Because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, businesses and workers are forced to cut down on business operations or work from home. While statistics show that 4 in 5 workers agree that working from home is less stressful than a traditional office, not everyone is built for this remote setup, especially when implemented so suddenly.
This “new normal” blurs the line between work and home life as you balance both during the pandemic. With this, the battle against burnout, stress, and, most importantly, finding a healthy work-life balance is a growing challenge.
Bring some sense of normalcy back into your life even when you’re stuck at home by setting boundaries. We’ve prepared a guide to help you work from home during COVID-19 more effectively, and some tips to recharge now and then.
Set working hours
It’s essential to stick to a routine when working from home in times like this. You don’t have to stick to traditional work hours, but instead, find the best time you’re most productive. Working at different hours can hamper your daily routine.
Scheduling your work hours can maximize your time for work. While you’re at it, remind the people you’re living with not to bother you during work hours to keep you from getting distracted and maintain your focus on your tasks.
Set-up a designated home office
If you work on your bed or your living room couch, you will soon enough find it harder to relax in these parts of the house because you’ll unconsciously associate them as your workspaces. If you don’t have a home office, find a dedicated workspace to separate it from your home life.
For example, you can set up your workspace on your dining table, so you don’t “bring” your work in your home life or where you usually relax, such as in your living room.
Give yourself proper breaks when working. This is especially essential when you feel like you’re staring too long at your screen instead of doing a task. Schedule small breaks in between work to keep your productivity high and to quickly recharge your brain. Otherwise, you’re bound to burn out.
Value your lunch breaks, as well. You can take that time to have a good meal with your family, play with your kids, and do some light and quick chores. These can be great stress-busters for you.
Enjoy your weekends
Weekends exist so you can rest and take a break from worrying about work. In a time of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, give yourself the liberty to enjoy the weekend. Working while being quarantined at home can be draining.
You would also start to feel like the days are blending into each other, making it all the more important to spend your weekends relaxing and doing some activities. Try playing board games with your family, scheduling a movie night, or simply resting. This helps you look forward to the weekends and give you a sense of typical weeks.
Try to communicate with your teammates about things beyond work
Before the pandemic and your sudden telecommuting setup, were clarifying deadlines and definite goals the only things you talked about with your teammates? Didn’t you talk about the movies or TV series you watched on weekends, or the news?
Maintain the camaraderie you have with your teammates even when you’re all working from home. Take the initiative to conduct a quick team engagement once a week. If you want, you can ask your teammates to have lunch together over Zoom or a video meeting to catch up.
Switch off when work is done
If your work schedule lasts only until 5 p.m., make sure that you stop working by then and call it a day. If you need to go over to finish a task, do so. However, make sure that you unplug from work once work is done. This means avoiding checking and tending to emails and leaving your work laptop on the designated workspace.
To maintain a work-life balance in a crisis, you have to set strict ground rules on when work stops and home life begins. If you have to decline meetings that are scheduled past your working hours or on weekends, do so (unless it’s extremely urgent and important).
Get enough sleep
Finally, make sure that you take care of yourself by getting enough sleep. It’s daunting to go outside, and one of the best and easiest ways to entertain yourself is to watch TV shows or movies and browse online, which can drag your day. Next thing you know, it’s already 2 a.m., and you’re still wide awake.
Set strict bedtimes and keep your phone away at night. This allows you to clock out for the day and rest uninterrupted by digital screens.
Summing it up
It’s not easy to work in isolation and under quarantine. The threat of a deadly virus is stressful enough as it is. We hope that these tips can help you create a smooth remote working experience during this pandemic. You may not control what happens tomorrow or the week after, but implementing guidelines like those above can help you maintain productivity and sanity amid a crisis.
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