COVID-19 has created a unique situation in which a large majority of the workforce has been sent to work from home. Depending on your state restrictions and your companies policies, you may be heading back into the office if only for a couple of days a week but with the new spike in cases and the holidays around the corner, we could see another increase in at-home-work.
In case you didn’t nail the work from home the first time, here are some tips and tricks that have helped us maintain a team environment and continued productivity while working from home.
One person on our team that has been a tremendous support is Cheryl Canady. Cheryl is our Director of Client Services and she has been working remotely for Biotech Partners for 7 years. So, when our office was sent home, we turned to her for guidance. Here’s her advice.
Get an Early Start to Your Day
Rather than rolling put of bed and hopping straight onto your morning meeting (which we are all guilty of) give yourself enough time to get ready for your day. Another way to get your day started would be to run any errands or chores that you need to accomplish so that they aren’t taking up space in your mind in an already distracting environment.
When working in the office, you probably have coworkers to get lunch with or a designated break room but at home you may not have these situations as reminders to step away from the screen for a minute. That’s why it’s important to monitor yourself and make sure you are allowing yourself time away. It’s recommended that for every hour and a half of work, you take a 15-minute break. Things to do on these breaks can include going for a walk in your neighborhood, working on a load of laundry, or eating/preparing food for yourself.
Working from home can bring with it a tremendous amount of new distractions. From family members in the house with you to access to social media without the fear of a supervisor noticing. To help alleviate these distractions, you should set boundaries with the people cohabitating in your house. Make it clear to them that when you are working, that is what you are focused on to avoid slipping back into your home-life mindset. To avoid internet distractions, you can turn off notifications for apps on your phone and log out of all accounts on your computer to make these distractions less accessible.
Create a Designated Workspace
If you’re used to working full-time in an office environment, it’s likely that you haven’t had to create a workspace in your home. Well now is the time! Going into the office, you likely had a space of your own that you go to everyday to complete your work. When working from home, it’s even more important to create this space (hint, this can help avoid those distractions). Even if you aren’t able to create an office space, you should find a place in your kitchen, living room, bedroom (not your bed though), etc. that you go to everyday to complete your work. When our fearless leader, Ross, worked from home early in his career, he set up a desk in his closet!
Set Boundaries with Your Team
Ok, so you’re working from home now and you’ve got a setup that works for you. You’ve minimized distractions and set expectations with the people in your home. Now it’s time to set expectations with your team members at work. It can be much harder to separate yourself from work now that you are working and living in the same space. You may be tempted to check work at all hours since it’s right there but creating a work-life balance is still really important. Let your team members know the hours of the day that you are working and ask them to respect this. It’s likely that whatever they will need from you can wait until the next day.