If you’re one of the lucky Americans who are able to work remotely from home right now during this time of volatile employment, first and foremost, take a moment for a deep breath and a pat on the back; send your boss a thank-you email or note, if that’s your cup of tea. All of this aside, working from home isn’t as easy and care-free as you might have once thought – you might be in the process of realizing that right now.
It’s tough to stay focused and productive when you are surrounded by distractions: the pint of ice cream, your photogenic dog, the toddler throwing a tantrum in the room across the house. So, how does one actually stay productive in an environment that’s not 100% akin to a workplace environment? We have some tips and tricks to help keep both you and your family sane.
Block Out Time for Distractions
That’s right – allow time to pet the dog, visit your toddler, and eat that ice cream after your lunch break. If you are smart and limit your time spent on these relaxing activities, you won’t feel deprived and unable to focus during the day. Allow working from home to come with perks; if you don’t, you’ll struggle to stay focused and feel locked in your office space. If you were at the office, you would be taking bathroom breaks, stretch breaks, and trips to see co-workers. Use your time wisely, but don’t feel like you need to be chained to your computer!
This easily becomes the most difficult thing to do during quarantine, especially for those who are working remotely. Experiencing the great outdoors can have significant mood-boosting effects, so don’t forget to peek your head out into the sunshine at least twice per day; this is what you would have done going to and from work each day anyway! Take your fifteen-minute breaks outside with a cup of fresh coffee, or eat lunch outside with your family. Choose to view these in-between moments like coming up for air – you’re at home, so make good use of the time you have!
If there’s one thing that will make or break your time spent working from home, it’s an efficient workspace. While most of us don’t have the extra cash to spend on a work set-up right now, it’s still extremely important that your desk doesn’t cause you discomfort or pain. Remember to take frequent stretch breaks so that your muscles don’t tense up, sit up straight, and keep your keyboard and mouse at elbow level. If your feet are not gently resting on the floor, find a way to elevate your chair or feet so that there isn’t any extra strain on your back.
Working with a laptop? Consider investing in a mouse and keyboard that can be repositioned to allow your screen to be at eye level. Contact your HR department to see what they can do to help you work from home more comfortably – most companies are aware of the increased strain on ergonomics during this awkward time.
Above all, remember to keep an eye on your mental health during this time. Many people are struggling to adjust to the major changes that COVID-19 has forced upon them; set up a telehealth appointment with your physician if you think you might be having more difficulty than usual while working from home. Give yourself some space to try things out; be prepared to take a few days to get into a rhythm. This is all new to you, your co-workers, and even your superiors!