The COVID-19 pandemic has had a surprising effect on workers and workplaces around the world. One of the most dramatic changes has been the transformation of office workers into at-home workers.
Before the pandemic, working from home was generally considered a perk of position. It cuts down on commutes and offers flexible hours. But working at home can also blur the lines between work time and personal time, leading to burnout.
So, here are a few tips for those of us hammering away at our keyboards while the dog whimpers to be let outside.
Create a space
Having a dedicated work space will help you draw the line between work and your regular life. It's best if that work space has a door, which creates a physical barrier between the two spaces.
Spouses, children, pets and others in your home need to know when you are working and shouldn't be interrupted. That door could come in handy here, especially when your 4-year-old toddles through a Zoom meeting looking for orange juice. It's only cute once ... or twice.
Maintain regular hours
Staying on your work schedule helps keep you in sync with coworkers at the office. But one of the perks of working from home is having flexibility in your hours. If you need to stretch your work hours to get tasks done, take an equal number of hours off at the front of the next day.
Pants or no pants?
Getting dressed for work used to be part of your daily morning routine. Continue to dress like you're going to the office (except for your slippers, you can keep wearing them).
Step away from the chair for a quick recharge. Keep some snacks handy, and a dorm fridge is a wonderful thing. At lunch time, if you can, get out of the house completely. Walk the dog, take your child to the park, weed the garden. Thirty minutes in the sun and fresh air can be a life-saver.
Loneliness is a common problem among remote workers. Some companies may offer chat channels or other ways to socialize with coworkers. Take advantage and reach out. It will do you AND them good.
Take your sick days
If you are not feeling well, don't feel like you have to power through because you're working from home. Take the time to recover so you are at your best.
The office landscape has changed, and both workers and employers need to change with it. Don't let the isolation that can come from working at home affect your work and life. And employers, make sure you keep communication channels open and don't leave your employees to fend for themselves.