Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., we have seen numerous companies shift employees to teleworking positions in the safety of their own homes. This course of action is essential to quarantining, maintaining a healthy staff, curbing the spread of COVID-19 among coworkers, and continuing the day-to-day tasks and projects of work.
With this dramatic change, some people may not be used to working remotely, or they might be concerned about how to distractions that may inhibit their ability to work effectively and keep projects from falling behind schedule. These concerns are realistic and it is easy to get caught up in distractions, like the everchanging news on COVID-19, but there are several steps employers and employees can take in order to find a well-balanced work from home lifestyle during quarantine.
Create a Separate Work Space:
For many people it is important to keep work at work, and not let it effect your home lifestyle. This is why you should create a separate work space from the rest of your home in order to avoid working on the couch or in your bedroom. This is a good practice so work and home do not become blended.
If you have an office, use it. If you have a room you can turn into your office, do so. If you don’t have access to a room, use the kitchen table or counter, but try to treat this setting as an office during working hours.
Keep to Normal Work Hours:
When teleworking it can be easy to work beyond your regularly scheduled work day. It is recommended however to clock out as you normally would if you were in the workplace.
If you regularly work a 9 to 5 job, keep the hours the same while working from home.
Stick to a Morning Routine:
On a normal work day, people will have various activities before they get to work. This of course includes getting up, but may also include working out, taking the kids to school, and eating breakfast, as well as showering, shaving, getting dressed up and so on. As much as possible, these routines should remain intact, albeit changed as needed.
For example, if you normally go to the gym but can’t, go for a run outside or do bodyweight workouts. If you normally take your children to school but school is now closed, go for a walk for about the same amount of time it would take you to get them to school.
And of course, get dressed like you normally would. You want to feel like you are heading into work because in a way, you are.
When at home and everything is readily available, such as food and the bathroom, it can be easy to forget that you should take a break like you normally would. If you usually take 15 minutes for a walk to get coffee midmorning, continue to take that walk. If you regularly go out for lunch, make a lunch at home and eat it outside on your patio or at a nearby park.
Taking regular breaks will help keep your mind engaged and your body active as the work day goes on.
When you are at work, you know you are there to get things done. You have colleagues or bosses working with you to ensure you stay on top of your tasks and don’t get distracted.
This most likely can’t be said for your time teleworking from home if you have chores or the television there. It will be important to separate yourself from your day-to-day or homelife activities when your work needs to get done.
Another challenge to your at home work routine could be the need to care for your children. Of course their wellbeing is priority number one and parenting should come first. It will be important to let your boss and colleagues know that you may have to take more breaks than normal to care for your children.
Communicate with Coworkers:
Working from home may seem like an isolating experience, especially if you are used to working with and talking to numerous in a day. But with the technology that exists today, teleworking does not have to make you feel like you are alone.
There are a range of digital conferencing services out there that allow people to stay connected and it is highly encouraged that coworkers utilize these tools – Zoom, Google Hangouts and more. You’ll be able to see and hear your colleagues as if they were right there next to you. Through these services, you can even schedule digital work events, such as office lunches or even happy hours.
Following these recommendations can keep you and your staff engaged and focused on the work at hand. And when the COVID-19 quarantine is over, everyone will be ready to get back to work without having lost a step or seeing projects fall behind.
Additional Information on Responding to COVID-19:
For additional information, recommendations or questions on staying safe amidst COVID-19, please visit Xenophon Strategies’ COVID Crisis Response webpage at: https://xenophonstrategies.com/covid-19-response.
Getting Back to Work is an ongoing series on health and safety regarding COVID-19 from Xenophon Strategies, in partnership with Dr. David Hamer, a professor at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine with more than 30 years of experience in epidemiological diseases. Through the partnership Xenophon is working with Dr. Hamer to provide science-based recommendations and guidance on how employers, employees, and families should best respond to and combat the COVID-19 pandemic.