The Coronavirus has found its way across Australia and the globe. Leaving nothing but chaos and destruction in its path.
Thousands upon thousands sick, lives have been taken, careers lost, hopes and dreams shattered, all in a flash.
For many across Australia who are feeling the effects of the Coronavirus, we have now resorted to voluntary or mandatory work-from-home policies.
Which means a lot of us are facing a new, unsettling change, working from home for the first time, full-time.
Even if you have worked at home in the past, working from home as a result of the Coronavirus is a whole new challenge, it was sudden, you were unprepared.
You’re confined to your home, you can’t socialise with your work colleagues during the day, you’re not even allowed out to socialise after work.
The thought of being isolated within your home all day and all night is suffocating.
Here are 5 tips for working from home and to make sure you thrive and survive. Thrive in your work and ensure your mental health survives.
Don’t Look at the News
The first of the tips for working from home is not looking at the news.
Distractions are the single greatest challenge people who work from home have to contend with.
Especially people who aren’t used to it.
Now It’s normal for us to get distracted, we can’t avoid it but we can learn to control our distractions.
It all starts with being wary of how much you let yourself get distracted.
Given the current condition of what’s happening in Australia, right now, one of the biggest distractions is the news, it’s like an annoying itch that can’t be scratched.
If you’re working from home because of the coronavirus, checking up on COVID-19 updates on the news live streams is constantly going to put the situation at the front of your mind.
It’s good to stay informed don’t get me wrong, but it’s also easy to stare at a screen long enough to cause yourself to fall into an anxious mess.
I suggest setting timers for any breaks you take and leave your phone in another room. You don’t want to get too immersed in what’s happening outside and forget that you should be working.
Schedule Your Day As You Would at the Office
Having a schedule, a routine is a lifesaver.
Just because you’re now working from the comfort of your own home doesn’t mean you throw away that routine.
When you commute to work you might listen to some music or a podcast to help prepare your brain for the day ahead.
Well, do the same thing at home. Or replace it with doing a home workout or taking the dog for a run.
Now for your work schedule. I suggest as someone who normally works from home or a cafe to set your day into 90 minutes intervals with 30 minutes breaks.
For those 90 minutes, it’s head down and become deeply absorbed in what you have to do with avoiding all temptations of procrastination and distractions.
On your 30 minute break that’s when you eat, go to the toilet, chuck the washing on and check your emails and social media engagements.
Finish the day at the same time as you normally would if you were at the office.
Again take the time as you would between leaving the office and getting home to decompress from a brain-draining day and mentally prepare for your evening routine.
This way your more present and not transparent when you transition back into your normal life
Keep your mind and body to the same schedule.
Dress for Success
The third tip of five tips for working from home is Dress for Success.
This one may sound stupid, but believe me, it isn’t.
As overwhelming the urge is to just stay in your PJs or trackies while you work, DON’T!
Now I’m not saying you have to dress extremely formal as you might do for when you go to the office, but getting dressed out of your PJs or trackies is a signal to the brain that it’s time to wake up and get stuff done.
Getting dressed goes beyond just changing clothes. Getting dressed applies to other appearance-based tasks like brushing your teeth, take a shower, combing your hair and putting make-up on.
And plus, just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean anyone won’t see you, we have video calling now.
Create a Work Environment
One of the most challenging things I found when I started working from home is being able to separate my work life from my personal life.
I was always in work mode, unable to differentiate, as a result, my work productivity suffered and my personal life took a massive hit as well.
When you go from your home to the office the disconnection from personal life to work life is physical. You need to try to recreate that at home.
I strongly recommend having a designated work area at home and not swaying to different areas of your house during the day otherwise your entire house goes from home to office.
If you live in a house try to convert a room into an office, if you’re like me and live in an apartment set yourself a corner.
Make the workspace as comfortable as possible, get a comfortable chair to sit in, spacious desk, keep yourself organised, try set up somewhere that has good natural lighting and finally decorate the heck out of your office space with things that make you happy.
Entering your workspace at the beginning of the day will help you switch on while at the end of the day when you leave you will switch off from work as you would do going to your normal office.
Do what you need to do to distinguish between home life and work life. It’s crucial for your wellbeing.
Talk, Talk and Talk, Then Talk Some More
Your mentality can take a severe beating when you go from your office environment that’s filled with different characters and energy to being confined to your home with just yourself.
It can get lonely and depressing really quickly, that’s just the reality.
But we live in the digital age where being able to talk and communicate with people is at the tip of our fingers.
Do you normally have that work colleague with whom you go to lunch with? Well, why not Facetime each other while on your home office lunch breaks!
Got a problem or situation with something you’re doing? Then instead of emailing a colleague why not call and talk to them!
Yep, we’re so used to sending emails or messages through messenger or other text-based platforms like Slack but never underestimate the power of hearing someone’s voice.
Calling is also a great way to avoid miscommunication between team members as well as breaking up social isolation.
In The End
Working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic is going to be extremely challenging especially when you have never worked from home before.
It will take a lot of adjusting, a lot of patience and a lot of perseverance but by following these 5 tips and the many more that’s out there you’ll survive just fine.
Most of all, stay safe, be kind because we’re all in this together (but 2m apart)