Working remotely can be tough for some people depending on their personality type, but being forced to work from home is hard for nearly everyone. In a unified response to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, most of us are currently limited to at-home work. At Cosmitto, we’ve always had a one day a week remote work policy, so we have a little bit of experience we’d like to share to help you get through the foreseeable future. Here are our tips to adjust to remote-work life:
Maybe you don’t need to keep your usual 9-5, but you do want to make sure you’re setting aside distraction-free hours to focus on work. Personally, I’ve been loving Plan to visually organize my days and stick to a schedule, but just using Google Calendar works great too!
Plan out the rest of your day as well, not just the work hours. Get up, get dressed (sweatpants count, though some people may feel more productive getting into their usual work attire), and eat your breakfast or drink your coffee Try to stick to your regular morning routine as much as possible. Your brain is used to it and will react positively to what it knows.
An often overlooked aspect of working from home is giving yourself breaks. There are natural breaks during a day at the office like co-workers coming to your desk to chat, watercooler conversations, and lunch breaks. Make sure you’re taking time to walk around or get away from work to avoid burnout. There are so many tools or methods out there like the Pomodoro Technique — where you work for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break, and repeat 4x until you take 1 long 30 min break before starting over — to just setting alarms on your phone for every few hours or so as a reminder to step away from your screen.
Lastly, make sure you’re scheduling some virtual meetings. If you’re used to going into an office, working remotely can feel extremely isolating. With apps like Google Hangouts or Zoom, it’s so easy to stay connected face to face.
We cannot stress this enough — don’t do work in bed or on the couch. It’s comfy, but not super productive. This doesn’t mean you need a home office, at least not exactly. Set up a spot at your dining room table or at a desk. Just create a workspace, without distractions. It could even be more casual than that. One of my co-workers clears off a space on the floor with her back to the couch. She puts her laptop on a cardboard box, and at the end of the day, puts all her stuff into the box. This designated space can help you “turn-off” at the end of your working day. Once you “clock out,” don’t return to this designated space until the next time you’re “clocking in!” If you have kids, explain to them that this space is your work space — aka, you shouldn’t be bothered when in this space.
You won’t have the same exact schedule or routine as you would in an office. As time goes on, you will have moments of distraction and unproductiveness. That’s okay! Be kind to yourself. We’re all dealing with this together.
For more working from home tips, we loved this article with over 20 tips for adjusting to a remote-work lifestyle for the time being. And if you’ve already burned through your usual podcasts, check out these podcasts our team is loving right now.