Expert Tips for Working from Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic
With much of America in isolation or at least limited-isolation, we must suddenly figure out how we are going to work effectively from home. The following are five work from home tips by CashOne for those of us lucky enough to be working from home after the Coronavirus outbreak.
Many people do not have a dedicated office space or even unused space in their home or apartment. So, you see dining rooms and other spaces becoming offices with your computer, papers, electrical cords and other stuff all over a dining table or, worse yet, a coffee table or bed. And, if you have children, the constant interruptions and noise can make it difficult or almost impossible to get anything done.
If you are in this situation, STOP! Take some time to create a structure that considers what you need to get done to organize your work-at-home environment.
Here are 5 Work from Home Tips to Help You Out
Create a dedicated work-space
You may not have optimal choices, but to work effectively, you need a dedicated space set up just for this purpose. It may not be as large as what you are used to but make do with what you can have. This means the space is not used for anything else. So, not removing everything and putting it back for every meal or whatever happens. Treat it like your desk or cubicle space at your office.
If possible, try to locate your work-space where it is as quiet as possible. Noise from kids, TVs, etc. make it hard for most people to concentrate and be productive. You can also try using earplugs if it is impossible to make it really quiet. Also, if someone else is watching TV or listening to music, they can use earphones in many cases to help in maintaining a quiet work area.
Set up a schedule
In many cases, working from home can be more efficient than when you are at the office. Office areas tend to have a lot of disruptions, meetings, and so on that eat up more of your day than you think.
Designate time in the morning and, if needed, part of the afternoon to get your work done. Try to make your work times about 2 hours each, so you are highly productive. Most people find that 3, two-hour work segments provide all the time they need to get their work done.
Take scheduled breaks
Part of a good work schedule is taking breaks at scheduled times, similar to what would happen in an office. Taking your scheduled breaks of 10-15 minutes and a lunch break keeps your mind fresh and allows you to stretch, check on others in the household, and come back ready to go again.
Allow time for physical and/or creative activities
Almost all of us do not get enough exercise, and we know it. But try to set some time to get simple exercise in. You can’t go to a gym, but all you really need to do is take a walk. If it is not too long, you can bring along the children or dog or spouse. The key is to plan it into your schedule. It doesn’t have to be every day, even though that is best, but every other day (e.g., M-W-F) is very effective. Even a 1-mile hike can make a real difference. You may have to be flexible and modify your schedule if you live anywhere the weather is less predictable.
If you love a creative activity of any kind, then schedule it as well. It can be on the days you don’t walk unless you’re ambitious and want to fit both activities into your days.
You can do many creative activities with your kids or spouse as well. Talk it over and be flexible and try something new. You may be surprised by how great it can be.
Establish a real quitting time
Most of us work until we are done. But when working from home, it is important to set a quitting time. As long as it works for the family, then it is okay. Many families have dinner at a set time, so try to incorporate it into your new home schedule.
It is a difficult time but considering that there are a lot of people who have been working from home before the COVID-19 pandemic and are very successful at it. You can be too!
You have noticed by now that the theme of these work from home tips is to set schedules. Managing your time makes it much easier to be productive while allowing for other activities and not finding yourself jumping from one thing to another and feeling like you can’t get anything done.
One last bonus tip, schedule time in the evening to connect with others: family members, friends, co-workers, etc. You can Skype, Zoom, Facebook, or whatever works for you to stay connected, share a laugh, see that those you care about are well, and still socialize while maintaining safety for all.
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