This week, hundreds of thousands of workers were told by their employers to stay home for the time being in light of the current coronavirus pandemic the world is enduring. Working remotely can definitely have its perks, but it can also be difficult to make the transition from doing work in a work environment, to the place where you go to escape your daily occupational duties.
The best and worst part about working remotely is the fact that you get to enjoy the comfort of being in your own space all day. In order to make the transition easier, you should try to stick to your regular daily schedule when it comes to the beginning and ending of your work day. This way, you’re still splitting your day by professional and personal time, even though you’re not in a typical professional work environment.
Start by writing out a loose time schedule of what you normally do throughout a given day and when it gets done. For instance, you can block off the first hour of your day for responding to emails, the next for writing up a project report, and then break for lunch; obviously these are generalized examples. This way you can detach yourself physically and mentally at the end of the day when it’s time to “clock out” and your schedule is complete.
When giving yourself a break, separate yourself from the part of your home that you’ve set up as your work space. Don’t utilize your break time to do some household chores, really take time to just relax in your own area and mentally unwind, again, the goal is to still separate professional time from personal time.
Speaking of work spaces, if your residence allows, try to find a dedicated and isolated area of your space that you can exclusively make your home office. If you have a spare room that you barely utilize anyway, whether it be a guest room or storage area, try to set up there. Most of us turn to the dining room table when we have to work remotely, however, having all of your work supplies, papers, folders etc. stacked up on your dinner table can make the entirety of your home feel like your office. Instead, find a space that’s isolated enough so that your obligations are out of sight and out of mind by the time you finish your day.
If your job will be requiring any kind of video conference calls or meetings, as most do now when in situations like this, then make sure you’re still dressing in a professional manner. Even if you know the video call will only last 15 minutes, dressing the part for your job will not only give you extra points among your boss and co-workers, but it will likely help you get into the right mindset to work from home as well.
Finally, make sure you’re setting boundaries for yourself. This is not only to ensure that you’re getting your work done in an efficient manner, but also so you’re able to disconnect and wind down from your obligations when it comes time to do so at the end of the day. It can become easy for your professional and personal life to blur together when you’re working remotely, but remember, you wouldn’t answer a work email at 8 p.m. if you were still in an office, so don’t do it now.
Allow yourself to enjoy the fact that working from home is kind of amazing. You have access to all of your own food in the fridge that you don’t have to worry about any sneaky co workers taking, you’re guaranteed to be in a space that you know is clean, because you do it yourself, and so on. So while it may take you a minute to adjust, understand that for now this is the safest and best option for all of us, so throw on some sweatpants and answer that email.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.