To flatten the spread of COVID-19, employees and employers are urged to “self-quarantine” and practice “social distancing”. Thousands of South Africans will be joining the trend of working from home. Here are some tips to successfully work from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Create a work schedule
Establish set working hours and be clear about when the workday begins and when it ends. Setting up a routine is one thing, but being able to stick to it is another. Whether it’s making a cup of coffee, returning from a jog, or getting out of pajamas, the options may vary on getting oneself into the desk chair. Take lunch and coffee breaks between tasks to avoid burnout and sustain productivity. Make use of tools like WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams and Skype to check in with management and colleagues.
Set up a dedicated “office space”
Keep the work and leisure spaces separate. Find a desk in the spare room or quiet working space in the home to establish clear boundaries between “this is a workspace” and “this is a check social media and binge-watch a few episodes space”. Make sure that the designated area is supplied with the necessary tools (pens, paper, extra screen, outlets, etc). Work in the space every day to make it the office away from the office.
Establish ground rules with people in your space
With the school holidays and country encouraged to stay at home, the house may be more packed than usual. Whether it is the little ones wanting your attention or housemates congregating in the living room, set ground rules about how and when an interaction is allowed. Additionally, do not take up house tasks like take care of the pets or clean the pool, that will take up a lot of time. And in turn, hinder productivity.
Create a to-do list at the start of each week. So, the weeks are goal-orientated and less likely to feel like one can slack off. At the end of each workday, create a list of tasks to complete the next day. Establish a filing system that optimizes productivity. Check-in with the office Google Calendar to make sure everyone is on track.
Be strict about social media
It is very easy to slip into the social media vortex, especially with coronavirus updates being shared constantly over various social media platforms. And as tempting as it seems, that one-click could lead to hours lost. Rather schedule this into one of the breaks or set an alarm to avoid the rabbit hole.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Take time to exercise regularly at home to relieve stress and create a work-life balance. Regularly wash your hands and keep sanitizer within reach. And to keep the loneliness at bay while implementing social distancing, arrange a video call between friends and family after work.