The coronavirus quarantine has mandated a new temporary lifestyle. Depending on the nature of your job, you might be transitioning to a new remote work environment. It’s easy to slip into bad habits that not only demote productivity, but spur on restlessness. Below are three steps to ensuring you maintain a positive work environment at home.
Maybe no one at work will see your desk area at home. But piling mismatched papers and neglecting to file away your finished folders will not harm anyone from the office. It will only impede your progress and your mindset. When you wake up and walk into your home office or temporary makeshift work area, you do not want to look at shambles. Messiness will only lead to stress and overwhelm. It will also bog you down as you sort through the piles, trying to find the project you know you left somewhere over there, under that stack of receipts, on top of the old work orders, and next to yesterday’s coffee mug.
Make it easy on yourself. Put everything away as soon as you finish it. You can leave a few open projects on your desk, but keep them minimal. Pull out your highlighter or sticky note pad and mark where you left off the day before. It will jumpstart your workday and your mood as you will feel much more in control of your workspace and your work ethic.
Work pajamas and nighttime pajamas are not a thing. Do not let their comfort lure you into them and refrain you from changing into proper daytime clothes. If you are used to workplace attire, you do not necessarily need to dress to the hilt when hunkering down at the house. You can keep the pencil skirts or collars and ties hung up. But, at least choose something that you would brave to the grocery store. Putting effort into the clothes you wear, combing your hair, and washing and/or applying makeup to your face will steady your mindset on work, boost your self-esteem, and your imbue confidence.
Make your breaks meaningful. It’s hard transitioning from a 30-minute morning commute to a 2-second walk from the kitchen to your home office. Some aspects are easy — more sleep, less driving. What could be bad about that? Sitting at your home desk all day is not the same as your work desk, however. You may not talk to anyone all day. No side chats or water cooler debriefs. You might feel more productive at first, but then start to feel secluded.
Break away from your desk for 10-minute intervals and go outside. Walk around the neighborhood and breathe in the fresh air or give your friend a call. Or move to another area in your house and relax for a few moments with a book or magazine. Do not stay at your desk, switching screens to Facebook or Instagram. Walk away from the screen for a few minutes. You will benefit from the change in scenery and feel more focused and refreshed when you return.