We find ourselves in unprecedented times, but unlike other periods throughout history, we will now be using technology to help us cope. It opens up lines of communication that would have been non-existent in years past, allowing us to be isolated but also connected at the same time.
There are plenty of people now who for the first time will be maximising their use of technology as never before. Unless you’re self-employed or a remote worker who bought into this way of working, then the idea of being isolated and alone working from home probably isn’t something you’d considered seriously. With the result, a lot of people are now facing into some major readjustments in both their family and career life.
So how do you overcome the challenges?
I’ve listed below key factors to help with a smooth transition in adjusting to this new set of circumstances that Covid19 has landed on us, which not only consider your actual work, but also your mental health and how to keep a positive mindset going forward:
- Keep the morning routine that you have established
- Dress as if you are heading out to work, or at least be in smart casual. Staying in your pyjamas or tracksuits is not a good idea for your mood.
- Go out to come in – it sounds odd, but if you can leave your home in the morning (as normal) for a 10 minute walk or a short drive and return, mentally you’ll have set your mind up for work mode. It’s an established habit.
- If you wear makeup every day, or shave every morning continue to do this. If it made you feel better leaving the house, then there’s no reason why it won’t make you feel better sitting at your home desk!
- Avoid the kitchen table for working it if you can. This way you’ll be able to have lunch away from your desk, and you won’t be constantly clearing away work things so you can have dinner.
- Depending on your room size, try to set up your workspace out of your line of site – do you really want to be looking at tomorrow’s paperwork while you’re enjoying something on the tv/Netflix?
- Make sure you get some fresh air. Take your morning coffee into your garden if you can. The difference some fresh air makes is not to be underestimated.
- If you’re worried about your time management/productivity, use an app, particularly those based on the Pomodoro Technique There are loads and easy to use – set the timer, take a five min break and walk around, repeat. I still use one every now and then if I feel my productivity waning or I’m trying to meet a deadline.
- Switch off all social media notifications, if you weren’t allowed on the various platforms in your place of work, then don’t go on them when you’re trying to work from home.
- Arrange with colleagues to have some ‘face time’ – there are so many free platforms that allow for multiple participants to connect via video link. You still need to connect with other humans, and it’s nicer to talk than to text.
- Keep your workspace tidy. A bit of a mess might have been acceptable at the desk in work, but this is now in your home. And just think, it could be a whole new habit you’ll bring back into the workplace when all this is over.
- If you have children at home now also and you’re juggling between the two, incorporate (if at all possible) to be flexible with what you can achieve at any given moment. There will be times during the day where you’ll get more done. This is where using a time management app really comes into its own.
- Shorter sustained bursts of productivity are better than long periods with little achieved.
- Don’t be tempted to load the washing machine or unload the dishwasher – you couldn’t do it when you were out working, so don’t do it now either.
- Finish when you are supposed to finish.
Forming these ‘new’ habits will take a bit of time, and the adjustment will be different for everyone, but as much as we are all advised to respect social distancing, there is no reason that you can’t connect with others and have the online coffee morning (or an evening glass of vino), or the lunch time chat via an online platform. Remember, our technology will keep us connected. Of course, it’s not the same as being physically in someone’s company, but it’s comforting when you chat that you know you are not alone.
We are all in this together, and our distance will bring us closer.