In light of COVID-19, companies of all sizes and tenures are taking steps to transition their operations into virtual processes. This can be challenging, especially for legacy organizations that have only recently, if at all, started to incorporate work from home. In an effort to instill enterprise-wide agility, RSA started providing its employees with the option to work from home a few years ago. Michelle Anderson, a regional account manager for RSA in Atlantic Canada, has over 20 years of experience working at RSA in various sales and business development roles. Over the years, she has been able to gain vast experience working in different types of environments enabling her to smoothly transition from an office space to working from home (WFH).
Here are her top five tips for adapting and working effectively from home:
- Have a Dedicated Workspace and Set Time Boundaries
While not always possible, having a separate room or a table/desk that you only use for work can help place an invisible barrier between your home and your job. If your office is also your den, you’ll need to learn how to focus on work during work hours and ignoring your computer or e-mails and focus on watching tv or reading outside work hours. If you live with other people or have children, a dedicated workspace might be more difficult to arrange, and time boundaries might have to be more flexible. Let your colleagues know so that meetings or calls can be adjusted accordingly.
- Prepare to Work and Keep a Routine
No commute makes it easy to sleep in and work in your pajamas. For Michelle, preparing every morning to go to work helps keep a routine. “Getting dressed for work makes me feel ready to tackle the world.” A morning routine could include creating a to-do list, eating breakfast with the family, walking the dog or getting ahead on lunch prep. Keeping a schedule can also help deter excessive and unhealthy snacking. Additionally, if it’s possible, taking a small walk at lunch or completing a domestic task like laundry or dishwashing can clear your head and give you a screen time break. Alternately, you can take your break times to interact with your partner, children or anyone else currently residing with you. It can provide good stress relief and lift your mood for an afternoon of work.
- Stay Hydrated to Boost Your Immune System
Drink water - lots of it. Working from home means unlimited access to your sink and you don’t have to share your bathroom with as many people as you might have to in the office. Bonus: Hydration is great for the immune system, which means it’s a good defense mechanism in this time of unprecedented COVID-19 spread.
- Maintain a Work-Life Balance
It can be difficult to distinguish between home time and work time when they both occur in the same space. So, make sure to remember your home is also for living not just working. Allow yourself time in the mornings to get ready and start your day, avoiding getting up and immediately immersing yourself in work. Throughout the day, use personal errands or activities to take a few moments away from work and make sure to take a lunch break. During your lunch, get off your laptop and spend some time doing something relaxing like watching an episode of your latest show, reading a chapter of your book, or taking a break outside. In the evenings, plan time with friends, family, and to unwind. Good ways to maintain your social life while staying at home include video conference calls with friends, virtual games nights or even collective virtual Netflix viewing parties. Balance and boundaries will keep burnout at bay.
- Manage Work with Children
For those with children, you'll know by now by how challenging it is to focus on work with children at home! From online learning to Pinterest activities, there are no shortage of ideas to help keep children of all ages busy. A few fun ideas that I've seen online include creating “activity bags,” each one filled with a different activity, from a puzzle to a costume. Children can choose a different bag each hour and until the time is up, they have to figure out different ways to utilize those items before they can pick a new bag. Alternatively, you can work with them on a schedule of chores or educational activities they can do while you work and emphasize fun activities you will do together during breaks. Good luck!