For the uninitiated, the phrase “working from home” may conjure visions of leisurely mornings (perhaps with coffee in bed), comfortable-yet-practical work wear, and outdoor runs that take place during daytime hours. The reality can look a bit more frenzied, especially when considering the stress and uncertainty of a pandemic.
Preparing to work from home might involve steps such as investing in a good office chair, setting up a dedicated work space, and learning how to communicate remotely with the team members that you relied on as social support and soundboards in the office. Right now, we’re all having to make these adjustments in a crunched time frame and under unique circumstances.
We have all seen the typical work-from-home tips-and-tricks articles, but to help us tackle this challenge together, I’ve spoken with work-from-home veteran Justin Sutton to hear how remote work might just need to look different during a pandemic. As a bonus, I’ve compiled some of our colleagues’ favorite work from home rules that you may not have seen yet!
Justin cautions that since this is an unusual circumstance, it may not make sense to follow the traditional work-from-home rules quite so closely: “When you’re dropped into it … it can be a bit daunting because you hear so often people saying, ‘establish a routine, do this and do that.”
Right now, we all have enough added pressure; as long as we are getting the job done, some of the standard work-from-home rules are things that may just stand in your way, so let’s focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Here are Justin’s suggestions:
#1: Position your work-from-home station by a window: “There are a million benefits to natural sunlight on general health, productivity and happiness!” – Erin McLaughlin
#2: Clearly separate work from relaxation: “For me, the couch equates to relaxation time.” – Cristina Coppola. For those who may be in smaller living spaces like a studio or shared apartment, try sectioning off part of a couch to become a work space—small pillows help you sit up straight and a laptop stand (or even a large windowsill) can become your desk in a pinch.
#3: Don’t forget to mind your mental health: “Limit COVID-19 news consumption to an hour a day (if possible); avoid social media if it’s making you too anxious.” – Sonia Sharigian
#4: Consider investing in a standing desk: “Mine is adjustable so I can sit if wanted. I find myself drinking more water. It also feels like more of a transition when I log off in the evenings and move the ten steps to the couch to sit down.” – Holly Kilbourn
Lastly, we are all in this together. It is important to remember this as we move forward, and it applies to our clients as well. We aim never to be “log-jams” for either our own teams or our clients who depend on us. There are new pressures and challenges that we need to navigate during this time, and putting ourselves in the best position as possible to manage our work is the best thing we can do for each other and our clients.