A Temporary New Normal: 3 Tips For Working from Home
Trying to find normalcy amidst all the chaos in the world right now? It’s certainly hard to stick to what used to be our “normal” schedule given many find themselves working from home, balancing work calls with keeping kids busy and maintaining proper social distancing when we do go out. The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has many traditional office workers scrambling to pull things together in makeshift home office environments.
As someone who’s been working from home for over 10 years… let me tell you… it isn’t easy! Add kids, spouses and/or roommates into the mix and it’s almost certainly a recipe for disaster! Even more challenging are those that live in smaller spaces without a lot of options for privacy or setting up a home office.
But, given the circumstances today, many just don’t have a choice. It’s obviously much safer to stay at home and heed the guidance of the experts by reducing opportunities to spread the virus. The best thing we can all do is simply go with the flow. Creating a “new” normal is the key to survival during these challenging times.
If you are working from home and face challenges, try to remember these 3 key things:
1. Define your space!
Figure out where you can best get your work done. This most likely isn’t in front of the TV or in the family room where traffic is heavy. But, for some, it just might have to be! Regardless of where it is, create a space that is yours. Create an environment around you that helps to inspire your creativity while keeping you focused. This space should serve as your “working” spot. Simply having a “regular” space to do your work can provide a small sense of normalcy when working from home.
2. Set your pace!
Figure out the times where you can put your head down and focus. Perhaps it’s getting up an hour or two earlier every day or staying up a bit later. Figure out when you can put in bursts of productivity – even if it revolves around caring for kids, walking the dog or sharing private space for phone calls. Taking breaks is ok. Knowing that your day may have interruptions is ok. Be flexible. The best thing you can do when working from home is start the day by creating an outline of required activities, goals, to-do’s and breaks in hourly increments. This can be a great way to keep you on task and encourage a realistic pace to go about your day. Put it up on a chalkboard or whiteboard or simply write it out an a piece of paper and tape it to the wall. Try to stick to your schedule to find a bit of routine and normalcy that comes with it. This structure makes working from home much easier for everyone in your household.
3. Handle change with grace!
Changes, interruptions and yes, sometimes complete chaos may ensue… and you know what? That’s ok. These are uncertain times with unpredictable shifts in our daily lives. Breathe. This too shall pass. Getting worked up about it doesn’t really bring much good. It only causes additional stress, tension and anxiety. Try to take each day one at a time. It’s not a perfect world and the things we face right now are definitely proof of this. Keep your chin up and roll with the punches as much as you can. This isn’t to say that the situation we are all in isn’t serious. But it’s much more powerful to stand up and face change with grace than to let the uncertainty, confusion and fear consume you. Working from home comes with challenges and unpredictability, but how you deal with it is the true test.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by COVID-19.
Stay informed. Stay safe. Stay at home. Adhere to social distancing. Be kind. We are all in this together.