As people around the globe practice social-distancing measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19/coronavirus, many workplaces and schools have closed their doors and transitioned their employees and students to virtual work and learning. If you’re new to remote work, you may need to change some of your habits and routines to adapt to this new normal.
Remote work can come with unique challenges depending on your preferred work style, home space, available technology, and need for interpersonal connection. Even with its challenges, working from home offers unique opportunities to develop healthy boundaries between your personal and professional lives, build a sense of culture between classmates and colleagues, and maintain a growth mindset. Below are 8 tips for having a more fulfilling and productive remote working and learning experience.
When working from home, it’s easy to both under- and over-work. Setting and adhering to a predetermined schedule, including a start and end time, will help you segment your day and align your tasks and priorities accordingly. One of our College Scholars, Jeanpierre, recommends setting alarms to remind you of when you have scheduled classes and meetings.
Even though you are not leaving your home, following your normal routine will help you get into a work-ready mindset. Adhering to a normal schedule can be beneficial to mental health and provide an anchor amidst continued uncertainty. We recommend you set an alarm, shower, dress up, and eat a hearty breakfast to jumpstart your day.
When working from home it’s important to identify a space where you can focus and get things done. This may be challenging in the current pandemic, especially for those who live in a full house with others who may be competing for internet bandwidth, meeting space, and in need of care. However, it’s still important to identify a space that can be yours and that you associate with productivity. It’s best to not confuse your work and leisure spaces and to keep the area clean as you would in the office or classroom.
It’s important to be open and honest with your supervisors and professors about the challenges you may face working from home. For example, you might now be responsible for childcare or eldercare and may be unable to meet deadlines or work at the same schedule you normally do. It’s okay and healthy to state what your needs are during this time. As long as you are upfront about your situation, you, your colleagues, and/or your classmates can plan accordingly.
Know your organization’s or classroom’s policy on scheduled break times and take them. It’s best to not spend more than 15-20 minutes looking at your computer or phone at one time. Stretch, eat, socialize with friends, and exercise if you are able. Try apps like SmartBreak for Windows or TimeOut for Mac to schedule computer lock-out periods to ensure you are taking breaks! If your gym has been closed due to nationwide shutdowns, see if they are offering virtual or on-demand fitness classes.
Put your health first! It’s easy to work through sickness when you are remote. However, if you are feeling unwell, whether it is related to coronavirus or not, it’s important to give yourself time and space for a speedy recovery.