How to work from home in coronavirus lockdown is something many more of us will need to know as working from home, self-isolation and social distancing are the new black. Having worked from home for more than 10 years here are some tips from the frontline. One of my top tips is to walk past the washing! To discover why check out my 8 step guide to work from home success here:
1. Set a routine early
Learning how to work from home in a coronavirus lockdown means we need to set a new routine – early.
Working in an office has worked for so long because there is an easy routine we can all step into – breakfast, get ready, commute, grab a coffee, check emails and start the day. Meeting and lunch serve as breaks and built-in social contact.
Consider what works best for you in your daily work routine and then look at how to bring this into your new work from life.
They say a change is as good as a holiday … and with coronavirus keeping us all at home – this might be the closest thing we get to a holiday in a while.
So think about what works best in your current daily routine and convert these to your new work from home in coronavirus lockdown routine. There are six questions to ask yourself here:
- How do you normally start your day at home? Do you have a specific pre-work morning routine that works for you?
- When are you most creative and productive?
- Who do you need to meet with regularly e.g your team, co-workers and clients?
- When do you need to meet with them?
- What social contact do you have at work that you replicate at home?
- What breaks can you build into your day to keep your productivity and energy high?
Use the answers to these questions to create your daily work routine.
This is even your chance to reimagine your day with a little more “you” time built in when you might have been commuting.
For me, my pre-work routine has consisted of yoga, meditation and walking our dog Lucy before breakfast.
When the day starts I allocate mornings to creative and client work and the afternoons to meetings, where I’m in either online or in face-to-face meetings, or workshops, with clients.
Pre-coronavirus I would meet for lunch with a friend every week or so, and go to see my elderly father once a week (his aged care facility is in lockdown now so we’re not allowed in at all.)
I always finish my day at 5:30pm for another quick walk with Lucy before evening dinner preparations and a yoga class if it is on.
I also take regular breaks during the day to refresh and re-energise myself. These quick breaks could include a yoga posture, a quick meditation or throwing a ball with Lucy. These breaks are one of the most powerful parts of my day and make all the difference to my creativity and productivity.
So think about what works for you, and your team, to develop a daily routine that works for you. I know many remote teams are doing morning and afternoon check-ins to manage workflow and productivity.
Depending on your living situation you’ll need to think about creating a routine that will see you working in with others in your household. If you have kids, a partner or are sharing with friends there will need to be some give and take in terms of time and space.
Working with kids at home is an art form at the best of times and in times like this, it will be next level. For some ideas on keeping the kids entertained check out my What to Do in Coronavirus Lockdown here.
2. Walk Past the Washing
As many of us learn for the first time how to work from home in coronavirus lockdown one of my top tips is to ‘walk past the washing’. This is something I learnt early and is one of the keys to my work from home success.
Why? Because things like washing, tidying the kitchen and picking up a children’s toy can start to add up to ALOT of time out of your day and away from your work.
And it can be a slippery slope.
When I first started my business from home I thought it would be so handy to pop a load on while I made a cup of tea … or to just hang a load out after lunch. Before I knew it one thing led to another and I’d lost an hour or more of valuable time.
I soon saw I needed to steel myself to walk past the washing to get my work done. I realised that if I was at work away from home I would not actually see the laundry basket cheekily glinting at me in the corner – so it could just as well wait.
Having been brought up by an extremely efficient and houseproud mother this was a tough call but one I had to make if I was to treat my business seriously and get what needed to be done actually done.
Now washing is done on the weekends – the laundry basket has been just fine with it and now I am too!
3. Set Your Work from Home Office Up Ergonomically
A laptop won’t cut it in a long term work from home in coronavirus lockdown. You will need at least a riser, remote keyboard and mouse to make it comfortable and ergonomically safe.
You need to make sure the top of your laptop is at the same level as your eyes so put the riser on a thick book if yours is not quite high enough.
Your chair needs to be a good height so your hands are angled down slightly.
