of the many reasons people invest in stylish calendars, notebooks, and planners instead of generic, boring options.
If you find that your workspace could use some sprucing up, there are plenty of options for delivery online. Many essential establishments are also still open to the public while others are struggling to keep their doors from closing for good. If you want to support your local businesses, try looking for a local arts camp that is selling their pieces for additional income. You can also ask friends and family for recommendations if you can’t decide which business you should support. Not only will this decision make your workplace more habitable, but it will also help local businesses continue to thrive throughout this crisis.
The final touch to establishing a workspace you love is clearing out any distractions. Sure, a cute toy is a great decoration, but having your handheld video game system nearby might be too tempting to ignore. Clear away as much clutter as you can to solely focus on your job. When you discover that you’re working in a more productive environment, your flow will only continue to improve. Decoration tips for successfully working from home can really go a long way.
Get some new tools
Not everyone is equipped to handle working from home. While you might have been able to bring in your computer from the office, this doesn’t mean that you’re prepared to set up shop at home. Before you start working from home, be sure to invest in a few essential tools.
These tools might include a powerstrip to handle the increased workload or a desk lamp to keep you awake well into the evening. These tips for successfully working from home will vary from person to person, but you might also want to invest in a new coffee machine to keep your energy up throughout the day. Many people don’t realize how many cups they are consuming as the never-ending stream of coffee flows endlessly at the office. Getting a coffee maker or an electric kettle for caffeinated black tea might be the perfect midday jolt of energy you need to power through the rest of the day.
Find ways to relax after work
Transitioning from work to home is another problem newfound remote workers cope with. Just like commuting to work in the morning can help you prepare to work hard, commuting home after work can help you wind down for the evening. One of the best tips for successfully working from home is to relax when you can.
It’s not uncommon for remote workers to feel like they are always in “work-mode” as they work from home. Try going on a brisk walk when you clock out to “reset” your schedule. When you enter the house again, it can feel a lot more welcoming than it did while you were still working.
You can also use your free time to invest in some new hobbies. Make some art or find other ways to be productive. That way, you won’t just feel like you’re in a never-ending cycle of work, eat, sleep while you wait for the coronavirus scare to blow over.
You might want to take on a pet project, like cleaning up your yard for the spring. Rake up any debris from the winter and try to plant some new flowers if you can. Keep in mind that the best tree removal services should be called right now if you want to beat the crowd. By the time you can have people over to your home again, your lawn will be a welcome site for barbecues and more.
Another common pet project to take on are home improvement projects. Not everyone is a remodeling contractor at heart, but it’s not so hard to build that shelving unit or change that lightbulb that you have been putting off. Save the truly hard work for when you can call a remodeling contractor to get the job done right. In the meantime, perform little tasks throughout the house to make it feel more welcoming during this period of social distancing.
Keep in mind that it’s perfectly okay to not be productive after work, too. Performing these projects are great if you’re in the right state of mind, but this is a stressful time: if you want to order some takeout and watch Netflix all night, this form of self care can be essential. If you live in a state that has legalized recreational marijuana, you can even opt for cannabis delivery to help calm your nerves. Surprisingly enough liquor stores and cannabis shops are still open to serve the public, and a growing number of these shops are offering delivery options in the midst of this public health crisis. If you’re too anxious to leave your home, cannabis delivery, food delivery, and even grocery delivery can help you live normally without putting yourself — and others — at risk.
When you’re working from home, there are few coworkers to distract you from your job (unless you’re counting Fido). However, these small conversations by the water cooler or when you bring the trash out to the dumpster are key for boosting employee morale. It helps you feel connected to your job. Otherwise, you might just feel like a cog in the machine.
Try to schedule breaks as needed. After all, you wouldn’t be glued to your chair at the office. If you’re finding it difficult to break away from the computer, try scheduling in five or 10-minute breaks in your calendar. It might seem like a pointless endeavor, but you’ll soon realize that getting up and walking around every hour or so is vital to your productivity — and mental health. Investing in breaks and talking to coworkers more are just two tips for successfully working from home.
You might even find that scheduling an out-of-office virtual happy hour can help you feel more connected. After all, these are the people you see every day. To go so long without chatting can make your whole life feel out of whack. Log onto Skype or Zoom or Google Hangouts on a Friday night to sip a beer with a coworker. You would be surprised to discover how cathartic it can be to chat with coworkers after-hours.
There’s no magic formula to make working remotely perfect. But these tips for successfully working from home can certainly help. When you’re stuck feeling like your morale is waning, try these tips for successfully working from home.