It's not the strongest or the smartest who survive, but those willing to adapt.
The past few weeks with the COVID-19 pandemic have been stressful in nearly every area of our lives - work, home, physical health, and mental health. Social distancing may make you feel isolated. You may feel less productive when working from home. You may be worried about your own health, or those of your loved ones.
Today, I'll share some tips on adapting your day-to-day work style from the office to working from home. I'll guide you through how to create a routine, how to avoid distractions, and provide an overview of useful communication tools to keep you connected and productive.
creating a routine
You've probably heard this one already. But, there's hearing it, and knowing you should do it, and then there's actually doing it.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen.
Think about what your day at the office typically looked like. Write out a rough schedule.
Now, think about what your past few days of working from home (or trying to work from home) have looked like. Be realistic (Hey, Netflix).
If you have kids at home, or anything else going on in your WFH routine, like caring for parents, make anther schedule with their needs. Naptime, snack time, any time you're spending simulating a school environment. There are plenty of parents and teachers blogging about how to teach from home during this time, so search those posts out and rely on their expertise. I'm here speaking as a single grad student / dog mom, so I won't presume to give advice on parenting.
Now, back to the schedules you wrote out. How can you merge them together? Do you have regular conference calls scheduled now, with everyone working remotely? Do you have fewer meetings now that you're working remotely? Can you improve upon your office schedule and block off time to write? Create your most productive schedule yet.
Writing out this new draft schedule, merging your work commitments with other duties. Build in breaks , just like you would (should) at work. A walk around the block, a home-streamed exercise class, or joining the kids for "recess" - taking a break is important.
If you find yourself less productive at home than at the office, let's figure out why. Look at your schedule from the past few days at home - has TV been distracting you? Cooking? Hobbies?
Allocate time for those activities so you don't feel overburdened by work. And take steps to avoid temptation. Unplug your Apple TV or Roku so that it's inconvenient to watch. Turn your phone to do not disturb, or put it in another room. You can get more tips in my post on Avoiding Distractions when Working From Home.
If you usually listen to music with headphones at work, you may find yourself NOT doing that at home. Give it a try - it might be all you need to improve your productivity.
Hopefully you’ve received help and support from your IT department. Upgraded VPNs, help documents for Zoom conferencing and using Microsoft Teams. A key change to optimize communication when working from home (with EVERYONE working from home) is limiting use of email. Use google chat, Slack, or Microsoft Teams chat rather than sending emails. With the current COVID-19 situation, we’re all receiving more emails than usual focused on policies and the virus.
If you’re working on projects, or giving presentations, there’s more available than just OneDrive and Dropbox. You can use Visme to keep things interactive and engaged while working from home. Here are some of the key Visme features that you’ll find useful for collaboration:
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