Amid the COVID-19 initiative to stay at home and stay healthy, some people are finding it difficult to get any work done, especially if they have children that are home too. I’ve been working remotely for several years now and it takes some adjustment in the beginning. Here are helpful tips that helped me when I first started out.
Designate a room to work that has a desk and a door that you can close when you really need privacy. Let your children, and your significant other, know that when the door is closed, you cannot be disturbed unless it’s an emergency. This will allow you to concentrate and speak on the phone without being interrupted. If your children need a project, they can make a door hanger for you that says, “Please – Do Not Disturb.” This fun, arts and crafts project can make them feel proud instead of disappointed when you hang it on the door.
Always get dressed in the morning. Although tempting, it’s not a good idea to work in the same clothes that you slept in. When you shower and get ready for the day, even if you dress casually, you will be stimulated and accomplish more. You will also be ready for impromptu video conferences with your boss.
Stick to a schedule. Start and end work at the same time you would normally. This way, you will be prepared for anything that your boss throws at you during the day. Try not to work late into the night unless it’s a critical deadline. If you work too long, it can cause eye strain and it may affect your energy the next day.
Don’t listen to the fridge or the pantry! Even though it’s calling to you, try not to give in. This is a tough one because we all know that it is so easy to walk into the kitchen for your favorite treat. Instead of sneaking a snack, keep your water bottle full and hydrate yourself. Keep your appetite in check by having a piece of fruit or a handful nuts if you’re really hungry between meals. You’ll be so proud of yourself when you go back to the office and your clothes still fit.
Schedule exercise time. Take a physical break, even if it’s a half hour on the treadmill, doing yoga or taking a walk with your dog around your neighborhood, it will help clear your mind. Ask your significant other and kids to walk with you around the block if you feel you’re not spending enough time with them. Sitting for too long staring at a computer is not good for your health and you’ll be surprised at the new-found energy you add to your work.
Have a virtual meeting. You can collaborate from anywhere with colleagues or your boss by using easy apps like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Group chat, brainstorm your next brilliant idea, or conduct a project review. Teams paid subscription offers ability to access and share files, admin controls for up to 250 participants and integrates with Office 365. Zoom’s paid version offers admin controls for up to 100+ participants. Both offer free versions with limited features. You can also collaborate, manage projects and capture data through Basecamp or Smartsheet. Both have time scheduling and tracking tools.
Have some other great tips? Please share them – I look forward to your comments!