Has your country imposed lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak? If it has — we are on the same boat. I’m on my day three of working from home and, to be honest, it wasn’t as easy as I imagined it to be.
The most difficult part is to find a comfy spot for work and have regular movement. The house isn’t the best space for walking around (contrary to the office).
Socialising and human interaction is something that I started to miss, as well.
These are the things that we take for granted. I’m sure to appreciate them better after the lockdown is lifted and I’ll be able to return to the office.
Here are some of the tips that helped me stay more positive and productive while working from home.
Don’t sleep in — observe normal office hours
As hard as it is to wake up every morning, I still wake up as if I was getting ready to go to the office. This helps me keep my day balanced. My morning routine didn’t change.
Wake up. Shower. Brush my teeth. Dress up. Make coffee. Listen to the BBC Global News podcast. Read an article or two on Medium. Start work.
I even use the same tumbler for coffee that I bring to the office. This helps me create a more office-alike environment.
Have regular morning catch-up con-calls with your team
Every morning, at 10 am, I have been having a conference call on Google Hangouts with my team. We discuss what the plan for the day is. We also interact with each other and encourage to stay positive.
Normally, I don’t have daily meetings with my team, but in such circumstances, it’s really nice to re-connect and have someone to talk with. The call isn’t purely about work — it’s a way to socialise and still feel a part of a team.
Throughout the day, I also call my individual team members if I have something important to share or feedback to them.
Communication is key. Don’t cut it off.
Observe business-as-usual processes
As much as possible observe business-as-usual (BAU) processes because the work should continue and you should be doing what you’re expected to do. Don’t delay tasks for when you’re back to the office just because it is more difficult to complete them remotely.
For instance, I still communicate inter-departmentally, to ensure that my direct customers are attended by other departments and that the work that I started before the lockdown continues even now.
Motivate yourself with flexibility
Plan your day ahead and avoid procrastination. The great thing about this whole situation is that you finally own your time. Yes, you may be required to answer a phone call between 9 and 6, but in the end, if you complete what you have to before 6, you’re free to turn on your favourite show on Netflix and enjoy.
Normally, work from home has too many temptations — a short nap after lunch, frequent breaks and snacking, background TV show, etc. These make you less productive and may affect your work.
Motivating yourself to do whatever you want once your to-do list is empty is a great way to speed up and work harder.
Stay active and healthy
I know it’s extremely hard to stay active under the lockdown. However, frequent stretching and some yoga can come in handy. I also drink a lot of water so that I would be “called” to stand up and walk to the bathroom.
I also avoid all unhealthy food (even though my whole apartment is full of cookies, biscuits, chocolates and snacks). Instead, I have stocked up on apples, bananas and healthier options for snacking.
I have also changed my main meal options. For example, from regular pasta to wholemeal, multigrain pasta; from rice to brown rice.
Most importantly, stay well hydrated. Staying at home doesn’t mean you don’t have to drink water. I make myself a big jug of freshly squeezed lemon and lime water with some lemongrass or mint. It’s great for hydration as well as the immune system.
Go to bed as usually
Don’t binge-watch your favourite show on Netflix during the week simply because you don’t have to wake up early. In fact, you should wake up as if you were to go to the office.
A proper routine will make your day more natural and will not disbalance your working schedule.
I hope these tips will work for you. It’s not an ideal situation, but together and through conscious and responsible actions, we will be able to combat the virus and get back to normal soon.