As uncertainty around the Corona Virus continues to float around, The Nominal Team has begun working from home. During this time, I'd like to share some of my favorite pieces of advice to stay productive, and enjoy working from home to the best of your ability. It's a great blessing to be able to write this from my house, and to be able to work from home in general, so I hope this advice helps optimize your Work From Home experience!
1. Get comfortable, but not too comfortable.
It's important to set yourself up for success, especially when working from home is a brand new endeavor. This starts with healthy boundaries. Making work feel like work, and home feel like home. When your house is the place that you typically sleep and relax, it's often a struggle to turn it into a dedicated work spot, but that does not mean it's impossible.
My first piece of advice is to avoid your bedroom: your mind associates your bed (and even the entire room) with rest, sleep, and relaxation. This means it might be hard for you to truly zone in to "Work Mode", and you'll feel lethargic well throughout your entire day. Your best bet is to set up a place where, firstly, you have a comfortable chair to sit upright in, just like you would at your office. Secondly, set up a spot where you typically don't spend too much time: this could be your dining room, the family room that no one sits in, or the kitchen when no one is occupying it. If you have a guest room or a dedicated office in your house, then that's even better. Make yourself comfortable in this work zone, get familiar with it as it's your new (temporary) workplace, and enjoy yourself.
2. Know your weaknesses and distractions.
If you're easily distracted, maybe the living room with the TV in front of you isn't the best spot to set up camp. Maybe a dining room table with a cup of coffee is your go-to. Perhaps your phone is more tempting, now that you're at home, so setting it aside for a couple hours at a time might be a good practice to get into. If your cat is too cute to handle, you might want to consider working in a room and locking the cutie out for a little while. Hey, when they come back an hour or two later, that can serve as a perfect natural alarm for you to go take a quick break away from your computer for a couple minutes!
No one knows your weaknesses more than you do, so be honest with yourself. Stay away from your distractions, instead of trying to resist and fight them while they're in front of you. Enjoy your home benefits, but don't let them take you away from your work.
3. Create your routine and/or stick to your existing one.
Get ready in the morning. That's my main piece of advice. Don't just roll into your chair and begin your work. Getting ready includes showering, doing your hair, and even getting dressed up. All of this mentally helps you get into Work Mode, and not feel lethargic as you begin your workday in the same home that you typically sleep and relax in.
It's also important to work the same hours and take the same breaks. We are creatures of habit, so stick to the habit you have, get your full worked in, and don't forget to enjoy your break, likely in a different way than you typically do. Even ending your day with a routine can really help you disconnect from the working hours. To signify the end of my day, I like to clock out, immediately pray Maghrib, and watch The Office with my mom!
4. Maintain some socializing.
If you need to check in with your team or manager, do so as if you're at work. Check in on them occasionally just for your own sanity and accountability, too. Let your team know what you're working on, ask your manager if you have any questions, etc. Don't be afraid to call for a team meeting, strike up a conversation with your team to check up on their tasks, and even send some pictures of your lunch to them. Socializing is a massive human connection tactic, so doing so is good for your mental health.
5. Communicate with whoever is in your home.
Letting your family know that you're working from home is really important, but taking an extra step to really ask them to respect your work hours / environment is just as important. Remember to let them you know that you're still "in your office", when you're doing your work. Especially for younger folks, this might be hard for the family to understand. You can only continue contributing to the family if you stay true to your work and earn your paycheck, so the house chores will have to wait, as if you aren't home. For the adults, your kids will have to wait, too. But you'll make it worth the wait, right? Remember, there's no commute time anymore, so once your workday ends, you're a couple steps away from being the night's entertainment!
Working from home is relaxing, but it might be temptingly easy to sit in your chair, unmoved, all the way until you clock out. Don't forget, fresh air is just a few steps away, windows are at your disposal, and a quick walk to your mailbox and back might be what gives you that fresh feeling that can make you more productive. It's easy to get trapped in your room or on the couch when working from home, so set some alarms to remind yourself to get up, make yourself some coffee, and walk around to get that blood flowing. Exercising in the morning might be more feasible now that you can work out from home! A few minutes of some jumping jacks and squats might make a massive difference, so don't underestimate a little activity. Movement is important for not only your physical health, but for your mental health and sanity, too. Get moving between some of your big tasks, and watch your happiness and productivity soar.