The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most of us into government-imposed quarantine. Working from home is now an established norm, but many fail to readjust effectively. As a consequence, productivity drops and frustration rises. So what are the solutions that can help us keep motivated and achieve deadlines away from the office?
Being productive is key
Keeping busy doesn’t always mean being productive. This is especially true for those who are used to working in an office environment. While some thrive in the relative freedom of being their own boss, the fact is that most of us are pretty bad at time and resource management.
Make a schedule - and follow it!
Avoid the path of least resistance. While doing that pile of laundry may seem more attractive than meeting work deadlines, tasks must be prioritized. The best way achieve work efficiency is to create a to-do list. If you must do chores while working, limit them to simple tasks that can easily be completed in a 10-minute break such as starting a laundry load. Don’t start time-consuming chores like vacuuming the entire house.
By creating time constraints, objectives become clear, which can help manage expectations. Just because you don’t have office hours doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want whenever you want. Set boundaries for work start and stop time.
Create a permanent work space
We all fantasize on those picture perfect moments of doing spreadsheets on a laptop, snuggled up in a warm blanket on the sofa. But practically, you’ll be spending more time readjusting your posture, wondering where to put your coffee mug, and getting angry at that trackpad that won’t respond the way your mouse does.
If you don’t have a dedicated home office desk, create a modular work space on your kitchen table by placing items exactly in the same spot every day. You can then maximize productivity by reducing the time you spend looking for things while working in an ergonomically ideal position.
Social Distance Doesn't Mean Social Isolation
Social isolation is the main source of depression for most people. But in these difficult times of social distancing, seeing other humans around the office is a scarce to nonexistent resource. Thankfully, technology kept up with the times and many video conferencing applications are widely available. Ring up a colleague or a friend with a video chat over lunch – they might be just as lonely as you are!
Working at home is a challenge for most people used to an office routine. Some may have children, a distracting pet, or simply aren’t technologically inclined. No matter what the issue is, show compassion and empathize with their problems. Encourage them to do their best given the circumstances.
Readjust to new habits
We know this is not an easy time for anyone. It certainly isn’t for us either. But the new reality is that we all need to readjust our lives with new habits. We can retain some old ones, such as getting out of bed or having lunch at roughly the same times. But introducing new routines, such as taking a walk in the backyard or having a cup of tea on the balcony, can help rest the mind. Never underestimate the power of mental health.
This concludes our COVID-19 stay-at-home coverage. As a reminder, keep washing your hands often, disinfect everything you touch in public (such as shopping carts and door handles), and don’t go out unless absolutely necessary. The present-day heroes are those working in essential businesses and healthcare facilities. It is important to ensure that they can perform their job safely and effectively by avoiding the risk of getting infected ourselves. Every small contribution we do will help speed up our recovery process. We hope you do your part as well. Stay strong, and stay safe!