The World Health Organisation recently declared the coronavirus a pandemic event. Hence, companies are now asking their employees to work from home instead.
In a recent interview this week, William Hanage, an Epidemiology professor at Harvard, encourages everyone who can to remote work as COVID-19 spreads globally.
Companies including Apple, Twitter, JP Morgan, Amazon, and Microsoft, have prepared have issued guidance for their staff to telecommuting instead. In NASA Ames this week, an employee tested positive to COVID-19, forcing the space agency to release a mandatory telework order for its employees.
In Dublin the previous week, Google ordered its 8000 staff to work at home for a day to test run its remote work capabilities after one of its employees shown flu-like symptoms.
While in Australia last week, Cisco, Vodafone, and Clayton Utz closed their doors temporarily as a preventive measure to protect their workers.
How to Prepare Yourself for Remote Work?
The CEO and co-founder of 15Five, David Hassell says, “The biggest thing that is underestimated (in remote work) is the psychological impact of being alone.” As a business leader who runs a company, of which 40 percent are remote workers, this is saying a lot.
So what should you do to keep yourself sane in all of the chaos around you right now? Here are some insightful tips.
Matthew Knight, Strategy and Innovation Partner of Leapers Community, suggests preparing yourself mentally. He said, “Engage yourself with the possibility that you might need to work from home now.”
Your preparation will also need more than preparing mentally. You also have to make sure that you have the technology to support you from the first day.
Give Yourself a Break Sometimes
No one likes working for eight straight hours. That is why we have office breaks.
So it is also vital for you to take a few breaks to get a breather. VP of Global Commercial Marketing for Lenovo, David Rabin, emphasised that telecommuters tend to overwork because of the underwhelming feeling of remote work.
Pausing to take a break can boost productivity in the day. Julie Morgenstern, the author of Organizing from the Inside Out, described breaks as part of becoming productive. She said, “They make you smarter and give your perspective and answers.”
Customise Your Environment
Adjusting to a new work environment may take time. To help speed up the process, Rabin advised that you should not limit yourself if you are used to the feeling of moving around. It helps with overcoming the sense of confinement and isolation. Morgenstern suggested that you should match your workspace to the type of work you are doing.
Set Your Life and Work Apart
Morgenstern also said that you must set work-free spaces in your home. Preserve some areas in your home that you never do work in,” she adds.
On a different note, Anna Codrea-Rado, Professional Freelancer founder, discourages working from your bed and sofa as these are associated with comfort. Choose an area at home, which can get your mind to stay focused on work and not thinking about lying down and sleeping.
Furthermore, she further said about mixing life and work, “it muddies the boundaries between home life and work life.” However, it does not mean that you have to put on your work outfit to set the mood. That’s the beauty of remote work; you get to skip dressing up for work and instead focus on getting things done.
Arrange a Schedule When Possible
Working from the comfort of your home does not mean you have to add extra hours of work. Make this clear with your manager. Stick to a schedule. Set your computer aside when done with work and change into more comfortable clothing. It will help condition
Keep Lines Open
For long periods, work from home may turn out to be a chore, most particularly if you are used to seeing your co-workers face. To fight off boredom and loneliness, use messaging applications on your phone or laptop. Face Time, Skype, and Zoom are telecommunication tools where you can chat with your co-workers and do meetings.
Take Care of Yourself
While staying indoors to avoid catching the virus, you must not spend the entire day cooped up in your home. To prevent cabin fever, Codrea-Rado suggests, “Get out of the house at least once a day.”
Hence, you have to take proper break periods. Cook a meal while on a break, sip your favourite brew, stretch a bit, and jog in place for a minute. Anything that will help you keep your mind and body centred.
Work from home is slowly gaining traction, particularly in Australia, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Various companies are now looking for new technology and innovation to shift to a telecommuting workforce.