It is now almost a full year that we have been living and working under the constraints of the pandemic COVID-19. For some, it has meant a loss of work and income, and for others, the mental stress of being in “lockdown” at home while struggling through the daily work-related job requirements has been overwhelming. For those who have been required to work remotely, getting to the point of efficiently working from home has been done on a “seat-of-your-pants” approach.  Some employees have embraced the remote working environment wholeheartedly, while others have been reluctant participants.

Isolation has been a major complaint on remote work. Stay connected to your colleagues, friends and family. Even if you have been working from home before the pandemic, your situation may have changed in that your spouse or family members are now also at home. 

The following tips will help you have a planned approach to continuing to work from home, getting your work done while still maintaining your mental well-being.

Setup A Specific Area As A Home Office Or Workspace

Initially, as “work from home” became the rule, many employees set up their laptop on the dining room or kitchen table and proceeded to use this as a “temporary” work area. Then as family members working from home joined or children attended school virtually, it started getting crowded and noisy around the table. It quickly became obvious that there needed to be a designated area for each person. The area did not need to be large; it just needed to be a specific spot that is exclusively for “work.”

Going to the office each day pre-COVID automatically created a home/work separation that made it easier to maintain balance. That separation is a primary requirement in working from home. It does not need to be a whole room. It can just be a corner or small space that is a designated work area. Employers generally try to make offices ergonomically efficient with comfortable furniture and good lighting.  Working from home furniture should be addressed the same way.

Entering your separate workspace will help to toggle the “at work” switch and conversely turn it off when the workday is done. As comfortable as the bed or couch may look to work from, it blurs the line between working and resting. Not only does it reduce productivity but it can extend work time well past normal working hours.

Dress For Work

We have all joked or heard stories of co-workers who wear a dress shirt and pajama bottoms when working from home. We all laugh and do exactly that. It isn’t necessary to dress formally for the home office, but the physical act of getting dressed in work attire helps to delineate work life from home life. Also, when using Zoom or other virtual office settings it’s important to look your professional best. Video meetings can display a lot and it’s important to come across in the best light, especially since you’re not physically in front of the persons your meeting.

Create A Specific Shift From Home To Work

During a traditional commute from home to work, where you may have had an opportunity to get organized and prepare for your workday, now instead, the commute includes a walk from the kitchen to your work area. The transition from home to work mode is nonexistent. It’s important to set aside time to do what you did before working remotely. If you used to go for a run or workout before work, continue to maintain some of the normalcy of your regular day.

Conversely, at the end of the day, take some time to “wind down” from work before jumping into dinner prep and/or school homework scene. Create a “commute time” to transition from work and clearly set the boundaries.  

Maintain Specific Work Hours

Working from home differs from being in the office in that you are in charge of your time. You need to be disciplined enough to get up and logged onto the computer early as if you were reporting to the office and equally disciplined to log off at the end of the day and transition back to home. Family members need to respect your work hours and keep from interruptions that would normally wait until after hours. Make it clear that during regular work hours, you are not to be disturbed unless in the case of an emergency.

Working from home creates an easy way to blur the lines when you want to reply to one more e-mail or review one last file. 

You should also not spend family time or sit in front of the TV with your laptop on your lap after work hours. Put it away and spend quality restful time to recharge and be ready for the next day. 

Limit Distractions

One of the biggest challenges we face when working from home is distractions.  For example, if you don’t have a TV in your normal workplace, do not give one space in your home office. Whether it is political or weather-related, TV’s can present the worst disruptions of your day. Snack breaks probably come in second. An occasional break is necessary as it was in the office but the siren call of the kitchen is often hard to overcome when working from home.

An intermittent break for a household chore like throwing a load of laundry in the washer may be OK, but rearranging the kitchen drawers or cleaning out a closet would be a major distraction and time user. The use of a timer is very useful when taking a short break. Make adjustments to your mobile device as well to eliminate or reduce notifications during the workday to your personal phone.

Need support? Let us help you and your employees establish clear guidelines for being effective, efficient workers in this remote working environment.

Contact Klein HR Solutions Today:

Call (305) 775-5640