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Last week, a group of leaders from the Colorado tech community announced that they would be closing their office spaces and transitioning all of their employees to remote work until further notice. In a concerted effort to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19, many companies across the country have started doing the same.
Even when it’s by choice, the transition to remote work can be challenging. Coupled with the recent social distancing measures suggested by local governments, these challenges can start to feel insurmountable.
We put the following question out to our community that is in the midst of this transition: “how are you balancing productivity and self-care while working remotely?” Here are some of the tips they shared…
It’s easy to set unrealistic expectations for how our day of remote work should be structured. But it’s important to understand that this is a transition. It will take time for you to settle into a routine that works best for you, and that routine might look completely different than that of your partner or roommate who is also working from home. Remember that even though we’re all in this together, our ways of coping might be completely different — and that’s okay.
The lines between personal life and professional life blur quickly when you’re working from home. If possible, create a comfortable space that is exclusively for work and free of tempting distractions. Avoid working from the couch at all costs — it encourages poor posture and can lead to back and neck pain if done for days on end.
Designating a workspace also helps set boundaries. Treat this makeshift workspace as you would your regular office and maintain a consistent schedule of logging on and logging off so you don’t get wrapped up in your workload after hours.
You might not be heading into your office across town, but getting dressed as if you were helps create distance between your home life and your work life. Resist the urge to roll out of bed and stay in your pajamas by laying your clothes out the night before. Throwing on a nice pair of shoes will also encourage you to stay off the couch and to head out for a quick walk during your breaks.
It’s tempting to hit snooze and sleep in when your “office” is under the same roof as your bed. But if you normally wake up early for a commute, stick to that schedule and use that time to walk around your neighborhood so you still have a sense of routine in your day. If your kids are home from school, ask them to join! Incorporate a few of these walks throughout the day to clear your mind and sustain your productivity (and sanity).
Communication doesn’t have to be limited just because you’re not sitting in the same room as your coworkers. Block off some time on your calendar for virtual lunches or coffee dates with your coworkers. There are plenty of powerful tools that can be used for video conference calls like Slack, Zoom and Google Hangouts.
Additional tip: check-in with your teammates more frequently than you normally would in the office. Sending a funny GIF lightens the mood and encourages positivity.
You know those cooking projects you’ve had bookmarked for months? Spend your breaks working on them. This will give you something to look forward to once you’re ready to shut down your computer for the day.
Social media is the biggest offender when it comes to work distractions. And when you’re working from home, it becomes increasingly challenging to monitor your use of it. Installing a site blocker extension into your web browser and downloading a screen time tracker on your phone and tablet are just a few ways you can keep the temptation to scroll at bay.