By Parisa Mirzadegan
Looking like you’ll be working from home longer than you expected? In light of the new normal brought about by COVID-19, companies like Google and Facebook have announced extended work-from-home policies, and Twitter will even allow WFH “forever.” While there’s no way to say how the future of work will look, the odds are that your company is already incorporating more flexibility around remote work. Here are a few tips and tools to help you survive the long haul and make the most of working from home – during and after COVID-19.
Set a routine.
The first step of working from home is to get your routine into gear. You’ve probably learned by now that the least productive days are those where you stay in PJs until noon or set your alarm for 15 minutes before your first meeting; avoid those slumps by setting a schedule and sticking to it. This could mean taking an extra hour before work to exercise and get dressed before diving into the day, blocking your calendar off for lunch, or setting up a weekly happy hour to catch up with colleagues.
Create a comfortable, effective work area.
If you’ve been procrastinating on optimizing your work area, you’re not alone. Take this as a sign to ditch the kitchen table workspace (or your living room couch!) and invest in a standing desk or standing desk converter where you can practice healthy posture and focus on your work. Don’t forget to grab your FluidStance Level® to keep your body and mind in motion throughout the workday (especially now that many of us are getting a lot fewer steps in than we’re used to).
Be patient with yourself. Remember that right now, you’re not just working from home – you’re working from home during a pandemic. Schedule time to check in on your own wellness, as well as that of your colleagues, friends, and family. Take advantage of any resources your company may offer to maintain and care for your mental health during this difficult time. There are also plenty of meditation apps, such as Headspace, that can help simplify your mindfulness routine.
Reset your physical health.
Now more than ever, it’s important to care for our bodies and stay healthy. Try some stretches at your desk; book virtual exercise classes to support your favorite local studios; and walk, run, or bike in your neighborhood if you’re able to do so safely. (Psst…to stay hydrated, check out the new Fillup™. It’s basically your own personal water cooler, sans tedious water cooler conversations.)
Learn to log off.
Especially while working from home, it’s easy to fall into the always-online trap. Now more than ever, it’s critically important to create space between your work life and your personal life. Do your best to stick to a typical work schedule and remember that your inbox will be there in the morning. If you can’t resist powering through your inbox at 10pm, consider scheduling emails to go out the next morning; this can help respect your colleagues’ time and avoid creating the expectation of immediate responsiveness outside of work hours.
Enjoy the extra time in your day.
Consider taking up a new hobby or project during the time you’re saving on your commute (about 4.5 hours a week, for the average American). It’s also a great time to reconnect with family and friends via a virtual game night, book club, or even a socially distanced hike. If you’re lucky enough to have the option to work from home, savor those extra hours in the day!
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