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April 11, 2020

By: Tiffanie Pierson


With what has become a global pandemic, the coronavirus has most people working from home. Everyone who works remotely has to decide when and where to work, and how they will form boundaries between work and private life. Working remotely, especially from home, means figuring out these issues and many others. For those whom this has become the new normal, at least for a while, here are a few tips to help you stay productive and maintain balance.


1. Create a Morning Routine

Your morning routine should signify that you’re about to start work. Lately, my husband and I have been taking morning walks. For some, it may be their morning cup of coffee or getting dressed to start your day (though with working from home, I do love pajama day). A steady routine can be a tremendous resource in helping you get your day started.


2. Set a Schedule

Create and maintain working hours and stick to them, as much as you can.  Set clear guidelines for when you will be available for work and when you will be taking calls. For many, flexibility is one of the key benefits of working from home. You may need to start your day early or extending your day later to accommodate colleagues in a different time zone. Most importantly this schedule will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.


3. Designate a Home Office or Workspace

Dedicated a works space with essential peripherals. If it something that you o would use in your office each day, keep it close.  Your workspace does not have to be its own room, especially if you live in small quarters, but it should feel somewhat separate from the rest of your home. Try to make your office/workspace comfortable, and pleasant to be in. You will likely be there for eight hours a day! A space with natural light is a plus.


4. Take a Brain Break/Leave Home

Understand your organization’s policy on breaks and utilize them. If there are no policies in place, allow yourself adequate time throughout the workday to step away from your phone and screen. Typically, US-based companies allot an hour lunch and two 15 minute breaks. To the degree that it si safe and allowable during the COVID-19 pandemic, leave the house for some fresh air, but of course, make sure you maintain proper social distancing. Movement, fresh air, and natural light will do your body some good.


5. Virtual Socialization

Working remotely can cease a lot of the casual social interactions you were used to having in your previous work setting. Chat with your coworkers virtually using Zoom, Teams, Slack, WhatsApp or whatever medium your organization uses to communicate.  Small talk and catching up go a long way and can help foster your professional relationships.

Don’t forget to check in on your friends and family as well. You can schedule a virtual brunch, book club meeting, jam session, or just have a casual conversation.


6. Communicate times 10

If you are new to working from, like I am, chances are you will fill like you are over-communicating. GOOD! Overcommunicating simply means you will be repeating yourself, a lot.  Make sure you are in frequent communication with your manager and direct reports, if necessary, or anyone that you typically collaborate with through the workday. You want to ensure everyone is on the same page, especially during the pandemic when the thing is likely changing quite frequently.


7. Cut Yourself Some Slack

Working from home requires a great deal of discipline. Staying focused on your full-time job while being in a new space, with kids or pets, or not having your go colleague to bounce ideas off can be hard.  Your attention may wander off but it’s okay. It happens to everyone, don’t stress. Give yourself a break and then get back to work!


8. Make it Personal

Figure out what works for you and do that. This may require some inspiration or you may know right from the jump. Curate a support group if necessary.

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