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The coronavirus pandemic has forced organizations around the world to implement work from home policies, but many employees we’re not prepared to work remotely. 

Working from home effectively doesn’t happen overnight. It’s crucial to have the right set up at home to be productive. 

For more of us, working from home will be the new normal for the next few weeks or even months in some countries.

To help you evaluate your workspace, we put together essential tips that will help you avoid the distractions that working from home might pose. 

Working From Home

Create a Designated Workstation

You might have heard this a million times but we must stress the importance of designating a workstation for yourself. Having a separate workstation helps establish a routine and keeps you from being distracted by television, naps, or other temptations.

Pro-tip: It’s never a bad idea to have natural light, a water bottle, and healthy snacks at your workstation.

Time to Use Those Noise-canceling Headphones

Cut out the auditory distraction with noise-canceling headphones. They will help you avoid the noise and disturbances that can occur in the house or apartment.  The headset will also help with the sound quality of your conference calls. 

Pro-tip: You can always put on some soothing music to help you concentrate better.

Create a Morning Routine

It might be tempting to stay in your PJs the entire day, but that will always give you a slow and less productive start to the day. Try to maintain a daily routine and start by getting dressed before you start to work. This will not only help you get in the mood to work and make you feel confident. 

Pro-tip: Just a nice shower and changing in comfortable casual clothes can also do wonders. Stop thinking that no one from work will see you. Undoubtedly, you’re on a lot more video calls now than ever before.

Use Your Travel Time to Prepare for Work

Simple activities like a yoga session (at home) or spending time with your pet or listening to music could help you slide in your work routine smoothly. You could also devote this time to learning a new skill online or finishing a Udacity Nanodegree program. Similarly, earmark some time to come out of the work schedule. This helps prepare you for the next tasks at hand as the mind can easily shift focus during this time. After all, our brain could be a powerful machine but it still doesn’t have a reset button.

Pro-tip: This duration is supposed to mentally prepare you to pump up and wind down. Choose the activities wisely!

Don’t Be too Consumed by the News

This might sound difficult but it is a necessity for you to not get distracted by the news. While you should stay informed don’t make yourself anxious by monitoring the 24/7 COVID news cycle. 

We know it’s easier said than done, but taking this news regularly will only induce anxiety. Set alarms twice a day to check what’s happening around you, and try not to check the news when you are preparing to sleep.

Pro-tip: Try to take short breaks, like you used to do at the office. You can also meditate once a day to keep all that anxiety away.

Communicate and Socialize

Yes, all of us are expected to follow social distancing measures. However, it’s important to be social, especially at this time. 

Maintain open communication and foster social interaction with your coworkers. Communication can include Zoom calls with your team, managers or other colleagues. Or, you can schedule virtual fun activities or send simple Slack messages just to check in on each other  Remember those water cooler and lunch conversations? Don’t let them die during these tough times.

Udacity launched a free course on how to manage remote teams in partnership with Upwork that can be helpful in establishing work streams while working from home.  

Pro-tip: This goes for your personal relationships as well. After reading this blog, pick up your phone and FaceTime your mom or that old friend you used to hang out with every Friday night?

We would highly recommend you to use this time to look back and think about all the solutions that could help you grow in the future. Check out our latest online learning hub if you are looking for some inspiration on how to manage work from home better.

And last but the most important tip – try to stay positive! We’re going to go back to our offices and meet and hug our work friends again. Till then, hold on and stay safe!

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