Quick Summary of Working From Home During Quarantine (8 Tips For Productivity & Sanity):
- Dedicate A Space That Is For Work ONLY
- Be Deliberate About Your Chair
- Take Breaks And Go Outside
- Customize Your Home Environment With Something Special
- Let Music Help You
- Keep Regular Hours
- Create and Maintain a Morning Routine
- Don’t Stop Socializing
Has working from home been a challenge since COVID-19 forced you into your house? We hear you. For many, working from home is a challenging adjustment, especially for those of us who aren’t used to it. If you’re one of those, the information here will be helpful. Quarantine or not, you need to stay productive. And in order to do that, you need to be proactive. Proactivity equals productivity.
Don’t let the Coronavirus diminish the quality and quantity of the work you’re used to doing at the office. Here are 8 suggestions that will make working from home during quarantine a lot easier. No matter what kind of work you do.
1. Dedicate A Space That Is For Work ONLY
Studies show that this is very, very important for proper focus. There needs to be a specific spot in your home where you “go to work” each day. This will result in less distraction overall and deeper focus. The familiarity leads to mental discipline. If you have an actual office room in your home, that is ideal.
But every home is different and some of you may not have access to a literal home office. You’ll have to make the best use of your available space. Big or small – it doesn’t matter. As long as you create some kind of mini office – no matter what yours ends up looking like – is very important to effective remote work. Places that often work nicely are a kitchen counter (sit in the same spot each time), the dining room table, or a hallway desk.
Some people even use a portable desk that they put up each morning and put away at the end of the day. This is great idea. And this should go without saying, but keep your devoted workspace clean. Physical clutter is an enemy of mental organization.
Don’t Work In Your Bedroom
If you can avoid it, do not work in your bedroom. Your mind and body already associate that space with sleeping. If you try to set up shop in the same room you sleep in, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. It almost never works. Especially if you’ve never worked from home for long periods of time.
Creating a “this spot is where I work” mental association with a particular area is the first step in the right direction when it comes to working from home during quarantine. Don’t try to sleep and work in the same space. Trust us. Otherwise, you’ll quickly be frustrated with “how hard it is to work from home.” No need to put hurdles in your way that you have full control over.
2. Be Deliberate About Your Chair
No, we don’t mean lounge back in a plush leather recliner with your laptop. You won’t get much work done that way.
You’ve heard of an ergonomic chair. That’s what we’re talking about. Ergonomics is “the applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.” In other words, we suggest that you are deliberate about the chair you sit in every day while working from home during quarantine.
Sitting each day on a hard chair borrowed from the kitchen table will get old quickly–something we spoke about in another recent post. And sitting on a comfy couch will diminish productivity (and increase your number of daily naps). If you have the funds, invest in an ergonomic chair. Do a small amount of research on different options or simply go with a recommendation from a friend or co-worker. This can also include a big yoga ball. Many people swear by them as comfortable, posture-improving chair substitutes.
3. Take Breaks And Go Outside
You need to see the sun and the sun needs to see you. Get up out of your chair and go outside, even it’s only to your own back porch. Stay out there for a bit, get some fresh air, and let the sunlight touch your skin. This is just as important to your health as any antibiotic or supplement. If you have a dog, take her for a walk in the middle of the day while you take a break from working.
We’ve even seen studies that say taking 5-15 minute breaks every 1-2 hours increases mental clarity and overall productivity. I can personally attest to this.
If you happen to be quarantined to the point where you can’t go outside, then stand or sit in front of a window and eat lunch. Or just gaze out and daydream! It doesn’t really matter how you do it. Just make sure you prioritize sunlight exposure. Not only will it help you stay positive and productive, it’ll help to keep your sanity at bay during quarantine.
Another reason these breaks are important is because your body needs movement. One of the most detrimental things to your health is staying cooped up all day staring at a screen. Your muscles need to move. Even if it’s something simple as walking outside a handful of times per day. And obviously a good daily exercise regimen will do your body very good during quarantine.
Physically leave your workspace AT LEAST once per day, preferably more.
