Now that most of us who can work from home are being encouraged to do so to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we need to adapt quickly to our new working life. From productivity hacks, to office set ups and prioritising self-care, here are our 7 tips to help you get used to working from home.
#1 Maintain connection
Humans are social beings and we must prioritise human connection for our emotional wellbeing. Find ways to connect with at least one person every day; call your mum, your colleague, your friend, your boss. Video calls are great.
You might find the silence distracting after years working in an open plan office, so you could explore a tool like Noisli for some background noise to keep you focused and to remind you, you’re not alone.
#2 Get outside
When home becomes work, it’s easy to remain at your computer all day without the commuter’s excuse to go outside! Schedule time to sit in your backyard, on your balcony, or go for a neighbourhood walk (just practice social distancing if you come across a neighbour!).
#3 Be disciplined. Schedule your activities.
Stick to your routine as much as possible (or you could get distracted and procrastinate). Consider trialling a few tech tools to keep you accountable.
A few examples:
- Trello or Asana for project management / to do lists
- Timesheet to log your hours and breaks
- Slack to communicate
- Pomodoro to help you manage your work sprints
- Zoom or Hangouts for team calls.
When creating your schedule, include time for breaks – super important.
#4 Avoid news sites
Let’s be honest, it’s highly likely if you’re not already you could become addicted to the 24/7 news cycle that is Coronavirus. Especially when isolated at home. But spending hours glued to the news isn’t good for productivity.
If you’re addicted, allocate 10 minutes during lunch – but it’s better to meditate instead and reduce your exposure to potential subsequent anxiety.
#5 Meditate to manage the stress
Download a mindfulness and meditation app to help you focus and enhance your resilience through an extended change period. Mornings before you log in and/or evenings to help your mind clock off from the day (which could also help improve sleep quality).
#6 Set up your workspace
You might be working from a prehistoric laptop from a makeshift work desk AKA the kitchen bench, but you still must correctly set up your working environment to reduce the risk of workplace injuries. In addition to suitable furniture and desk organisation, setting up your work space includes ambience, colour schemes, plants, and access to natural light to help your mood.
#7 Get dressed
While you might be tempted to roll out of bed and work from your laptop in pyjamas, you’ll likely find showering and getting dressed in real clothes will help your mind adjust to the fact it’s a work day, not sloth-Sunday.
WHS laws still apply for home offices
Be mindful that WHS laws still apply when someone is working from home. You might be able to talk to the WHS team in your organisation for practical advice to help you set up your space correctly.
For specific employee-related rights and questions, head to Fair Work Australia. They’ve put together a valuable resource to help employees and employers understand rights and responsibilities.
And if at any stage you feel you might not be coping or need additional support while you adjust to the changing environment, enquire with your HR or manager about access to your employer’s Employee Assistant Program (EAP) provider for counselling support, or if that’s not available, you can arrange a consultation with your GP.
Our lawyers will still be on hand to help you should life throw another curve ball at you, because life doesn’t stop amid the mayhem. If you’re concerned about face-to-face contact, we’re always available to take initial consultations by telephone.
Contact us on 07 3009 7000 to discuss your needs.