It is branded on our TV screens and in our minds like an icon: COVID-19. A disease which at first seemed out of sight, rapidly spread its veins through one country to the next, uprooting not only our communities, but the way we work.
While healthcare and hourly workers are facing the challenge of working on site, companies like Twitter are making working from home (WFH) mandatory. If you find yourself in the latter category, counting the days of your mandatory incubation, you aren’t alone in feeling stir-crazy. The stress of having to work in your house with restless children or trying to avoid a nuclear meltdown with your significant other (how many times can you ask someone to replace the toilet paper?) is only compounded by the anxiety of a pandemic.
So let’s take a collective breath... repeat after me: I will not let this incubation period ruin my zen, I will not let this incubation period ruin my boss-ness.
And we won’t let it either! Already, about 5% of Americans work from home regularly while nearly two-thirds do it occasionally, and that number is only increasing because of current conditions. So it is indeed possible to stay productive during this time, and if anyone can do it, it’s you. To help, we’ve come up with a list of ways to stay productive while WFH so you can keep yourself and your communities safe (and sane).
1. Create a Daily & Weekly Schedule
This is the building block to any successful job. If you already do this, we aren’t surprised, but don’t let the habit stop because you are working from home. Creating this schedule helps you stay accountable when it’s so easy to get lost in the black hole of being in the same environment for days at a time. If you are struggling with this, apps like Todoist can aid in helping you keep track of your goals and relieving you of that extra burden.
2. Create a Space
Whether this is with physical boundaries like doors, or a mental chant like “when I step into this room, I am at work,” marking this place for yourself ushers you into the work mindset. When you decide what this place looks like, inform your family members or roommates that while in this space, they have to respect that you aren’t reachable- and that rule goes for you too. Remembering that you have to empty the dishwasher should be pushed out of your to-do list when you are in this space… no cheating.
3. Stay In Touch With Your Coworkers
Even if your work is autonomous, find an excuse to collaborate every once in a while. In fact, loneliness is the 2nd most reported challenge WFH, which means a loss in productivity. By creating a group chat or Slack channel to collab with coworkers or even to have the same banter you do at the office, you can help your own loneliness and keep those essential bonds with your colleagues. If you want to go the extra mile, get a roommate involved for an outside opinion on a project you’re working on.
4. Schedule Your Meals and Breaks
Working so close to your fully stocked pantry means mini-vacations there after every 20 minutes. And what is included in that journey? Browsing the pantry, staring absently into the distance, maybe a little tv break? We aren’t here for any of that- you’ve got work to do! Scheduling your breaks can help you simulate the natural rhythm you have while in the office, and ensure that you aren’t taking 30 ten-minute snack breaks in the day. Plus, if you schedule them in, you can take them more mindfully and get some sun, giving your mind actual rest.
5. Know When to Plug In & Out
When you don’t have to physically enter and leave the office, the lines of the work day merciless impede your chill time. These blurred lines leave your work brain “on” all the time which leads to a loss in productivity. Give yourself a rest. The best way to assert this mental boundary is to change in and out of work clothes at the beginning and end of your work day. Not only will this be a signal to you, but it will be a signal to those around you as well. Further, a study found that those wearing work attire felt more competent, [and] authoritative, which means better quality work and feeling better about yourself (which we all need during this time). Luckily for you, we have the perfect recommendations for clothes that are comfy enough to be at home, but structured enough to stay on task:
The Amsterdam Cardigan, Hanover Pants, and Elizabeth Top are the trifecta of comfortable and poised if you don’t feel like wearing a dress. But, once the weather hits that sweet spot of 55 degrees, you owe it to yourself and the world (aka your household) to show off those legs; pair the flexible 4-way stretch Bedford Dress and Lenox Blazer for a wrinkle-free day. To explore our other seamless WFH options, click here, so you can work in literally any position that gets the blood flowing.
At Of Mercer, we know staying healthy is a priority right now, which is why working from home if you can is more important than ever. If you have any other tips you’d like to share, tweet us @ofmercer and we’ll share some of your ideas. Stay safe, and stay strong!