From 2016 to 2017 FlexJobs and Global Workspace Analytics report that full-time remote work grew by 7.9%. In the last five years, remote work grew by 44% and looking at the previous ten, it grew a whopping 91%. (“Remote Work and Statistics: Shifting Norms and Expectations”; Hering, Beth; Feb. 13, 2020)
Still, not all of us are used to working from home full-time. We may do it part-time or take advantage of this on occasion throughout the year. Perhaps we haven’t before recently.
Working from home is usually by our own choice or preference, but at this time in our history, scientists are pushing people across the globe to work from home full-time if they’re able to, to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten its growth curve.
This is in a big effort to keep everyone feeling healthy and well.
Even if you weren’t concerned with your health before, it’s important to not just reflect on your own now, but the health of your loved ones, peers and their loved ones during this time. Taking measures to distance yourself from the typical office environment is a great way to support this advisory from The World Health Organization.
If you find you are able to work from home during this time, here are our top tips to keep your spirits and productivity up to be the most effective.
1. Get Dressed for the Day
Even though you’re working from home, it’s important to get dressed for the day. If you roll out of bed in your pajamas and get to work, this can set you up to be less productive.
Imagine if your boss were to request a video chat meeting, for example. Ask yourself if you’d be prepared. While it’s okay to be comfortable, it’s also important to keep taking care of yourself. Set a standard for yourself to maintain.
A business casual appearance usually does the job! You don’t have to be suit and tie – just follow your company’s general guidelines for this if you’re feeling unsure about how to accommodate a working from home dress code.
If you live in a small space or are just lacking office space in general and find that your office overlaps with a comfortable area like a living room or bedroom, ensure that you make your bed is made in the morning to avoid working in bed or taking naps during the day.
If you’re working in your living room, tidy up the couch. Don’t leave a nap space ready to sleep in. Fold up your blankets. Try to separate your office space from your living room or bedroom spaces if possible.
If it’s not possible, be sure to follow this advice to avoid dozing off during the day. While your co-workers may not be able to see you, your boss will be able to tell if you’re less productive.
3. Stick to a Schedule
Working from home often eliminates a lot of the hustle and bustle of the morning, but it’s still important to stick to a routine, even if you’ve shortened your cycle for the time being. Perhaps you don’t wear as much makeup or do your hair as nicely in the morning, for example.
Still, it’s important that you start at your regular time and treat your workflow normally. Take your regular breaks, and stop the day at your normal time to maintain your work-life balance. Find that healthy medium. Underdoing it and overdoing it aren’t good for you or your company.
If your workplace didn’t encourage or let you work from home prior to this time, this concept may be new to you, but for those that do work from home throughout the year, you know your “9-5” must be treated just as seriously for you as it is for in-office employees.
Your company trusts you to do your job and is providing a benefit to you throughout the year to be able to work from home. While now it is for health-related priorities, it’s still crucial that you apply focus and don’t fall into bad habits of treating this period like an isolated vacation.
Don’t take advantage of your advantage.
4. Spring-Clean Your Inbox
With the state of the world being how it is, you may find that you have fewer meetings. If your calendar is less cluttered, this is a great time to clean up your inbox and/or organize your files!
Think about how many emails you’ve been meaning to respond to, delete, or move to different folders. Maybe your files are all over the place between multiple devices or drives. Now is the perfect time to jump on these systems and organize, organize, organize. (Cleaning up your CRM or marketing automation data is also a good thing to do right now!)
If you have less urgent tasks and meetings on your radar, take this time to catch up on those more tedious tasks you’ve put on the backburner until now.
The same mantra can be applied you’re done with your regular hours for the day. Keep your mind busy and productive. Take care of the chores you’ve been meaning to around the house for a while.
Just because we can’t see or touch our loved ones in person, doesn’t mean we can’t chat on the phone or video chat via our desktops or mobile devices. Don’t isolate yourself from human connection completely.
The Web can be a powerful tool for good and bad. Use it for good in a time of crisis (and always) to spread information and kindness, not panic or blame. We are all in this together.
Be mindful of your emotional health as well as your mental and physical health.
7. Participate in Virtual Events
Monitor your inboxes – instead of canceling events, many are moving to be a completely virtual experience. Stay on top of your emails and engage with your communities. Participate in virtual discussions, events, and classes.
Now’s the time to finally join that Twitter chats you’ve been wanting to! (I would especially recommend #CMWorld Chat on Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. CT/12:00 p.m. EST.)
Some yoga instructors are moving online, for example, for the time being, as well as important nonprofit events, like the JDRF One Walk in Northeast Wisconsin. Influencers are even hosting virtual hangouts with their fans, for example. There are so many different ways companies and individuals are handling the current situation to keep your health a top priority.
While you may be stuck at home, you don’t have to be completely disconnected from your peers. Use the power of the Web to stay connected in new and creative ways.
Ledgeview has many virtual webinars, for example. These are simple to put together for businesses and a great way to maintain professional engagement.
Whether you do it during a regularly scheduled break or before or after work hours, exercise is great medicine in so many ways. While rigorous exercise is not good if you’re feeling unwell, you can still participate in light exercise. Otherwise, try to keep up your normal habits or start something new.
Not everyone has an at-home gym. Maybe you have a treadmill. Maybe you have an elliptical. Perhaps you’re a yoga or pilates mat person. Don’t ignore it while you’re home!
Many fitness instructors are moving their classes online during this time to accommodate people. Find out how your local gym or trainer is handling it when you follow them on social media or join a virtual fitness training program if you like.
At this time, it’s important we are mindful of all aspects of our health.