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How to Work From Home: Tips for Working During Quarantine

The COVID pandemic has changed the way we eat, play, and work. Corporations, workers, and economists alike are now asking if remote work from home is the future. They’re trying to plan for how things will be different when the economy fully opens again.

For those that have to spend the interim at home, it’s important to know the meaning of remote work, which includes not only the concept of physically working from home but the changes in communication methods and remote work engagement that go along with it. Remote work with benefits may sound like a gift but it comes with responsibilities. Your relationship with your employer and colleagues has changed to fit into the new paradigm of remote work engagement. If employee productivity and satisfaction are high enough during this time, it may continue to change even after the COVID pandemic has passed.

Here are a few tips for working in the quarantine environment, including those related to etiquette, equipment, your psychology, and anything else we think you might need.

Solitude is your friend

Woman sitting by window at remote working location

The balance required between remote work and productivity is becoming known to anyone who has to engage in it for the first time. Remote work from home may not be as official as working in an office, but it’s certainly more convenient. For many workers, they will discover that it may be too convenient.

If you’re working out on a central table where kids (home from school) are also running around, or people are running errands around you, or there are televisions on in the background, you can’t expect to be productive.

The extra noise will kill your work ethic; you’ll find yourself checking emails and Twitter when you should be viewing expense reports or writing tips for working during quarantine for a blog. You need to find a space dedicated to work so that you can maximize remote work engagement in an environment that could be distracting.

Finding a place to work that is dedicated to your concentration is important. It’s also important to make it the same place every time. Find a workstation far from televisions, cookie jars, husbands and wives, babies, chores that need to be done, the project that you’ve left unfinished, your social media, and anything that could distract you. 

By using the same place for work every day you can augment its productivity-enhancing effects. Your family will (hopefully) learn which areas are for your work. You should start seeing your productivity increase. Psychologically, your brain will start going into work mode when you enter this space.

Be productive, not lonely

Woman sitting at home on phone during covid 19 quarantine

Just because you need solitude to be productive while you follow the CDC coronavirus restrictions, doesn’t mean you should discount all human communication. Your remote work-life balance is important to your stability and productivity and this means finding ways of combating the loneliness that could result from remote work.

Since we’re not engaging with people at school or in the office, and you have to sequester yourself from family, it’s easy to let your mood suffer, which affects productivity.

Dealing with remote work loneliness may not be easy at first, but it’s essential. This means finding ways to spend time with other people without breaking the rules of social distancing. The most obvious is making some time at the end of the day for the family you’re living with.

But you can also take walks with the right precautions or chat with people online. Cooperative online games are a great way to cool down with friends and get some much-needed interaction if you’re into those things.

Something as simple as a hobby can keep your attitude where it should be, which will improve productivity.

The right way to communicate

Man talking to coworkers remotely during covid 19 quarantine

Now that you’re a remote worker, you may be learning new programs and interfaces to create a successful remote work environment, not only for yourself but for your employer and colleagues as well. In addition to the right remote work accessories, such as company communication platforms like Zoom, you also need to learn remote work etiquette for talking to people over a computer.

This includes simple rules like maintaining eye contact and keeping your head from bobbing. It also means making sure that your home’s internet connection is always stable so that you can have professional meetings with colleagues when the need arises.

This is especially important for employers. You need to figure out how to get your employees to engage not only with you but with each other. Company meeting tools like Slack are essential to scheduling regular meetings on an accessible platform that will promote worker engagement. You can also use these tools to create separate “virtual break rooms” for people to interact in a non-work-related way, which has been proven to boost remote work productivity.

One of the biggest challenges when comparing remote work vs offices is the lack of these spaces for “water cooler talk” or friendly engagement. Since studies show that workers that feel comfortable with each other are more likely to share ideas in meetings and be more productive, you need to create these spaces. This is true in remote work for college students as well, who have to collaborate on projects in much the same way.

You may find opportunities in a place you didn’t expect, such as through Steam games. By providing employees with a way to spend their off-time cooperating and competing in a game unrelated to work, you may be wittingly providing them psychological incentives to be more productive when working remotely. Since a remote work company is what you now own, whether you like it or not, these techniques could be a huge help.

Know how to relax

Woman relaxing at home with headphones during covid 19 quarantine

You can’t be working all the time. One mistake that remote workers will make, however, is not removing themselves far enough away from their new remote work-at-home jobs than they should. This means setting an end to your work schedule and putting everything away after that, including all your remote work equipment like your work computer and phone, your papers, or whatever you need. This is as true in remote work for nurses as it is in remote work for moms, who are always searching for that remote work-life balance of getting things done and raising kids at the same time.

Remote work for college students may seem like a full-time job but by allocating time to classes and then putting books and devices away for your off-time, you’ll find yourself with a better work attitude and more productivity.

Equipment recommendations

Woman working from home boho chic covid 19 quarantine

We all know that we should wear masks when we go out, but remote work equipment also entails changing up the things we take to work with us.

It’s important to stay comfortable while you work from home (it’s probably one of the perks everyone is enjoying most). However, though it’s tempting to stay in pajamas all day, this will quickly become bad remote work etiquette.

Our brains love routines. When we combine our sleep clothes and work clothes, our brains are that much less likely to be able to engage “work mode.” This, combined with some hygiene concerns, should make you reconsider the pajama wardrobe. At the very least, buy some sweatpants and cheap shirts online and think of them as a work expense, your remote work essentials, if you will.

Other remote work accessories could come in handy as well. Noise-canceling headphones, or some High Fidelity Earplugs, may be essential if kids are running around or if your neighbors are a little noisy.

Now that many of us are sitting more than usual, the health of our backs necessitates some remote work equipment as well, such as special seat cushions that improve posture. 

Schedule yourself

taking notes to do list quarantine remote work tea coffee aesthetic

Since COVID hit the USA, many of us have been discovering the flaws in our ability to schedule and maintain efficiency. The link between remote work and productivity, both its potential to maximize and minimize our potential, makes it essential for workers to set goals in a daily schedule.

One difference when comparing remote work vs office work is that many of us don’t have an exact time we need to be up. However, setting a consistent alarm is a great idea to convince our minds to fall into a work schedule.

The discipline to keep a steady shower and dressing schedule, a reliable drink of coffee, and a consistent workspace will also come in handy when trying to maximize remote work engagement. We have to pace ourselves if we expect to succeed in a remote work environment, however, this should be taken literally: we have to come up with a regular “pace” of working, playing, sleeping, eating, etc.

Setting a schedule will improve your productivity and remote work engagement, which is all part of rearranging our life balance for a remote work environment.

The Takeaway

Tattoos punk rock alternative typing on laptop remote work coronavirus quarantine

Is remote work the future? Remote work-at-home jobs are giving people challenges that apply to employers and employees alike but many are learning to strike the right remote work-life balance to make it happen. These challenges include family distractions that decrease remote work productivity to psychological issues that affect our remote work etiquette and efficiency.

Use these tips to set your work schedule in order to keep your remote work life in balance. Learn the communication tools and etiquette required to succeed in a virtual work environment. If you’re an employer, use these tools to encourage your employees to communicate and engage with each other in their off-time.

The COVID pandemic has struck a blow to many industries, but for those fortunate enough to be able to transition to a remote work environment, there are new paradigms to learn to get back on track. Use these tips to get started.

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