ActiveHealth’s Work-at-Home Resource Guideposted by Brent Brown on March 25, 2020
The ongoing steps to curb the spread of COVID-19 have led many state of Indiana employees to work remotely when possible.
How do you establish a routine and maintain the same productivity working at home as you do in the office? The ActiveHealth team has tips for how you can maximize your effectiveness from your “home office.”
1. Dedicate a PRIVATE space– Set up for remote work in an unused bedroom, a corner of the master bedroom, a walk-in closet, under the basement stairs- anywhere with a door for your privacy.
2. Noise – Use a sound machine to play quiet nature sounds in the background. A space heater also provides warmth and white noise. Playing calm music can help put you in “work mode” vs “home mode” as well.
3. Set a morning routine – Set your alarm to give you ample time to prepare for the day. That may be coffee and breakfast with the family, a quick chat with your parents, or a morning walk or other exercise to start the day. Routine is key in prepping your mind to shift to “work time” later. Even if you don’t have to keep the same hours you did when you were going into work, try to have a regular routine of going to sleep, waking up, work, exercise, TV-watching, etc. It will help you stay productive.
4. Dress for the day – This might be work attire or athleisure, but do mark the start of your day with a change in clothes. You’ll look good, feel good, and be ready to do good.
5. Set time boundaries –Communicate to your manager and team regarding time frames for projects and task completion. Begin working by tackling something work-related, but low effort—like answering straightforward emails, reading an interesting report, etc. That will help turn your attention away from other distractions and toward your work. Then, after you’ve readjusted, try tackling that high-intensity project.
6. Go outside – Get fresh air at least once a day. Have lunch outside, take a walk or bike ride on your lunch break. Sunlight and fresh air do wonders for everyone, no matter the weather. You’ll likely finish the day stronger if you take the time to get outside midday.
7. Change your scenery – If you are used to working in the same place at home, freshen it up with new art, re-arrange your desk, or ask the kids to color some pictures for the wall. A small change can make a mundane location seem fresh again. If you get rid of the things you don’t need, don’t use, and don’t love, you may find that you have more space to create an area in which to work—and you might get a boost in focus, too. It’s irrational, but it’s true: getting more control over the stuff of life helps make us feel more in control, generally. And we could all use more sense of control these days.
8. Communicate your schedule – Set a daily schedule the night before so everyone at home has an idea of what to expect the following day(s). Make sure your home daycare provider or spouse or older children know when you have calls or need quiet .
9. Establish “commute time” – The commute home from work is often the time when we decompress and shift toward home life, so build a little time into your work-at-home day for that. It might be a quick 10 minute workout or walk, a call to a friend, or part of a podcast that you normally listened to on the way home.
10. Focus on work – It’s easy to be distracted by little messes and tasks around the house. Keep in mind that you wouldn’t be seeing those things if you were at the office, so leave the housework for outside of work hours. It will be there later!
11. Be patient – For example, it’s not the time to be rude when someone struggles with technology. These are unprecedented times, and we are all doing the best we can.
12. Have a discussion with your manager – Clearly communicate about altered expectations while working at home.
- Can you work with your manager/supervisor to work a split shift?
- Communicate with your manager/supervisor frequently as things are changing rapidly
13. Offer 1:1 help to a co-worker – example: if your co-worker is on a long call with a stressed out team member, offer to take the co-worker’s next call
14. Help accessing equipment – Discuss with your supervisor and manager the equipment you need to successfully work from home and do the best you can until you can get what you need.