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Due to the recent coronavirus outbreak, many organizations have opted to allow their employees to work from home. It can be a big adjustment to make and challenging, especially if you have never done it before. You may have “wished” to be a remote worker, but now that it is here you have found yourself struggling a bit. 

It’s normal to find yourself in the adjustment period. Be easy on yourself and give yourself a chance to transition.  Look at the bright side and find ways to be productive while doing it. If you need help, here are five tried and tested tips to help you with the transition:

1.     Create an office environment 

It’s so tempting to just sit on the couch while the laptop is in your lap in your favorite pajamas, but this may hurt your productivity. Creating an actual physical space to work to get the “office environment” vibe is important. This set up can be easily achieved by making sure that you have a well-lit room, a good chair and a comfortable table to use during your workday. 

Working from home is prone to a lot of distractions so you might also want to invest on a noise canceling headphones. It’s a good item to have if you want to drown out unnecessary interruptions. 

2.     Stick to a schedule

You’ll be surprised how fast the day can go without you realizing it compared to when you’re physically in the office. Before you know it, it’s almost 5PM and you haven’t even noticed. It would help to set a schedule just like when you’re clocking in and out of the office. Even if you get up to go and put a load of laundry in-do not get fully distracted and lose track of time.

One of the advantages of working from home is the luxury of time. It’s easy to get caught up and spend extra hours if you know that you can just re-open your laptop and dive into your pending tasks again. Setting boundaries will allow you to find balance between work life and home life.

3.     Communication is vital more than ever 

For people who are used to a bustling office, the work from home set up may require a bit of an adjustment at first. No more lunch outs, meetings at the conference room or pizza after work – but this should not hinder you from checking on your teammates and colleagues. 

Technology allows us to stay connected to each other whenever and wherever. Avoid isolation. Make sure to talk to a colleague, a coach or a friend at least once a day. It gives you fresh ideas and gives your mind the space to breathe from work. 

Schedule meetings with your teams. It doesn’t have to be work-related all the time. A simple catching up session can go a long way to stay connected and feel the support of each other on days like these. 

4.     Stay active and take breaks

A simple stretch before, during or after you start your day can help get your energized.

You’re not alone in having difficulty dismissing the idea of just sitting in that comfortable couch or just lying in that soft and warm bed. But it’s important to move your muscles every now and then.  Consider home work-outs, online exercise videos and yoga tutorials at least for 20-30 mins every day. If you are not able to exercise, taking breaks in between your day can be just as beneficial. There’s no denying that this will help you, both physically and mentally. 

5.     Embrace the good things that come with it 

Working from home might be a totally new setting for some people and it’s normal to feel stressed about it. Some people feel that they’ve lost their freedom in some sense and the usual thrill of working outside is missing. But we can all benefit a thing or two with the extra and flexible time it gives us. 

If managed properly, your extra time being home can be used to do the things that had taken the backseat because of your busy and hectic schedule. Being able to exercise in the morning, eat breakfast because you’re not in a hurry anymore, being able to spend additional hours with your family because you’re in control of your own time and even getting additional sleep. These may be simple things, but they do matter. So take advantage of this time and see it as a temporary and positive period.

Working from home is certainly not for everyone, but it can be leveraged and used to still be productive. Utilize these 5 tips to help you survive working from home until you can get back to early mornings, hectic meetings and working in something other than your pajamas.

Barbara Mason is a career consultant that brings over 20 years Human Resources experience and has been in senior level roles for Fortune 500 companies. She is the owner and CEO of Career Pathways Consulting and her passion is helping career professionals stay, flow, or go in their career.

To learn more about working with her, visit www.careerpathwaysconsulting.com.

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