It’s no doubt that Covid-19 has had severe repercussions on the work world as we know it. Many supermarkets and convenience stores have 6-feet social distancing markers. Most restaurants only operate through curbside pickup and delivery. Nearly every office job has their employees working remotely. Followed by a slew of companies adjusting work options throughout Covid-19, Twitter and Square recently announced an alternative for employees to work from home forever.
While food distributors and retail companies slowly open up their establishments as cities move closer to reopening, it’s still unclear how long other non-essential businesses have to keep their employees out of the office.
This new reality has tested the efficiencies of the work-from-home (WFH) force, which makes up 37% of U.S. workers. Before Covid-19, companies with friendly WFH policies saw reduced turnover, improved employee productivity, and lower organizational costs, according to a Harvard study. However, employees who work better in an office workspace may find difficulties adjusting to this new normal.
If you’re experiencing newfound worries and anxiety working remotely in this lockdown season, we’re here to help! We pooled together our favorite set of tips and advice on how to stay motivated at doing work – from home.
Establish a routine
Rolling out of bed five minutes before clocking in at work online isn’t for everyone. That’s why we recommend establishing a “getting settled” routine, which can get you sprinting, not crawling, toward the end of the work day.
If your job demands sitting at a computer for hours at a time, consider jumpstarting your day with a morning walk. If you find yourself feeling lethargic before clocking in, take a cold shower. The shock of the cold water can increase oxygen intake and overall alertness.
Getting dressed for work is also essential. Slipping out of your sleep clothes into something you’d wear to the office signifies to your brain that it’s time for work.
Whatever it is, make a routine for yourself. Using a routine can not only help your work ethic, but it can also distinguish your work days from your days off.
Create a to-do list
Writing down all the tasks you have to do can keep your mind at ease and help you prioritize more urgent assignments. We’ve all had those moments of panic when we can’t remember the single, most important task to do for the day. Lists prevent that internal chaos. Also, we want you to experience the joy of crossing all items off that list. It’s the small victories that count.
Make your workspace as efficient as possible
Before you sink into work mode with classical music or lo-fi hip hop beats, ask yourself if your workstation is in its most optimal, decluttered state. A tidy workspace is that key to improving efficiency. Having an organized workstation can limit distractions like trying to find important paperwork on a cluttered desk. A tidy workspace can also allow more room for your computer mouse to mosey around.
For those fidgety folks who can’t stay in one place, consider establishing work zones. Sitting and standing for long periods at a time have been known to induce health-related problems, such as musculoskeletal problems and heart disease; you can read more on the science behind the perils of enduring long periods of sitting and standing at Cornell University.
Having multiple work zones accommodating both being on your feet and sitting on your seat can provide a higher level of comfort for your body.
This may also be good if your work station simply cannot accommodate for your many tasks. Your desk may not be big enough to fit all things. You can use a different station to work specifically with writing and documentation, printer-based needs, you name it! Just avoid places that you usually go to relax.
Now that your desk is organized and your work boundaries are established, you’re ready to tackle the tasks for the day.
Detach yourself from your work at the end of the day
The greatest part of working from home is the ease of moving into your workspace. No long commutes. No blaring employee conversations. But there’s a double-edged sword here for non WFH aficionados. When you leave the physical premises of your workplace, there’s a physical
detachment from that office. When you’re working from home, you may find it difficult to detach from a place where you actually live. Some of us may see the lack of leaving a physical space as being available to our bosses at all times. That’s the workaholic in you coming out.
A tip to avoid this is confining your workspaces to parts of the house away from the bedroom. When the work is done, leave behind your workstation and all the materials that are a part of it. We also recommend purging your laptop of the day’s finished projects. Trust us, the millions of
tabs and files can wait until the next work morning.
Most importantly, remember to get out of your work clothes and into some comfier attire. Just like in the morning, changing after work can trigger to your brain that you’re officially off work.
Focus on your mental health
At the end of the day, it’s important to recognize that there’s a balance between work and life. Employers and employees alike need to maintain a healthy mindset and wellbeing, especially during a time like this.
Just last year, the World Health Organization estimated $1 trillion lost in productivity globally as a result of workplace anxiety and depression. With uncertainty looming over our heads, it makes sense for those numbers to dip even further.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there’s a degree of permanence to our lives now, a new normal. We have to take measures to adjust to it both in the workplace and in our home lives. Connect with your loved ones and close friends. Distinguish your days on and days off. And most importantly, take care of yourself.