With the coronavirus being categorised as a pandemic, shifting to a home-office might be the new normal for a while.
While in theory working from home sounds great, limiting social interaction and delving into isolation may start taking a toll on your spirits sooner than you think.
This is because it's no surprise that communication is easy and effortless when you're in close proximity with your workers. Questions are answered instantly, help is available before you even have to ask for it, and the environment around you is uplifted by casual conversation and silly jokes (at least that's how we roll here).
However, if you aren't used to remote working, you may struggle in undertaking basic tasks that you are otherwise good at completing in a formal setting.
Work from home might open up avenues of new sets of challenges - but here are all the ways you as an employee can deliver effective results on tight deadlines, without falling short or losing your sanity:
First things first, get out of your jammies
If you're lying down in bed, stocked up on snacks and headphones intact, chances are that your productivity will take a hit.
With Netflix open in one tab and cellphone in hand to 'communicate' in the other hand, there is a strong likelihood that distractions might get the best of you. Just because you can lounge on a presumable day off, doesn't mean you should. You're still on the clock, be responsible and self-motivated. Stick to routine as usual. Shower, get dressed, and treat your work-from-home like any other day at work i.e like a real job.
Find a work station
If you do not have a dedicated home office or study table, find a place that suffices to set up shop (hint: even the dinner table will work because desperate times call for desperate measures).
In doing this, move away from distractions, any family members that might interrupt you, and work behind closed doors at a quiet place that formalises your day at work.
Set boundaries with whoever you're in lockdown with
Look, when you're working from home, things like this are bound to happen:
It's impossible to work from home without interruptions but what will help you is clearly defining work hours to family members and keeping the timings consistent. Maybe set up a signal letting others know you're in focus mode, like a DIY Do Not Disturb sign.
If you've got a child, you and your partner both work, come up with a system and tag team accordingly.
Set boundaries with yourself
People may think employees slack off while working remotely but we've found the opposite happening. When does the work day start? End? Who knows. That's not healthy!
There will always be more work and when you have a set time leaving the office, you can leave some stuff behind at the workplace. That's not the case when your office is where you live.
For this reason, creating a schedule is of utmost importance. Time your tasks, maintain a deadline, but make sure you're cutting yourself some slack.
Walk around, hydrate yourself but get back to work right after so that a 10 min break doesn't turn into a three-hour rest. Set alarms that remind you to move away, stretch, get fresh air and disconnect from the screen.
But then also, set alarms as reminders that you need to get back to work so you can wrap up on time.
Communication is key so use your tools wisely
Coronavirus scares have called for social distancing, but you can always use digital platforms to sustain meaningful connections with colleagues.
This does not mean using Snapchat filters and sending your friends constant updates of how you're working - but instead using applications that cultivate your social habits into effective ones, and benefit from actually working.
By using applications such as Workplace, Slack and Zoom, you can be in constant contact with your colleagues and that will also alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation that are bound to set in eventually.
Get on call with your manager
Make your life easier and try squeezing in a 10 minute phone-call with your supervisor/team in the beginning of the workday so daily task expectations can be put into place.
This will not just save the time and energy usually wasted gravitating between task allocation and responses, but also aid in drafting guidelines for the day while helping you retain focus.
Also get on video call with your favourite co-workers
In an era of video-calls, face-to-face work discussions are likely to eliminate feelings of isolation, despair and laziness that may arise when working from home.
Team-building exercises such as virtual lunches or coffee-breaks could prove to be useful for those who might need help, but are too hesitant to reach out for it.
Its important to remind each other that you are available to help. During this pandemic, boost each other's morale through digital support groups that could prove to be useful for colleagues living alone, or dealing with toxic families at home.
Your colleagues are your work fam - once you know your co-workers are equally involved in daily tasks, you'll be motivated to do better. Team work makes the dream work.