Coronavirus: Five Tips if You Have to Work From Home

Not going into the office is an effective way of preventing the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, because it minimizes the risk of you coming into contact with someone carrying the disease.

But working from home comes with negatives which you may need to prepare for. Many companies are suggesting workers who can get the job done from home do just that.

Have a space to work in

We’re sorry to say you will need to get dressed and get out of bed. Maybe not as early as usual – but having a space to work in is crucial for your state of mind, and not just in terms of being in a “working” mindset but also so you’re able to turn off when the working day is over.

Most of the essentials for working from home are things people have already; a desk, a laptop, a work phone – you don’t want to be running up your own phone bill if you need to make an international call – but take stock of what is available in the office and what isn’t.

If you need access to your company’s intranet, figure out how to access it securely. External connections in without security precautions could mean that hackers go unnoticed too.

Have time to work in

You need to clock in and clock out. The working day for anyone in an office has commutes either side of it, but these aren’t there if you’re working from home and the risk is that the time between when you’re on-shift and when you’re off will merge into each other.

Whatever kind of communications system you’re using to keep in touch with your team, turn it on when you start and turn it off when you stop. Working outside of these hours will just grind you down.

Remember to eat

Remember to eat properly. This takes planning if you’re not going to find yourself dipping into the biscuit tin.

Usually, we don’t do much planning when it comes to our meals at the office. We have canteens or we’re near to some shops, but working from home can disrupt the most considerately stocked larder.

Most adults should have mastered the skill of forward-planning their meals, but the interruption to normal plans by working from home can undo that for even the most competent. Get ready to have something healthy for lunch.

Remember to take breaks

Let’s be honest: You don’t work eight hours straight in the office. There are coffee breaks, lunch walks and chats with co-workers that give some respite from work.

Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to the same breathers.

“It’s not going to take anything from your effectiveness,” said Julie Morgenstern, an organization and productivity consultant and author of “Organizing from the Inside Out.” “Stepping away for breaks are part of productivity; they actually make you smarter and give you perspective and answers.”

This also includes making sure you make time to make proper meals and drink water regularly, rather than snacking continuously throughout the day and then crashing in a sugar slump at 3 pm.

Show your face

If you work on a team, make sure to check in regularly just like you would in the office. Create to-do lists to keep yourself organized and focused, and share the status of your lists with your supervisor so they know you’re on top of your work.

Besides email and messaging programs like Slack, it’s a good idea to set up regular check-ins via phone or video conferencing like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom.

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