The coronavirus outbreak has people making changes most never imagined just a few weeks ago. For many of us, that means suddenly working from home. If you’re not accustomed to working from home, you probably have questions:
“How will I stay focused?”
“How do I avoid raiding my pantry, stuffing my face with snack food?”
“How can I keep from getting restless without human interaction?”
One way MPG has stayed “lean and mean” is by avoiding the overhead costs of a central office. All team members work from home. We collaborate online and by phone. We meet in person when we need to. And we love it!
Working from home can be an adjustment, but we’ve got 10 tips to make it smoother. And you might find you get more done, more efficiently, without the extra time it takes to shuffle to and from meetings, commute, and make small talk with your co-workers. You’ve got this!
#1: Maintain regular hours just like you would at an office. Don’t fall prey to the idea that you should be doing housework on top of your other duties. Save it for “non-work” time.
#2: Find a dedicated space away from distractions. Even better if you can set up an area that’s just for work. Going there will help you make the psychological switch from “home” to “office.”
#3: Dress for success. We know it’s tempting to stay in your bathrobe, but we actually are more productive when we’re dressed for the part.
#4: Start and end your day with a routine. Get in a workout or enjoy a cup of coffee before diving into the day’s tasks. Finish up by answering emails, then try to leave work at “work” and enjoy time with your family.
#5: Set ground rules for family members and friends. Just because you’re home, it doesn’t mean you’re available for every little thing. Unless it’s an emergency, let them know you’re “Do Not Disturb.” Got a partner not working from home who feels all the chores should now be done during the day? Refer them to our first tip. When you’re working, you’re working, not multitasking on laundry, too.
#6: Connect virtually. If you crave social interaction, then video chat and other virtual meeting solutions are the answer. While you’re getting your work-friend fix, you can…
#7: Hold each other accountable. Promise to get a certain number of tasks done, or work a certain number of minutes uninterrupted, before rewarding yourself with some social time or internet surfing.
#8: Plan/prepare meals ahead of time. To avoid grazing, pack your lunch like you would for the office. Also, shop with this new reality in mind. If you know you’ll be tempted with certain treats in the house, then don’t buy them!
#9: Take mandatory “move it” breaks. When you’re not moving around an office, walking to lunch, or taking the stairs in a building, it’s easy to become sedentary. Get out of your chair. Take a walk, stretch… set alarms to remind yourself every hour.
#10: Know you’re doing the right thing. Social distancing is stressful on so many levels, but it’s necessary to help keep each other as healthy as possible and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system. Life will return to normal, and you’ll be able to return to your regular work situation relatively soon. For now, take comfort in knowing you’re doing your part for the good of yourself and those around you.