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Since the beginning of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, several companies have enabled their employees to work from home to comply with the distancing measures currently in place. Although working remotely has many advantages - such as having more time for yourself in the morning - it is important to set good habits in order to continue working effectively while protecting your well-being. Now that you may have been working from home for a few weeks, here are a few tips to make sure you don’t fall off track.
Sharing parental responsibilities
If you have young children at home, take the time to share family chores fairly with your partner. To do this, establish a schedule every Sunday according to your responsibilities and your respective professional commitments. If your employers offer this possibility, arrange your schedule so that one parent is always available to care for the children.
If unexpected meetings are added to your calendar, quickly notify your partner to make sure that you will not be disturbed during this period. In the event of a scheduling conflict, suggest that your colleagues postpone your meeting to better accommodate you.
Establish a work schedule and stick to it
Even if your company offers you more flexible conditions during the crisis, dividing your working hours according to a fixed schedule will help you better structure your week and your tasks. It will also allow you to establish and maintain a lasting personal routine.
However, if you are more productive at certain times of the day, do not hesitate to adjust your schedule accordingly. For example, if you are not a morning person and you’re overflowing with energy in the evening, take advantage of this to organize your work hours according to your natural productivity.
Define a workspace
To help focus, limit distractions and create a psychological separation from your personal life. To achieve this, set up a space exclusively dedicated to work time. For example, you could set up your temporary workstation in a closed room or define the space with folding screens
Ideally, avoid working in a common and very busy area like the kitchen: where there many distractions. In addition, several sleep specialists do not recommend working in the bedroom, as this could cause or worsen an insomnia issue. As much as possible, the bedroom should be dedicated to rest and relaxation.
Finally, if you find yourself in video conferences, make sure that the background presents an orderly and professional environment.
Make sure you are properly set up
To work efficiently from home, it is obviously essential to have all the accessories and tools necessary to carry out your tasks (computer, headphones, keyboard, etc.). However, the importance of having a workstation that complies with basic ergonomic principles should not be overlooked either. To help you better organize your temporary office and avoid injuries, here are some reliable resources:
If you are missing accessories (e.g. a second screen), ask your employer if there are solutions available to prevent you from going to the office or unnecessarily buying additional computer equipment.
Keep in touch with your team
Isolation is one of the main disadvantages caused by working remotely. Maintaining a sense of belonging to a team is more difficult from a distance, especially during periods of confinement. Less frequent and more practical exchanges also contribute to neglecting the human dimension of interactions between colleagues.
To maintain a solid bond with your team and foster collaboration, you can:
- Plan lunches, coffee breaks or even virtual happy hours.
- Encourage interactions over the phone or by videoconference. Instant messages or emails are often perceived as more impersonal and can even lead to misunderstandings.
- Begin each conversation by discussing something other than work.
- Organize meetings to simply keep you informed of the progress of your projects.
For more tips on breaking through isolation during confinement, see these recommandations.
When working from home, it is easy to get into the habit of sitting in front of your computer for hours at a time. However, working without stopping is far from being as effective as one might think. As a matter of fact, not taking a break would decrease acuity, increase the level of stress and affect concentration. Take a few minutes per hour to take your mind off things and do some stretching. This will help clear your mind, but also to preserve your physical health and give your eyes a rest as well.
If the temperature is mild, go outside for a few minutes. This will not only give you a boost of energy - sometimes more than you need! - but also dispel the feeling of claustrophobia and isolation that could set in if you spend too much time indoors in the same place.
So, even if you feel like you have worked a little less, know that these invigorating breaks allow you to be a lot more productive!
Separate work from your personal life
When working from home, it is essential to clearly define the time spent on work and personal activities. It can be easy to get distracted and to feel at the end of the day that you have not progressed enough in your projects. On the other hand, the boundaries between the private and professional spheres could become blurred, and you could also end up feeling like you’re always working.
Organize your workday at home as if you were at the office. Prepare your lunch the night before, avoid doing household chores during the week, and put your mobile device aside to reduce distractions. If you feel like it, dress professionally, and dress in more comfortable clothes at other times.
And to avoid exhaustion and long-term demotivation, do not work outside your normal work schedule and do unnecessary overtime. If you tend to reply to emails at all hours of the day and night, turn off notifications on your cell phone and shut down your computer to make sure work doesn’t intrude on your personal life.
Be kind to yourself
In this situation that has completely turned our daily lives upside down, it is normal to be a little less efficient or motivated than usual. We are going through a particularly anxiety-provoking period, and many people may find it more difficult to manage their moods. Mental health specialists currently advocate an attitude centered on benevolence and compassion towards oneself. Remember that it’s completely normal not to be at your best, that productivity can be affected and, above all, that it is useless to blame yourself.
Don’t feel fit to work? Talk to your manager right away. Resting and taking the time to manage your emotions will have a significant positive impact on your overall well-being in the short and long term.
Useful sources and links
- The Health Benefits of Natural Light (and 7 Ways to Get More of It)
- Tips for safeguarding your mental health
- Working From Home Might Take A Toll On Your Mental Health
- Our writers share their best tips for working from home
- Helpful advice for how to work from home — together
- How coworkers are staying connected while they work from home
- Ergonomics and temporary work from home – COVID-19
- Getting Back Pain While Working From Home?
- When Home Becomes The Workplace