Granted working from home isn’t bad every once and a while, but due to COVID-19, it might start sending you into a frenzy. Don’t worry — following a few simple steps will help you be even more successful than you would at the office.
Here are some tips and tricks that’ll help keep you on the ball with work from your couch.
1. Dress the part
Of course, everyone dreams of lounging back in their PJs all day while working at home, but in reality, when you don’t “dress for success” you won’t end up that successful. “If I just stayed in my pajamas the whole time I worry that my work would get sloppy since I may or may not be feeling lazier than usual,” said Lindsey Goedert, product and SEO Manager at Meredith Corporation. So, in simpler terms: Dress to kill it at your job.
2. Create your desk space
Rather than settling for your couch and coffee table in front of your TV as your makeshift desk, make an organized desk space as you would have at work. “My desk looks basically the same as my desk at work since the IT team allowed us to take both of our monitors home to work with. This has been the most helpful thing in keeping up my productivity,” Goedert said. Having technology at home will create a huge difference in your work habits. “The only difference is now my pooch can curl up next to me all day–major win,” Goedert said. Add a cup of coffee to that and it sounds like a win-win.
3. Schedule out your day–and write it down
Just because you work at home now, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a free for all. Unfortunately, jobs come with deadlines that don’t change even when the world gets hit by a global pandemic. “My meetings and projects have not stopped coming in so I need to make sure I’m balancing it all correctly,” Goedert said, “Lunch is still at my normal time but a new addition to my day is a quick walk around the block to keep me level headed throughout the day.” Plus, getting in a quick workout like walking or running will help break up your day a bit.
4. Stay informed and communicate
Communication AKA one of the major keys to succeeding in any job, and working from home means you need to put forth a little more effort to keep your co-workers and managers up to date on what’s going on. Over communicating during times like these is better than doing the bare minimum, and you can still make it fun. “We have added two weekly video calls to our schedule: An optional, fun, happy hour at the end of the week where we can all chat about non-work things and a morning coffee meeting early in the week to let our team know about fun things happening during everyone’s quarantine,” Goedert said. Instead of Starbucks runs with your co-workers, you’ll have to settle with virtual coffee runs from home via your kitchen.
5. Don’t overwork yourself
Of course, you want to be productive, but working the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. when you typically work an eight to five job isn’t it. Make sure to stay on task and remain productive so you don’t end up doing unpaid overtime. Also, take the much needed mental breaks. Go for walks, do some stretches or yoga; do something that you enjoy doing that will help break up your day. Then, when you get back to your desk, refocus, and get the job done!
6. Stick to a routine
Going to bed at 2 a.m. and waking up at 10 a.m. might not fly too high with your boss if your project deadline is first thing in the morning. So, make sure you’re still keeping a regular sleep schedule so you can continue positive work habits. Also, while the need to nap tempts everyone, try not to take irregular naps throughout the day. Longer naps can sometimes make it harder to fall asleep at night.
7. Create lists
Make a list of things you want to complete for the day. Or if that’s too specific for you, make a list of things you need to accomplish by the end of the week. However, the more specific you make your lists, the more likely you’re going to get it done. Write down all mandatory projects, meetings, and other miscellaneous work that you need to get done so you can keep your eye on the prize.
Since you’re just chilling at home it might not seem like a big deal if you take your meeting notes all around the house, but if you misplace them then you might find yourself in panic mode. To save yourself the hassle, keep everything work-related in organized folders and keep them on your desk. That way when you go to look at them later, you know exactly where to find them.
9. Get creative
When you’re not spending time glued to your computer or jumping from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting, find something new to do. Put together a puzzle, tie-dye (color or bleach, your choice), color, watch an old childhood movie or whatever else your heart desires. Just make sure you’re giving yourself that time to wind down from the workday.
Since toilet paper is out of the question, let’s just focus on stocking up on some healthy, energizing snacks to have on hand. Sitting at a desk in your own home can be exhausting and draining alone, so instead of reaching for those potato chips, grab a snack-size bag of almonds or trail mix for an extra boost of energy. Working from home definitely isn’t ideal, especially if you’re not used to it. But, if you have a solid routine that creates time and space throughout your day for yourself, it isn’t half bad. Also, don’t forget to check up on your work bestie during these unpredictable times. Set up a coffee date via Facetime. Most importantly stay safe, stay healthy and do what you gotta do to stay sane.