As the Coronavirus pandemic sets in and more and more of us work from home, what can we do to stay productive and keep up feelings of connectedness with colleagues? For some it’s just like any normal week, but for others it’s a new phenomenon.
Whether you are self-isolating or social distancing here are some tips on how to keep morale and productivity high over the coming months.
- Keep to your normal routine
With no morning commute to battle and without the watchful eye or your team/manager checking the time you turn up to the office, it can be tempting to sleep in and get some extra zzz’s. Keep to your normal routine – get up at the same time and get dressed as you normally would. It’s tempting to take work calls from your PJs in bed, I know, but you will feel better for getting dressed! Take breaks throughout the day and shut the laptop down at the end of the day as you would if you were in the office. Also remember it’s not a holiday or weekend so try to stick to your normal evening bed routine too.
- Set Boundaries
Let’s face it, we live in a digital age and are always connected. It makes it very hard to switch off. Working from home can make it that much harder to switch off – the temptation to send another email or just do one more task can see us working late into the evening. This is especially true if you are self-isolating and are using work as a form of entertainment. Try to stick to your normal schedule as much as possible and set a time to shut the laptop and work phone down each day.
If there are other people in the house, set times for work and time for family/friends. Communicate with your children that you are working even though you are at home and seek help from family members to look after them whilst you are ‘at work’. If you live with friends, find somewhere quiet in the house to work and ask that you are not disturbed whilst you are in this location.
- Find time for physical activity
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you need to be tied to your desk and stuck inside all day. The gyms may be closed but there are plenty of other options for keeping up the fitness routine. Exercise is proven to boost our mood, productivity and improve morale so it’s important that we keep moving. There are plenty of home workouts available online on both YouTube and Instagram that are suitable for people or all ages and fitness levels that can be done both indoors or in the garden/park. Going for brisk walks, a gentle jog or run, a bike ride or perhaps even roller blading (you never know it may make a comeback!) are great ways to keep moving whilst also getting out of the house and into nature. Be sure to find at least 20 minutes on 5 or more days a week to be active.
- Stay Connected
If you are used to having frequent interactions with colleagues, clients or customers, working at home may result in you feeling isolated during the day. Rather than substituting in-person meetings for emails, messaging or phone calls, try suggesting video meetings – Zoom and Google Hangouts are popular business communication Apps. Seeing someone in person can help create a sense of connectedness even though you are not together.
If you would normally grab a coffee late morning or mid afternoon, try suggesting to team mates that they do so at the same time and have a virtual coffee break together – you can keep the conversation topic the same as if you were in the office.
The same applies to contact with friends and family – try substituting phone calls or messages for video calls. Seeing the other person’s face can help lift spirits for both people.
- Create a calming work environment
When setting up your home office try to find a space that is not in your bedroom, is well ventilated, has natural light and is away from any distractions. Your bedroom is a place to rest, unwind and sleep so try to keep it as such. When setting up your work-station find a desk and chair that gives you the same set-up as at work. Elbows and knees should be bent at 90 degrees, the monitor (assuming you are not using a laptop) should be fingertip distance away and feet flat on the floor. Remember to keep good posture too – back straight and eyes looking forward, not down at the screen. The right set up now will help prevent any future musculoskeletal problems from occurring in future.
Author: Laura Stembridge, MSc, CEO InsideOut