For several months we have been witnessing a unique situation taking place all over the world. Many of us have found themselves in a difficult position when they have to take care of their own health, the health of their loved ones, and finally – that of the entire society. At the same time, we have to reconcile all this with everyday work, often taking care of our children or elderly members of our families. Many of us work remotely nowadays and we meet – head-on – a reality in which our contacts with the outside world, in the form we have known so far, have been severely limited.
What, until now, was often seen as a benefit – has become our everyday life. Ironically, it turns out that continuous work from home also has its dark sides. How do we deal with reality seen every day from the perspective of the same four walls? How do we use oodles of free time and not go crazy from being online all the time?
We have tried to gather some tips on how to organize yourself during working hours, what to do when you can finally turn your work laptop off and switch to your private one, what to do when you take off your official tracksuit and slip into the informal one?
How to work effectively when you are working from home?
Does your cat sit down on your keyboard, demonstrating his dissatisfaction with the fact that you have been spending so much time in his apartment? Have you locked yourself in the bathroom and the children keep pushing building blocks through the crack under the door? Do you have only one chair and two employees who want to use it at the same time? How do you find space to work in these conditions, ensuring an opportunity to focus and perform all duties? We have collected some tips for you on how to work remotely and not go mad.
- Plan all your duties early in the morning – you can write down a short list of what you want to do and tick off everything that has already been done.
- If possible – intersperse tasks that require more work and focus with ones that are more repetitive, operational and administrative.
- Plan breaks – remember that when working in front of a computer, you should rest from using the screen every hour for about 5 minutes.
- The aforementioned short breaks are the perfect moment for a few exercises (sitting on a hard chair all day in the same position for 8 hours at a time probably won’t hurt you much, but a dozen or so such days could be a heavy load …).
- Stand up and move away from the chair.
- Do a few forward and side bends.
- Do a few arm swings – circle your arms forward, then backward, swing them backwards.
- Stand with your legs apart and turn your head around – clockwise first, then counter-clockwise.
- You can also order online a special kind of a chair cushion that stimulates the work of your back muscles and forces an upright posture.
- Your spine will thank you later 😉.
5. We are aware that a 3-year-old is just as capable of listening as is a post, but if during your homeworking you are dealing with people who have already acquired the skill of constructive communication, it is worthwhile to clearly establish the following with your household members:
- Explain to them what it means that you work remotely.
- Make everybody aware how much time during the day it will take you to work and at what time you are planning to take breaks.
- Tell them where your office will be (and be sure they understand that going there every 3 minutes with yet another question is simply not on…).
- Make sure they understand what the important topics they can discuss with you during your work are.
- Let them know what interesting things you will do once you leave work 😊.
- If you work with small children – online streaming content with interesting animation activities for small children has already been created (also if you have children that are not willing to draw, play board games and do other creative, educational activities, and you happen to know some good methods – do let us know, we would really appreciate that!).
6. Make sure that the work area is clearly separated from the relaxation area:
- Change your clothes in the morning and before you go to bed (yes, it can be a change from pyjamas to a work-from-home-tracksuit).
- Turn off your work computer after “leaving work”.
- If you have the opportunity – work in a different room from the one in which you rest during and after work.
- If you don’t have such a possibility – a separate part of the room for work space and do not use it in your free time and vice versa – take breaks from work in another part of the room.
6. Search the Internet for tips such as:
- How to practice consistency.
- How to train your attention.
- How to get rid of distractors (e.g. social media) and follow through with it.
- What kind of music is the best to listen to during working hours?
- Make sure you find something that works best for you – using methods that do not work for you will only frustrate you.
What about using free time more efficiently?
Since now you know how to work from home efficiently – let’s think what you can do after work if you cannot go to the gym, to the cinema, theatre, or meet with friends in your favourite pub?
Ok, let’s be honest! Haven’t you been telling yourself for a long time that you should learn a second programming language? Or maybe Spanish is at your fingertips, or French, which you learned at primary school – it’s a shame to admit … Or maybe you have always wanted to do a computer graphics course, but somehow it was never the right time? The current situation is indisputably a difficult time for all of us. But as usual, everything has its pros and cons.
Currently, many companies have responded to the crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic and, in order to prevent loss of their customers and at the same time attract new ones, they offer free solutions or very favourable price discounts on their products and services. There are portals full of online training sessions and courses that are currently offered for free or at discounted prices. Sales can also be found on the websites of companies offering various computer programs – e.g. for graphic design or photo processing. Gyms and fitness clubs are organising online lessons. So are foreign language schools or online language learning platforms. Bookstores and libraries offer the possibility of borrowing a huge number of e-books. On the Internet, you will also find a lot of tutorials on e-learning sessions, e.g.: how to play various instruments, paint beautiful pictures professionally, manicure & make-up courses, and many, many more. Everyone will find something for themselves. Some of these materials has been available online for a very long time – but now they are free or much cheaper. Other activities had to move online and they feel quite comfortable there.
To sum up, you can use your free time after work for your personal development – learn things that you have not had time for and that will enrich your list of skills and knowledge. Perhaps it will be an ideal solution that will result in enhanced competences, and your employer will appreciate the fact that in the future you will be able to engage in additional business activities that have been beyond your scope until now.
But remember – relax, fo offline & let yourself get some rest
In the heat of work and self-development, however, do not forget about pure entertainment – let yourself rest and relax. Do not get yourself trapped and do not forget that working from home is still work. It is that simple and so very important 😊 Listen to your favourite music, read a book, dance in front of the TV with an online instructor, jump and practice with your trainer from the fitness club! Take care of yourself, your body and mind so that you can go through these difficult times without any damage on many levels.
And remember – everything will pass one day, and whatever the situation, you can emerge with your head full of new ideas, knowledge and experience – or full of worries. It is up to you which path you choose.