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How to Best Work from Home during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Working from home is the new normal for many people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working from home can be challenging if a person has never done so before. There are many obstacles in place that employees must navigate through in order to efficiently complete their jobs. How can we become more productive when working from home? Follow this helpful guide to understand how to best complete your job remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Set up a proper workspace

Perhaps the most important step is to set up a functional and proper workspace. To ensure the best productivity, it is important to do the following:

  • Set up a desk in a quiet location, away from other distractions in your home if possible.
  • Create a comfortable environment with plenty of light in order to avoid eye strain.
  • If you are able to, set up more than one screen which will help to organize the multiple projects that you could be working on at any time.
  • Do not work from bed. Instead, sit in an ergonomic chair where your feet rest steadily on the ground. Sit with good posture as to not strain your back.

Utilize online chat platforms

One way for an easy back and forth between colleagues is to utilize instant messaging platforms. These platforms can be used to address quick questions or even as a method to just say hello to someone. Many times, it may be easier to send an instant message than typing out a short email. Your colleague should receive a notification across their screen regarding the message and will usually respond quicker than they would an email. Many programs will even notify you if your colleague is busy, away from their desk, in a meeting, or on the phone with another person. This is a great tool for convenient and quick conversations.

Make video conferencing a daily habit

Companies are utilizing video conferencing as a method for communication in absence of in-person meetings when working from home. Chatting over video is an amazing tool that can connect colleagues on a deeper level more so than phone or email can. Video conferencing also allows for multiple people to meet at a time, enabling teams to productively communicate and execute projects as if they were speaking at the office. Try to participate in video chats frequently as a way for teams to keep all on the same page.

Stick to a daily schedule and set boundaries

Working from home can be isolating. It can be easy to blur the lines between work and home. It is a challenge to determine when to be in work mode versus having some personal time. That is why it is absolutely necessary to set a daily schedule for yourself. Determine each day what time you will log onto your computer and when you will sign off. Try your best to stick to this schedule each day. Set boundaries for yourself that will help to separate work from life. An example could be that you turn off your email at a certain time each day and reserve the rest of the evening for family or an activity that you enjoy.

Take breaks throughout the day

Taking breaks is not only a good way to separate out your day, but are also essential for your mental wellbeing. Do not sit in front of your computer for a consecutive eight or nine hours only to lose motivation or lack productivity. Get up from your workstation every so often, about once or twice an hour to stretch your legs and to get a fresh perspective. Often times, if you are working on a project and become frustrated, a good way to change that is to get up, walk around for five minutes and then come back to your desk. This allows for your mind to recharge and reflect. You may arrive back to your desk with new ideas or theories on how to complete that project.

Create connections with colleagues

Just because you are away from the office, does not mean that you should not still have the same meaningful conversations and interactions with your co-workers. Make every effort possible to engage and develop insightful communication with colleagues when working from home. This can be done by utilizing technology, scheduling virtual “water-cooler chats,” or finding time to write out a nice message thanking someone for their effort put into a project. Creating connections will enable colleagues to seamlessly continue their normal work activities as they will remain in constant connection and feel a shared sense of teamwork.

We hope to get back to our normal lives as soon as possible. However, while we are staying at home in order to lessen the impacts of COVID-19, we must do our best to ensure the productivity and efficiency of our work. What steps will you take to make the most out of working from home?

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