In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, most workplaces across Canada have instructed their staff to temporarily work from home in order to protect staff and contribute to flattening the curve—Compassion Canada included!
In light of this, we compiled a list of eight work-from-home tips from our remote staff team. With many of you also working from home for the first time, we thought we’d share.
1. Get dressed for the day
Getting out of your pajamas helps you shift to work-mode and feel less sluggish. Take a shower, make your bed and dress for success! (Although, feel free to rock a “professional on the top, pajamas on the bottom” look for video calls every so often. We all do it.)
2. Have a designated workspace
Even if it’s a small shelf in the corner of your bedroom, carve out a space in your home to keep your computer, a notebook and anything else that makes it feel like your space.
This space will look different for everyone! Elaine, who manages Compassion Canada’s administrative team, shares, “I need comfort. I only sit at desk when on video calls. The rest of the time I’m in my recliner with my laptop, phone and coffee. This helps me manage my health and be the most productive.”
3. Transition to and from work
Don’t wake up and open your computer right away. Have a coffee, do your devotions, get some fresh air and connect with the people you do life with.
Similarly, don’t close your computer and head straight to the dinner table. Take a few minutes to transition from work to home.
“Realize you don’t have a commute to ‘wind down’ anymore,” says Jeremy, Compassion’s Representative in British Columbia. “I found this surprisingly jarring when I started working remotely! I like to try to take a couple minutes after I ‘shut down’ and head back ‘into the fray’. Maybe you go for a walk, scroll Facebook for a few minutes, pull up a song or video on YouTube… just something that’s ‘not work’ and ‘not home life’ to transition.”
4. Keep moving
Change your location throughout the day, so you don’t feel stuck in one place. Work the morning from your desk, break for lunch, then move to work the afternoon from your living room, porch or kitchen table.
Be sure to take breaks and get some fresh air. Go for walks during phone calls or over your lunch break.
“Keep the snacks [and coffee] in another room so you have to move,” says Andrew, Compassion Canada’s Editorial, Content and Public Relations Manager.
5. Take advantage of the flexibility
Work the hours that work for you—just check-in with your leader to ensure you’re on the same page! Take breaks during the day to connect with your family—but if you have kids, be sure to also explain your new work arrangement to them.
Aimee, one of Compassion’s Representatives in the Greater Toronto Area, says, “I’ve worked from home since my kids were little. Help them understand what that means, especially if you don’t have a dedicated workspace to ‘disappear’ to. The sudden change might [look] to little ones that dad or mom is available for playtime all day long. Take breaks to play and interact with your kids, but also talk with them to help them respect some boundaries for when you actually have to get some work done.”
6. Plan for Productivity
Remove distractions by turning off non-essential notifications when doing your most important work. Cal Newport writes about the concept of “deep work”. A key message is that transitioning back into productivity after being interrupted by an email, Slack message or phone call is surprisingly difficult. Most of us don’t even realize it, but by the time we’ve regained our best focus on the task at hand, the next notification is dinging. So, designate blocks of time to set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” in order to focus and get your best work done.
7. Schedule your work
Start your day with a list of the most important work you need to accomplish, and schedule it for when you are most alert and focused. Write out specific goals for the day to help keep track of what you accomplish.
Jeremy also shares a great tip for setting yourself up well to transition between workdays: “Before I finish for the day, I often write myself a couple ‘first thing to do’ notes for the next morning. [That] helps me get into work mode when I’m starting—you [might] find it surprisingly hard to know where to start without the physical cues of the office.”
8. Don’t over-work!
More often than not, working from home results in working more hours, not less. Do not let this happen to you. Set your working hours and stick to them. The good news is, working in a distraction-free environment can result in higher productivity, meaning you can get more work done in the same hours. Let that be enough, and don’t allow work time to bleed into personal time.
Do you have experience working from home?
Share your tips in the comments!
For more on Compassion Canada’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our Coronavirus updates page.