As national and local government agencies recommend Americans stay home as much as possible to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, many companies have required employees to work from home.
If you’ve never had to work remotely before or for an extended period of time, here are a few tips to help you stay productive during the coronavirus pandemic.
Create a workspace
It’s hard to concentrate on writing that important memo when you’re snuggling in bed. Do your best to separate work space and living space inside your home. Set up at a desk if you can, keep headphones nearby to block out the world, and be sure to check what’s behind you in case you need to hop on a video call with coworkers.
Discuss childcare options with your employer
Any parent knows it can be difficult to balance work and childcare even in the best of times, so it can be downright impossible to concentrate on business if your kids are stuck at home too. If your children require your full attention (they’re too young to fend for themselves or they need help with schoolwork), the Wall Street Journal suggests talking to your boss about alternatives to the common 9 to 5 schedule. Consider working shifts in the early morning or evening, or make arrangements with your partner to take kid shifts.
Optimize your equipment
Make sure you have all the remote logins and documents you need to do your job to your fullest potential given the circumstances. The internet may have trouble under the added strain of everyone working from home, so do everything you can to optimize your own signal, like testing where your signal is strongest or turning off unnecessary devices that compete for internet.
Just because you can work in your PJs, doesn’t mean you should. Getting dressed and sticking to other aspects of your daily work routine will help put you in the right mindset to be productive. And don’t commit halfway with a suit on top and underwear on bottom just to get through a video conference. Wear real pants or business attire every day.
Don’t forget to take breaks
A workday at an office is full of little interruptions, both intentional and not. Breaks rejuvenate the mind and restore the body, which might be suffering sitting on your couch all day. Be sure to take regular breaks, even if that just means stretching for 10 minutes.
Talk to friends and family during off hours
There’s an uneasy balance between productivity and debilitating social isolation. If you live alone, be sure to maintain contact with friends and family during your off hours. You may not realize the mental toll isolation takes on you until your work begins to suffer.