The core concept of working from home has changed overnight. Instead of making a choice when the context was right, millions of people are now forced to work from home during a crisis that affects and even threatens their lives and the lives of those they hold dear. Our way of living turned upside down and we are forced to readjust without prior notice. As a result, even if previous studies have shown incredible benefits in favor of remote working, most of those do not apply in the current situation.
Our team is dedicated to helping professionals and companies make the best out of this situation, so we will publish a series of articles meant to smooth your path into remote working. Let’s start by identifying the challenges posed by working from home in times of COVID-19 pandemic and go through some possible solutions.
Children don’t go to school these days, babysitters are most likely out of question and the little trouble makers can’t be dropped off at grandma’s house. They might be your heart and soul, but they are also the biggest productivity killers. According to Stanford researcher Nicholas Bloom, one of the biggest promoters of remote working, managing children is the most challenging aspect of working from home these days.
Watching the kids while trying to do your job means doing two jobs at the exact same time. Performing 100% in both of them is actually impossible. However, there are ways of working around it, and we identified two possible solutions.j
Have a flexible schedule
Working 9 to 5 is out of the question for single parents or families in which both parents are working from home. Therefore, the best solution would be to ask your company for permission to make your own schedule. This way you can fit work hours around children sleeping time or other activities that keep them busy.
This is a new concept that not many are familiar with. Some parents might be reluctant to even give it a try. But we’re living unusual times and we all have to adapt.
Virtual sitting means hiring a professional to interact with your children through video apps. While virtual sitters cannot feed the child or change nappies, they can do a great job keeping school-age children busy. They can play games, do homework, or exercise together while you are in the next room. To make sure your kid is safe, you can have remote access to their computer and keep an eye on them from time to time.
During these difficult times, anxiety can get even the best of us. It is something everyone has to deal with, regardless of age, marital status, mental health history etc. Of course, some of these factors can influence the degree or stand in the way of overcoming quarantine anxiety.
All over the world, people took on social networks to report feeling fatigued, unable to stay awake into the night, low energy levels during the day, and general tiredness. Psychologists say these are all related to the mental workload and the anxiety triggered by the new Coronavirus.
Overcoming anxiety is not a simple thing to do and doesn’t have an easy fix, but there are a few strategies that could help to keep it to a minimum.
Have a schedule
Losing track of time is quite common these days. Even those who were previously used to working from home can feel confused, as they have lost all prior coordinates. With everyone staying at home all the time, it’s hard to remember what day it is and every day might seem like the weekend. Having a schedule for every day of the week will help you set a routine and keep things in order.
Make plans for the future
It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t know what the future looks like. Having to ask yourself “Will I still be alive in 3 months?” is absolutely devastating on anyone’s morale. But living your life as if the answer was any other than yes means you’ve already given up. And that is the only thing that can be worse.
So, in order to pull yourself up, try to leave aside all uncertainties and negative thoughts for a bit and find the courage to think about the future. What do you hope to achieve in 3-5 years? Where would you like to go on vacation next summer, when all will hopefully be just a painful chapter in our collective history? What will be the first restaurant you visit when things go back to normal?
Make a bucket list that will make you realize there are still lots of things you have to do. And then phantasies a bit about them 🙂 The power of your imagination is infinite, just put it to a test.
Limit news exposure
Isolation and quarantine keep us safe from the virus, but they are taking a toll on both our psychical and physical health.
Watching the news and reading newspapers can be a major source of anxiety. While it is important to stay informed, remember that mass media is not a public service. They are in the business of making money, keeping ratings high and attracting sponsors. Their job is finding new ways to present the situation and get in front of their competitors.
To minimize your anxiety, try to lower your news consumption from mass media. Use official websites, such as the CDC or WHO to stay informed with relevant, no-panic-inducing information. We can’t stretch enough this piece of advice 💡 Just follow it and you’ll see a great mood improvement!
Lack of adequate settings
Working from home is not as simple as sitting in bed with a laptop on your knees. People who had been doing this before the COVID-19 outbreak already have the right setup: a proper workspace, a computer fitted for their needs, peripherals and gadgets that make their work possible and, of course, the right software.
On the other hand, many of the people who are forced to work remote for the first time don’t have the right setting or the right tools for keeping their work productive. Here are some tips for all those who are only now getting acquainted with working from home.
Set your workspace in a dedicated room
Turn the guest room into a home office, set up a desk in the basement or take advantage of the free time you have these days to clean up the garage and set up the infrastructure required for your job, such as wi-fi, webcam, microphone etc.
Make sure your new home office is free of unnecessary distractions. If there’s a TV in that room, shut it off and take the remote to another part of the house to remove temptation. Put your phone out of sight and turn off social media notifications.
Get the right tools
Besides the hardware systems you need to get your home office ready for work, there is another very important aspect to consider: using the right software. Almost everyone working from home needs to stay in touch with their team, managers, clients or collaborators. The needs vary from live chat to voice capabilities and video calls.
Instead of using several different tools and have information spread on multiple sources, consider the option of a team collaboration app such as Hubgets. It’s the easiest and most reliable way to share information, files, workload, and completely replicate the office environment into the virtual world.
Working from home has multiple challenges, especially in these tough times. Please remember though that we are all in this together. And physical distancing doesn’t have to actually mean social distancing.
In the next article, we are going to explore the challenging issue of building relationships with your team while working remotely. Keep posted and #StaySafe ❗