As the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shutters offices, countless employees are suddenly working from home. For many, this transition represents a major lifestyle shift—but the trend towards remote work is nothing new. In fact, it has increased by over 150 percent in the last twelve years and is expected to continue growing in the future. Therefore, now is a great time for employees to adapt to working outside of a traditional office environment.

Whether you’re new to remote work or have been detached from the office for years, here are a few do’s and do not’s to help ensure that your work from-home arrangement is comfortable, functional, and productive:

Do get dressed. One of the most common challenges of working from home is maintaining separation between work and your personal life. Without this separation, you could find yourself working at all hours of the day, which may ultimately lead to burnout. Taking simple steps like getting dressed in the morning—even if it just means taking a quick shower and
changing from your pajamas into a comfortable, casual outfit— will help you psychologically maintain a boundary between work and leisure.

Don’t succumb to distractions. Working from home allows you to avoid certain distractions, like chatty coworkers or unnecessarily long meetings. However, you may encounter several new distractions, such as housework, family obligations, or the constant temptation of scrolling through social media. When you notice that your focus is faltering, remind yourself that any time spent on distractions will ultimately prolong your workday, making it far more difficult to maintain “normal business hours.”

To avoid this, consider turning off notifications on your phone or using an app to block certain websites while you are working, and set a timer when you take a break.

Do communicate with your team. Working remotely can feel isolating and may also cause a lack of clarity regarding expectations about how and when work is completed. Whether you are reporting to your boss, collaborating with coworkers, or managing a team, prioritizing communication will be even more important than it is at the office. To avoid misunderstandings, establish a schedule for when you and your team will check in with each other via phone calls, video conferencing, or other
means of communication.

Don’t neglect your social life. When you work with colleagues for eight or more hours each week day, it’s easy to get your “social fix.” But when making a sudden transition to working from home—particularly under ominous circumstances like the coronavirus pandemic—it is normal to feel lonely. To combat these glum feelings while still maintaining social distancing, try to observe your usual social rituals. For example, if you typically enjoy lunch with coworkers once a week, make a date to have a
virtual luncheon via Zoom or a similar app.

Source: flexjobs.com, themuse.com

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