• Zoe Watson

Tips for working from home during the Corona Virus pandemic

The World Health Organisation has officially declared the coronavirus, or Covid-19, a global pandemic. As people, businesses and governments try to keep themselves and the community safe during this crisis, more and more companies are encouraging their employees to work from home. In some cases, this arrangement has become mandatory.

In what is rapidly becoming the world’s biggest ever remote work experiment, many employees are learning to work from home for the first time. Working from home can present various challenges, so here are our tips to help you make sure this goes as smoothly as possible.

Be prepared for loneliness

When you’re first forced to work from home, it can seem like a blessing. No commute, working in your pyjamas, not having to deal with office politics: what’s not to like? However, after a few days of enjoying your new set up, you’ll start to feel loneliness set in.

Loneliness is one aspect of working from home that is greatly underestimated. There is a significant psychological aspect of being alone, especially when this comes as a sudden change. Loneliness hits us on a very fundamental level, as it undermines our relatedness, or sense of being connected to others, which is an important part of being human.

Address loneliness by staying connected to other people as much as possible: use online tools to chat with your coworkers, and pick up the phone to call your friends and family using video call as much as you can.

Set boundaries

One of the other biggest challenges associated with working from home comes from the people you share your home with. As you enter a period of self-isolation, it is likely you will be sharing this with your partner and your children. This will be a period of adjustment for everyone, and the best way to handle this is with clear and open communication.

Sit down with whoever you share your home with – whether you partner, your family or your flatmates – and talk about how you will handle this period. Be sure to be clear on your needs, so you can best support each other to work from home. Discuss expectations so that you can all be as well prepared as possible.

Establish a schedule

Perhaps the best things about working from home are the freedom and flexibility. However, this can also provide a challenge. Being responsible for your own time means you need to make all kinds of decisions you never needed to think about before, which can be overwhelming.

Setting up a schedule for yourself can be very helpful in this context. Set a daily schedule, including the key tasks you want to complete that day, as well as blocks of time for specific projects.

Try to start work at the same time every day, even if you don’t have to. It is equally important to finish work at a set time, to make sure your work doesn’t bleed into your personal hours, which can be a big risk when working from home.

Look after your wellbeing

When working from home, it is important to look after your physical and mental wellbeing. When your home becomes your office, it is easy for physical activity to suffer. Come up with ways to keep physically active, which may require getting creative with ways to exercise at home in between work tasks.

This is not only great for your physical fitness, but it will help to boost your mood too. Cabin fever is a very real psychological impact of working from home. Living and working in the same space can make you feel trapped and your emotional health will suffer.

Make sure you take breaks throughout the day. Remember that when you’re at work, you don’t work eight hours straight without a break: you chat to colleagues, go out to get lunch or grab a coffee. Make sure you give yourself similar breathers when working from home.

Good luck!

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