With the recent shift that many individuals, and in some cases whole companies, have made to remote work due to COVID-19, many are realizing that it’s not all fun and games. Employees are discovering that working at home isn’t lounging on the couch in their pajamas like it’s often (and inaccurately) portrayed. Working at home means working and getting things done, just like in the office.
Pre-COVID, those who worked from home had the option to mix things up by periodically changing locations to a setting outside their house—whether a coffee shop, library, or coworking space—or even to spend a day in their company’s or client’s offices. But now, with many nonessential businesses still shuttered even as states begin to reopen, remote workers may find themselves working in the same spot at home day after day, with few alternatives for a change of scenery.
Remote work is particularly challenging during a global pandemic when you may naturally find your mind running in a million directions, scrolling for news updates, and often not focused solely on work. And, given that some companies are continuing remote work for the foreseeable future, many people will be working from home for the long haul.
How do you keep your morale high while working from home indefinitely? Use these four tips to get started.
Set a Reliable Routine
If you aren’t used to working from home, you may find yourself feeling disconnected and cut off. You can avoid this by outlining a work-from-home framework to lend structure to your workdays and keep you in the loop. If you have always worked in a company’s office, you likely had developed a routine that guided you as you moved through your days. At home, surrounded by domestic reminders of undone chores and no reliable cues to keep you on track, you may find your morale flagging.
To mitigate this issue, create a routine that mirrors what you did in the office as closely as possible. If you started the day with a cup of coffee and a chat with your cubemate, see if you can reestablish that daily kickoff virtually by planning a standing Zoom meeting with that colleague, coffee in hand. If you relied on a two-hour block of time to write reports after lunch on Wednesdays, then make sure you don’t give that time away to doing dishes or letting something else derail you.
Don’t Disconnect From Coworker Relationships
In the office, you may have taken connections with your colleagues for granted, since people were always there side by side in the same shared workspace. It’s easy to sink into an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality when coworkers are far-flung, but you don’t have to let this happen. Take the initiative to maintain your relationships with key colleagues.
While connecting virtually isn’t the same as interacting with someone in person, making sure that you give yourself a chance to catch up with coworkers and at least see their faces or hear their voices via a device is the next best thing. If you are feeling down from changing to a solo work environment, reach out to a valued work connection remotely and spend some time catching up.
Try to Get What You Need to Do Good Work
Another thing that can dampen morale is not having the tools that you need to do your job properly. At the office, you likely had a reasonably good ergonomic setup, and all of the equipment required to complete your work smoothly.
If you lack key items working remotely that you leveraged when working in the office, talk to your supervisor about whether you can expense specific tools that you don’t have access to at home. While your boss may not be willing to spring for a top-of-the-line ergonomic chair, you may be able to get a computer monitor to maximize the use of your laptop, or an ergonomic mouse or keyboard to improve your comfort and productivity.
Develop Healthy Work-From-Home Habits
While it may seem counterintuitive, it can be much more challenging to take care of yourself when your home is your office. Although you theoretically have everything you need to prioritize basic healthy habits in your own environment, it’s easy to get so absorbed in completing your work tasks and responding to every email from your team that you end up skipping meals, exercise, or even a shower.
Designate specific times to step away from your desk to take breaks for these essential elements of self-care. While you no longer need to commute to get to your job and aren’t necessarily seeing coworkers except on a screen, you can still prioritize healthy home-based habits that will make you feel better and have more energy.
Making the Most of Remote Work
By taking the time to readjust to your new work-from-home situation with these simple steps, you can reap the best of being home, keeping your mood up and your morale high.
If you’ve decided remote work is right for you, check out our fully remote job postings. With new postings added regularly, you’re bound to find a remote job that’s right for you.
By Robin Madell | May 29, 2020 | Categories: Work Remotely
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