No matter where you work — remotely at home, in an office or digital-nomad style — the COVID-19 virus and subsequent social distancing have probably changed your work environment.
We predict that social distancing will prove to corporations how much more efficient it is to encourage employees to work from home. So prepare for your new remote office environment in the coming months! Here are a couple of best practices will help you stay productive (and sane) while you work from home.
Create (and Stick to) a Schedule
One of the hardest parts of working remotely is actually working. It’s too easy to wake up every morning, turn on the TV and finish the last season of “Game of Thrones.”
Even if you don’t have a full day of work every day, we recommend sticking to the same schedule every day. This means waking up, exercising and eating meals at the same time every day. Start by creating a simple morning routine that leaves you feeling refreshed and energized to take on the day.
We also recommend limiting the time you spend on social media or watching or reading the news. It’s super easy to get stuck in a cycle of social media right now as this is our only ‘social’ contact.
Instead of logging onto Facebook, we recommend scheduling Zoom calls with friends, hosting virtual happy hours and using tools like Slack to stay in touch with coworkers during this challenging time.
It’s more important now than ever to stay healthy. One service that is gaining traction throughout the COVID-19 crisis is virtual doctors. Like in-person medical professionals, these doctors can diagnose some symptoms virtually — without the fear they might be infected by the virus.
We hope this trend lasts after the crisis dies down. Virtual doctor visits can cut down on medical costs and prevent employees from missing work for doctor’s appointments.
It’s also important to get out into nature and exercise during this time. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t leave your house at all. Take a walk, a hike or a bike ride. Just don’t congregate with others on trails or sidewalks.
It’s also important to limit your alcohol consumption. It’s so easy to consider social distancing an extended vacation. We recommend enjoying a drink or two in the evening — or even in the afternoon if that works for you!
Just don’t overdo it. You don’t want to compromise your immune system and risk getting yourself or others sick.
Expand Your Virtual Network
If your job previously hasn’t forced you to network online, it’s time to broaden your horizons. Working From Home 101 is all about creating a community that you can call on — no matter where you are, physically.
Even if your job takes you back to an office in a few months, start networking online. This will help you stay sane during this time of social distancing, and it can help you create an entirely new group of virtual coworkers that’ll have your back.
In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, most companies are suspending all work-related travel. But what should you do if your job requires you to travel? What if you’re a digital nomad?
If your job requires you to travel, try to stay as safe as possible. Generally, travel is restricted to those who need to do so. Remain six-feet away from others, cough and sneeze into your elbow and practice good hygiene.
If you’re a digital nomad, choose a place to hunker down — and stay there. We get it. Airline prices are falling, and it’s tempting to book a flight. Cancel all non-essential travel, and book an Airbnb for the next month or two.
Create a Productive Workspace
There are two types of COVID-19 telecommuters right now: those who are used to working from home and those who are only working from home because their offices are temporarily closed.
You probably have a set schedule already if you’re used to working from home. Your biggest trial will be staying in your home. No more coffee shop coworking or trips to your local coworking space. We recommend switching it up by taking mini-breaks and walking around the house, going for walks outside or supporting local businesses by buying coffee from your corner bodega to get a change of scenery.
If you’re not used to working from home, you’ve probably realized (by now) how important a productive workspace can be.
Set up a home office (if you can) far away from the earshot of the rest of your household. Even if this office is only temporary, decorate it with photos of your loved ones, plants and mood lighting.
Set Boundaries With Family Members
If your entire household is stuck at home, we would recommend setting boundaries with other members.
Discourage your family from interrupting you while you work. Set ‘business hours’ and ask that you not be disturbed during these times. If you’re homeschooling your kids, set up school hours and stick to them.