In view of the Covid-19 outbreak and with many companies advising (or requiring) their employees to work from home, we’ve drawn on our years of experience working in digital – which lends itself to remote working – to come up with six tips for surviving self-isolation and keeping productive at home.
Working from home can get quite lonely, and for those used to a busy office environment, it can be quite a shock to go from a bustling workspace to a quiet, solitary one. You’re also surrounded by distractions – the dishes need doing, the carpets need vacuuming and there’s a never-ending pile of laundry to work through.
Perhaps you’re a procrastinator and Netflix is your weakness, or perhaps you overwork and you’re worried about burning out before the end of your first week of self-isolation. Here are our six tips for adjusting to your new working routine during the Coronavirus outbreak.
#1: Pretend you’re going to work
Imagine the world isn’t topsy-turvy right now. Imagine you’re still heading out to work in the morning. How do you prepare?
If you have a night-time routine, stick to it. Prep your lunch, set an alarm (or three) and go to bed at a reasonable time. No matter how tempting it is to have a lie in, try to get up at your usual time and dress like you would for work. (No, you can’t work in bed!)
If you have a long commute or tend to travel by public transport, losing your commute might come as a great relief, but it’s still important to get some fresh air. A brisk walk will help you keep fit and feel alert (but remember to keep a safe distance from others – here’s the official advice on social distancing).
#2: Set some ground rules
If you’re self-isolating with your partner (or kids!), try to set some rules for what you expect during working hours. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can drop everything to help with the laundry, make people lunch or build a fort out of cushions (though the latter does sound fun).
Maintain some separation between work and home life. That way you’re less likely to get swamped with housework on your lunch break! It can be harder if you’re looking after younger kids but try to find a balance that works for everyone.
#3: Get comfy
Right now, we don’t know how long the pandemic will last. We might be here a while! Keeping your environment tidy and organised will make you feel more in control of the situation and help you focus.
Start by clearing any clutter from your workspace. Check you have everything you need to hand – stationery, work mobile etc. – and a decent supply of healthy snacks and drinks.
#4: Take regular breaks
Office dwellers tend to move around a lot, visiting other desks or making team brews. These little breathers help to break up your day and keep you active. Go get a glass of water from the kitchen, check on the dog and consider trying out a few desk exercises to keep you limber.
Remote working can make people feel like they need to prove to their peers or manager that they’re still working hard, but don’t let this eat into your break time. Taking short, regular breathers is known to increase productivity, so don’t feel guilty about taking five minutes to make a brew, text your parents or stretch your legs.
#5: Stick to your schedule
Just like you would any other day, make a plan and stick to it. Decide what you want to achieve, prioritise your workload and check back on your plan to make sure you’re still on course. Tracking your time will help you avoid procrastinating! The Splitpixel team use Clockify, but there are plenty of easy to use apps to choose from.
#6: Stay in touch but don’t over-communicate
Keep cabin fever at bay and on top of projects by staying in touch with colleagues. Communicating over apps like Slack or Discord will boost team morale and help to keep everyone in the loop. Face-to-face meetings are better than voice calls or messages, so scheduling in regular team catch-ups via video call will help to maintain some level of human connection that we all rely on.
While it’s important to keep in touch, it’s also vital that you don’t over-communicate. It’s an easy trap to fall into – especially if you’re worrying about not being seen to be busy – but overwhelming your colleagues or manager with updates on every little detail will only annoy them – and take up your time!
It will take time to find the right balance, as it will to settle into the remote working lifestyle. But with a little perseverance and a lot of self-care, we can all get through this.
Business as usual at Splitpixel
At Splitpixel, we’re lucky enough to work in an industry that is fully compatible with remote working. This week, we’ve moved to full home working for every team member to help control the spread of Covid-19.
We have access to all our tools, software and servers, so it’s pretty much business as usual for us! Our regular team beers, gym workouts and jamming sessions will be sorely missed, but we’re following our own advice and keeping in touch online.
If we can help or support you with anything during this time please ask, we’ve been immersed in digital for years so are happy to share any advice or answer any questions you may have.
Keep in touch
We want to reassure our clients (and anyone who might be interested in working with us), that we’re still about for a chat. Emails are being picked up, calls are being forwarded to members of the team during our standard business hours (9am – 5.30pm) and we’re happy to set up face-to-face meetings via videoconferencing software. Let us know if you have any preferences and we’ll do our very best to accommodate.