As coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States, many businesses are closing their physical doors to protect both patrons and employees from contracting the illness or unknowingly transmitting it to others.
In light of this need for social distancing, many businesses are allowing their employees to work from home. But with kids doing virtual learning and countless news articles and COVID-19 updates vying for our attention, how is anyone supposed to stay focused and get things done? Here are some tips for working from home during the coronavirus outbreak.
1. Try to stick to your usual schedule as much as possible.
While it may be tempting to sleep in and view social distancing as a break, don’t change your routine just because of a COVID-19 lockdown. If your family is used to a certain rhythm, breaking that may stunt your productivity and make it harder to go back once normalcy returns.
Does your family typically wake up at 7 a.m. every morning to pack lunches and get ready for school/work? Stick to it! Wake up at the same time, and get that lunch prep out of the way. Stow lunches in the fridge with “name tags” on each one so that everyone knows exactly what to grab when lunchtime rolls around.
It’s okay if the actual food you serve looks slightly different; but we highly recommend you still use the first couple of hours in your day to do the whole breakfast, lunch-prep, gathering supplies, and instruction-giving part of your routine. Of course, don’t forget your morning cup of joe! Be sure to support your local businesses and have your coffee delivered to your doorstep.
2. Create designated spaces for relaxation and work
This may be difficult to do, but if you are working from home, try to sit at a desk or work in the same spot every single day. Believe it or not, our brains pick up on small cues like this and after the first few days, your brain will recognize that specific spot as a “work only zone.” This will make it much easier to jump into whatever tasks you need to accomplish and aid with focusing as well.
Just be sure when you’re in your “work zone” that you truly “zone in” on your work. (This might mean turning your phone on silent so that social media notifications and COVID-19 news updates don’t distract you!)
3. Tag team with your spouse
Many families are having to juggle schooling kids at home and working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Now is a great time to build your teamwork skills as a couple!
If you are able, create a game plan with your spouse to help one another accomplish things. For example, dad can oversee schoolwork on the back deck so that mom can make conference calls without interruption. Then mom can feed kids lunch and put little ones down for a nap while dad sends emails.
If you’re unable to tag team with your spouse because they’re still working outside the home, try to save any work that requires focus for naptime or after the kids are in bed for the night.
4. Know when to let go
Cutting yourself some slack can be really therapeutic, so be strategic and maximize your time the best you can. For example, wait to turn on a show or movie for the kids until you are ready to buckle down and work.
While we can’t speak on behalf of your boss, we don’t think anyone expects you to get just as much done at home as you do in the office. Between COVID-19 quarantines and other stressors, you may not be able to complete tasks as efficiently as you usually do. Work-from-home life is oftentimes distracting and complicated, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Show yourself some grace and just keep plugging away at it.