As a business owner, this is the set up I have used for years and it is great. It’s simple and means I can move easily with my laptop out onto the deck if I feel I need a change of scenery.
Some companies are providing budgets for hardware so people can set up their home office safely. Talk to your IT or Admin area if you haven’t already about what’s available to you.
Also, make sure you have all of the passwords and logins that you need to do your work.
4. Create an Inviting Work From Home Space
No-one knows how long we’ll be in lockdown so creating an inviting workspace is a must. Ideally, you want a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed and you can leave everything out so you are ready to go each day.
This space could be a repurposed bedroom, a desk in your bedroom or a room converted from another use.
Whatever the space is – make it inviting to you. Maybe a nice plant, photos, water jug and favourite tea or coffee cup.
I’m a bit of a stationery tragic so, if you are anything like me, finding some nice new pens and a notebook will make it all the more fun!
A water jug is also vital. Ideally, you don’t want to be jumping up every five minutes for a glass of water.
I also find keeping my office tidy and clean helps me to feel clearer in the head so I try (read try) to tidy up every afternoon and put away papers and files I no longer need.
5. Tap into Great Work From Home Software
Interestingly the software we have available now makes this whole work from home in coronavirus lockdown even possible.
For online meetings, casual catch-ups and check-ins with my team I use Zoom. I’ve used others like Skype for Business, Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting – but Zoom is hands down the best.
Zoom allows you to share your screen so you can work remotely on a document with a colleague or client. It also has a recording function so all meetings can be recorded to the cloud for review by other team members later.
Up there with Zoom is Loom. I know – the similarity in names here is bizarre. Loom is a fantastic screencast video cloud software that allows you to record short screencast videos. I use it to:
- brief my team and suppliers
- create videos to send with client proposals
- to explain complex ideas within my work
- give feedback to suppliers.
Most of all Loom saves me time. When I’m giving feedback on a complex project, it could take me at least an hour to explain it in writing when using Loom I can convey my message in minutes in a way that is easy to understand.
The team at Loom have also responded to the Covid-19 crisis and are offering extended packages to everyone.
Shared group messaging facilities are also fabulous.
I use Facebook Messenger constantly during the day to chat about work in progress and check-in with clients. Slack and Whats App are also great – again work out what works best for you and your team.
6. Keep connected
Social isolation is one of the biggest concerns of mental health experts. Make sure you build in connection with people during the day. This can be through formal meetings or informal coffee catch-ups and check-ins. I’ve started doing this with a friend and it’s working really well. I’ve also seen others on social networking sites arranging group coffee catch-ups.
7. Watch your social media consumption
Social media can be the nemesis of a successful work from home in coronavirus routine. Turn off reminders and limit your checks to a couple of times a day.
Social media and general media can also be dangerous at this time in terms of how it affects our mood and perspective. Be very careful of how the fear and negative discussion can take you down the rabbit hole.
8. Keep Your Vibe High and Choose Calm
One very simple thing you can do to keep your vibe high is to wear something that makes you feel good while you’re working. While you don’t need to be power-dressing wearing something that makes YOU feel good automatically translates into a better day.
I also choose to wear makeup and do my hair – why? Because it makes me feel good and gets me into the zone of business and work. This is all a completely personal choice so do whatever works for you.
You can also keep your vibe high by consciously choosing calm. Alot of the coverage and content out there now about coronavirus is creating fear and anxiety in many people.
If you’re feeling affected by this know that you can choose your perspective rather than being pulled into the vortex of fear that is swirling around.
I know it is tough right now and we need to do everything we can to be prepared and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe – and part of this is choosing your perspective. For more on this, you can check out my general guide to managing coronavirus lockdown here or my how to meditate and choose calm article here.
You’re Ready to Go
This 8-step guide to working from home will hopefully reduce your stress and help you create a space so you can take action on what matters most in the coming weeks. If you have any other questions or tips on working from home please share them in the comments.
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