Social distancing. Self-quarantine. Incubation period. COVID-19. Terms we’ve unfortunately all become accustomed to in 2020. Remember when working from home seemed like a beautiful utopia? Now, most of us can’t wait to get the green light and get back to the office.
Luckily, we’re not dealing with the Spanish Flu in 1918 anymore. Technology is giving society the opportunity to stay connected, retain some semblance of ‘normal’ life, and keep a lot of us going professionally. In this ‘Work From Home: Coronavirus Edition’, we’re going to guide you to sanity, productivity, and a world where you don’t end up hurling your laptop (or anything else for that matter) out the window.
Set Up Your Home Office Properly
Your semi-permanent office is now your home. Instead of that long commute stuck in traffic or on the subway, you’ve got the ‘roll out of bed and walk 10 seconds’ routine.
- Dress the part. Would your boss accept pajamas and bed hair? Exactly. Dress the part and feel better for it. Besides, a nice shower in the morning is the perfect remedy for waking up sluggish and tired.
- Separate work and home. Your bed should not be your office. Your desk should not be your dining table. Where possible, separate your work and home spaces. If you live in a small apartment, move things around when you get up to give you that mindset change.
- Get the right equipment. If you can afford it, get yourself decent equipment. Think ergonomic chair and monitor, for example. Your employer may be able to help with this, especially if working from home becomes a long-term solution.
Zen Your Workspace
This is a bit of an extension of the previous point. Once the practical things have been set up, we recommend that you try to zen up your workspace a little bit. Zen = higher productivity, less stress, fewer distractions. Here’s how to start:
- Buy some plants. Green adds color, livens up a room, and they are scientifically proven to reduce stress. Studies have also shown that indoor plants boost mood, add productivity, and even fight colds!
- Build a relationship with the environment. It may sound a little ‘out there’, but try and be mindful of your surroundings and build a relationship with the environment. Considering what climate scientists are telling us, the planet depends on it! For example, don’t keep your computers and monitors running 24/7. Turn the air conditioning off if you can handle it. And don’t print when you don’t have to; try and keep your printing eco-friendly if you can.
- Simplify. Don’t clutter your workspace with a bunch of gadgets, paperwork, and trinkets. Keep things clean, organized, and stress-free. Give designated spots to your equipment. It keeps things organized. Remember, clutter in your home equals clutter in your mind.
Use Light Therapy
Many of us used to think light therapy was the modern version of snake oil. However, the benefits of light therapy shouldn’t be ignored as there’s actual science behind it.
You see, all our bodies are regulated by what’s known as circadian rhythms. Our bodies use hormones to ensure our sleep cycles are regulated. Light gives signals to our brains; dimly lit environments cause the production of melatonin, which essentially means ‘it’s sleep time’.
To combat the lack of natural light, we recommend purchasing a daylight desk lamp.
Use Music to Focus Your Mind
We think that music is an essential part of any work from home day. But we’re not saying that you should load up Spotify and give anything a whirl. In fact, you should probably be avoiding tunes you’ve never heard, those that make you want to get up and dance, or songs that will turn your office into a karaoke fest.
Instead, you want music that helps you focus. It should block out your surroundings, but it should be easy to ignore. The most effective music blends in with your environment. For this, the following apps are worth checking out:
All of these companies use scientific evidence and user feedback to build the most effective soundtrack for your work sessions.
Go Outside (If You Can!)
If you’re in Spain or Italy, you’ve been out of luck unless you have a garden. British or American? Use the outdoors, while you still can! You need to keep your body healthy, so workouts are a must, no matter how much work you have on your plate.
Go out for a walk or run every single day if possible. The change of scenery, the break from a claustrophobic environment, and the time to think without distractions, make even a quick walk around the block very beneficial indeed. Just make sure you keep a distance of six feet apart!
Don’t Expect Too Much of Yourself
We’ll leave you with this: don’t beat yourself up if you’re not as productive as usual. We’re going through an unprecedented worldwide pandemic, right? It’s not easy. And it’s okay to struggle and stumble, a bit.
We know, it’s easier said than done. Managers may be incessant with their calls, clients still expect things to get done, and keeping the household going isn’t exactly automatic. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to remain healthy and sound, both in mind and body, adapting and creating a successful daily routine that will be beneficial for you and your output.