By Molly Barnes - May 7th, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many of us work. One of the biggest changes is the sudden need to work remotely.
While some people are well-versed in operating from a home office, hundreds of thousands of others are still adjusting to working remotely. Luckily, by making a few adjustments to minimize distractions, devising a schedule, and staying in contact with clients and co-workers, you can maintain some semblance of normalcy in this new COVID-19 world.
Create a Workable Space
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the potential for continual distraction. Look for a dedicated space to set up your workstation, preferably with a door you can close to reduce noise and traffic. As tempting as it might be to set up your office in the dining room or living room, these areas usually experience the heaviest traffic, the most noise, and the greatest commotion. If all else fails, though, noise-canceling headphones can help you focus.
Also, few things are more distracting than trying to set up a workspace amid half-finished projects and clutter. If you have the time and resources, get into a deep clean and remove any items that create visual noise in your intended workspace. If there’s a lot to tackle, consider moving unwanted items to a storage space.
Set a Forgiving Schedule
The next step to staying on track is to build a schedule with a definite end time each day. Make an agreement with yourself to abide by it, even if you have to let unfinished tasks roll over to the next day. Ending the day at a designated time will help your mind and body recharge for the days ahead.
It can be tempting to work straight through when your computer and phone are always at hand, but taking breaks throughout the day is also important for your mental and physical health. Take a walk outside, or drive around the block barefoot (yes, it’s legal!) with the music turned up. Whatever works for you, just take a moment away from your workstation to reset.
Stay in Contact
Another difficult aspect of working remotely can be losing contact with co-workers — but now is the perfect time to reach out. Chances are, many of your colleagues are facing the same difficulties and challenges you are! Why not share some tips and commiserate about the current state of affairs? By now, you’re probably familiar with the range of free web-based services that facilitate virtual chats, so take advantage. For many services, a simple internet connection is all that’s needed.
Social distancing does not mean virtual distancing, fortunately, so check in with your customers and clients, as well. You can even send them a personalized gift to let them know you’re thinking of them. Sending a thoughtful note and a branded pen can remind your customers to think of you every time they reach to write something down.
Adjusting to this new normal is taking some time. But, as with anything else, the kinks and growing pains of working from home will ease up with practice and patience. By reducing distractions at home, setting a sound schedule, and staying in contact with clients and co-workers alike, you can work your way through the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we’ll adjust to the new normal and come out more successful than ever in the end.
Molly Barnes is a full-time digital nomad. She works remotely, travels constantly, and explores different cities across the U.S. She started her site, www.digitalnomadlife.org as a resource for travelers, nomads, and remote workers. Molly writes resources that help office and remote workers alike reach their personal and professional goals of becoming more successful. Follow along with her and her boyfriend Jacob on their blog as they pursue a nomadic lifestyle while freelancing and traveling across the country.