For many, the opportunity to work from home used to be an elusive dream. In the face of the global pandemic that is COVID-19, when so many of us are now forced to work from home, the reality of trying to 'get things done' whilst working remotely from our work colleagues and meeting rooms is perhaps more challenging than we may have envisioned.We have seen a rapid response to the challenges created by the rules and restrictions of social distancing. Thanks to the wonders of technology, workers in most industries can continue to work remotely whilst essential services, like death care, will always need people on the ground. Crisis breeds creativity and our ability to deploy practical solutions to accommodate the real needs of the community comes to the fore in such circumstances. One example of this being the use of web-streaming a funeral service to families whilst restrictions are in place on the number of people able to attend funerals.
In the current state of isolation, many workers had very little time to prepare a home office space, and certainly, for families sharing working/studying space, creating a permanently designated workspace may not be possible. A designated space in your home for each family member helps to set expectations and will contribute to the right 'work' frame of mind. Make sure you have the best chair possible to support your spine, be as close to natural daylight as you can, check the height of the surface you are using as your desk, and be organized in your tasks. The feeling of certainty comes from setting routines. Certainty aides the state of being calm and settled.
Find your working pattern – that fits in with your current situation, and this may mean juggling helping children with their studies. Be mindful of work, but in this changing COVID-19 isolation world, you also need to ensure your family receives the attention and support they need. It may take you a few days or weeks to find the right fit for you, your employer, and your family. For example, working a 12 hour day with breaks for meals, study assistance, etc. allows a full day of work, as well as providing support for your family. Working in isolation does not mean ignoring your health or your responsibilities to your household, and taking breaks are still essential, as is finishing your workday as you would usually do. Break for lunch, go outside and get some fresh air and Vitamin D.
Know when you are most productive, and where possible schedule your day to make sure you can maximize your effort and productivity when it naturally suits you or fits with your home dynamic.Working from home for many people is a new experience, and it can be a bit daunting and overwhelming, so give yourself the tools to help you keep on track. If you are not already using a planner or task type tool, consider using one to keep your workday on track. Start your day with a set of tasks/goals to achieve. Break projects up into bite-sized chunks. Update your plan as you go to give yourself a sense of completion.
You are working, albeit remotely; notice how much more effective you are when you rise at a planned time, shower & dress for the day and start work on time, as opposed to sleeping until a moment before that first meeting and taking the meeting in bed, in your PJ's!
So yes, get up and get dressed. As tempting as staying in your PJs maybe, this does not help switch your mind over from home / relaxing state to work mode.
Even though you are working from home, and many of us face restrictions regarding when and why we are allowed to leave the home, it is important to still exercise and look after yourself. Always prepare a lunch, albeit for the whole family, and make it healthy – exercise and eating well are key to good physical and mental well-being.
MOVE! Sitting at a computer all day… well, you know how that goes.
Working remotely is a new experience for many, let alone being in a self-isolated environment. We are not sure if isolation will last weeks or months, but you can be assured, once business is back to normal, it will be a new post-pandemic normal. How we navigate through these times is a choice. What we think, what we eat, how much we move, how we plan our day – are all choices. Self discipline includes self care. YOU are the most valuable person on the planet – if you look after you, you get to serve and support others. Choose habits that keep you well and as happy as one can be in these extreme times.
In future blogs, we will look at more specific challenges people may experience working from home in the current pandemic environment. We will also look at promoting team communications and well-being, including video-chats, in the coming weeks, and months. So, keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs and good luck with isolation, keep well, and look after yourselves and your family.