4. Customize Your Home Environment With Something Special
Since we don’t know how long this quarantine is going to last, we might as well reap as many of the benefits of working remotely as we can. And customizing your workspace in ways your boss normally wouldn’t allow is certainly one of them. Make your space as mentally and physically comfortable as you can. You don’t want your environment to be dull, colorless, and boring, if you can help it.
How about your favorite scented candle? Maybe a plant. A certain photo. Anything! Whatever it is, do something with your workspace that will help you dive right into work and keep you focused and motivated for the whole day. These kinds of things – particularly plants and scents – have very positive effects on emotion, stress, attentiveness, and alertness.
5. Let Music Help You
The majority of offices and corporate workspaces don’t allow employees to wear headphones and listen to music on the job. Though we understand the policy and recognize that it’s necessary for certain occupations and workplaces, there are just as many where music can be quite helpful. Many surveys done throughout the years show that classical or other types of instrumental music increase productivity and keep the mind sharp.
We know people who say they work best with tunes playing in the background, volume set to low. Others prefer to cancel outside noise and distracting ambiance with music via earbuds or over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones. Working from home during quarantine can be a lot more enjoyable and productive with music. Don’t put on something that will distract you from your work. Use music to your advantage and for enjoyment while working remotely.
6. Keep Regular Hours
Do not let transitioning from office to home stop you from keeping a strict work schedule. What you should do is keep precisely the same schedule you had at your workplace. Or close to it. Before the virus, did you have to clock in at 8 am? Do the same thing at home. The more familiar and systematic you can keep your work schedule, the better.
Once you start sleeping in and taking long lunches at home, these anti-work habits will snowball. It will become harder and harder to be anywhere near as efficient at your job as you were before the quarantine. Keep the good habits. Don’t start bad ones. Force yourself to keep a regimented work schedule. Start and stop at the same time every day.
We’re not saying you can’t eventually be flexible with your work schedule. But before you can consider that, you have to prove to yourself you have the fortitude and willpower to be just as responsible at home as you were at work. What’s important here is that you have a routine that works for you and keeps you focused and productive.
7. Create and Maintain a Morning Routine
The quality of your morning dictates the quality of your workday. A morning routine is essential to effectively working from home during quarantine. If you create a system for your morning that you repeat every single day, serious positive effects will carry over to virtually every aspect of your life. Not just your work productivity and sanity.
Wake up at the same time every day. Do the same things in the same order every morning. For example: wake up at 6:30 am, brush your teeth first thing, then take a shower, then have your breakfast, etc. Whatever your system is, stick to it like your job depends on it. Many very successful people attribute their personal and financial success to a morning of strict habits. Use this quarantine to develop one, if you haven’t already.
This is a good time to mention a related suggestion. We recommend not dressing down every day while working from home. If you pick up the habit of working in your pajamas, our experience (and lots of verified research) shows that the quality of your work will suffer. As will your general desire to stay on task. Maybe treat yourself to one dress-down day per week.
8. Don’t Stop Socializing
Socializing is just as important when working remotely as it is in the traditional workplace. Maybe even more. Isolation, disconnection, and loneliness is a disastrous recipe.
Within the confines of social distancing, stay connected to your family, friends, and co-workers. Just because you have to physically isolate doesn’t mean you have to socially isolate. Place a high priority on keeping in touch with people. It might do more for your sanity than anything else.
Use Zoom, or Skype, or whatever program you prefer to see people’s faces while you’re talking to them. Phone calls and texts are great and you should definitely use them. But don’t leave out video calls. Find legitimate reasons to video chat with someone for work purposes if you don’t have blatant reasons already. Don’t stop nurturing relationships. Ever. Especially during quarantine.
Working From Home During Quarantine (8 Tips For Productivity & Sanity) – Conclusion
There are pros and cons to working from home. As it’s forced upon many of us during these strange times, make the best of it. Following all of these suggestions to the T surely won’t eliminate all potential challenges. You’ll have to make adjustments along the way. But a routine and a few deliberate changes to your home-work environment will help you stay productive and sane during the COVID-19 era. You might even get to a point where you prefer it!