Work & COVID-19Melanie Lemus
How to Successfully Transition to Working from Home during COVID-19
Work and COVID19? The current global pandemic of COVID19 is something most of us have never seen the likes of before in our lives. This situation brings with it fear, anxiety, and a healthy dose of cabin fever. Many of us are working from home for the first time. Adding to that already stressful transition, many of us have children home from school and spouses working from home also.
While we’re not here to give you advice on how to homeschool your children (although I have been homeschooling for nine years), we do know a thing or two about making a successful transition to working from home during COVID19. Keep reading for a few tips to keep your sanity during this stressful time.
Set up Your Space
The first thing you’re going to need now that you’re working from home is a dedicated place to do so. We understand that not everyone has an office, nor has a spare room that can be converted into one. For most people, all you’re going to need is a table and chair. That dusty old card table in your attic will work in a pinch, as will a chair you borrow from the dining room. It doesn’t have to be fancy, for now. If you transition to working from home permanently, then you’ll want to invest in some things to make your workspace more comfortable and efficient.
Placement is key. As a veteran homeschooler and work from home professional, I cannot stress highly enough the importance of setting up your workspace in an area of low traffic in your home. Minimizing distractions is vital. Back when I was working at my dining room table, I’d get distracted by anything I could see – the pile of unfolded laundry on the couch, the unwashed dishes, or the porch swing calling my name. Now, I have a dedicated space where I can close the doors to the rest of the house and focus on my work.
Make sure your dedicated area has enough space for the equipment that you’ll need to do your job effectively. This may include a laptop, various office supplies, a printer, and any job-specific items you may need. Having everything in one place helps you be much more efficient.
Your family, friends, and neighbors must understand that you need time and space to do your job. My teenage daughter knows that when her baby brother goes down for his nap, I am not to be disturbed. Those precious two hours a day are when I can do work that requires a lot of concentration (guess what time it is as I write this? You guessed it – nap time!).
Find a time that you can consistently carve out each day that works with your schedule. Now that your kids are probably home from school, you may find the best time to work is early in the morning before they wake up, and late at night after they go to bed. While this isn’t ideal, desperate times call for desperate measures, am I right?
Also, don’t be afraid to turn your phone to “do not disturb” and put a sign on your front door with the same message. I do these two things DAILY, and it saves me so much time. Granted, you shouldn’t have too many visitors as long as everyone is exercising good social distancing practices.
Know What Is Expected of You
Depending on what kind of work you do, your employer’s expectations of you may change as you transition home. It is vitally important that you clearly understand what your work-from-home responsibilities will be and how they may differ from before.
Additionally, we recommend keeping track of the hours that you clock for accountability purposes. You can write them down, or there are apps to help you. Many of them even calculate your hourly wages and track your work habits. I use an app called HoursTracker, but there are many others from which to choose. Keeping track of your hours is a great way to communicate your efforts to your employer.
Don’t Burn Yourself Out
It is vitally important to schedule regular daily breaks, as well as days off. Burnout may seem like a distant possibility, considering you can now “go to work” in your pajamas, but believe me, it is easy to do. For me, the hours tend to go by so much quicker when I’m working from home, and I have a habit of skipping meals when I’m really into my work and subsequently crash with a headache. Now, I take regular breaks (usually to change diapers, let’s be honest) and try to get outside for at least 30 minutes each day.
Take this Time to Reevaluate your Career
While I’m sure there are many of you counting down the days until you can go back to work, I have a sneaking suspicion that some of you are going to love working from home so much that you’ll want to make it a permanent change. There are many advantages to working from home, and that includes benefits to your employer, including reduced overhead and turnover, and increased productivity and morale. Your boss may be super receptive to allowing you to continue to work from home.
If permanently working from home isn’t a real possibility for you in your current position, but you know it’s something you want to do, Vision to Purpose can help you get ready to enter the job search. We offer career and life coaching, resume writing, and business consulting, and can help you put your best foot forward and get the career you’ve been dreaming about. Visit our website to request a free consultation to learn how we can help. And don’t worry – we can conduct all of our services remotely, so you won’t have to leave the comfort and safety of your home to work with us!
We have also built a page to help you work through COVID-19. Check it out for free resources and discounted services.
Enjoy This Time
The coronavirus epidemic is a strange time for all of us, no doubt. I encourage you to take the opportunity to savor this time at home. Slow down, reexamine your priorities, and look ahead without fear. We will make it through this together!
About the Author
Melanie Lemus is the Communications Specialist for Vision to Purpose providing self-help, business, and career-focused topics.
About Vision to Purpose
Vision to Purpose is an organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses succeed through the offering of tailored career, life, and business solutions.
Need a resume writer? How about a career coach? Perhaps a business consultant? Look no further, Dr. Bennett and the Vision to Purpose team can help! You can learn more about Vision to Purpose by visiting www.visiontopurpose.com.