With coronavirus (COVID-19) becoming more widespread here in the United States, a lot of companies are telling their employees to work from home. If you’re one of them, and you don’t normally work from home, you might be struggling to create an office-friendly space at home.
I’m so thankful that the company I work for decided to try out remote work capabilities for the first time in their history to protect us from the virus. I work in a massive call center for an insurance company, and due to how close we all are to one another, illness burns its way through the building rather quickly.
I don’t have a dedicated workspace in my home. My boyfriend has a desk for his gaming computer, and we have a small dining room table that sometimes I’ll use for my laptop, but there really aren’t any quiet spaces. There’s always noise coming from outside or from other apartments, my cat begs for food and pets frequently, and my boyfriend pops in several times an hour to say hi. I’m not complaining about having kitty and spouse companionship, but they are distractions that draw my mind away from work.
I wanted to offer some advice for creating a better remote work environment with you guys, based on things that have worked really well for me this past week. If you have any advice that I haven’t mentioned, please share your wisdom with us down below!
Now that my boyfriend has a new Nintendo Switch, I’ve commandeered his gaming computer and desk. What you see above is my current work station. (I had to blur some work-related things, so ignore that.) As soon as we decided this would be my work station for the next however-many weeks, I started making it mine.
Tip 1: Create a space you love.
I added candles, plants, some affirmation cards (the ones I have came from one of my Theraboxes, but these ones from Amazon are a great alternative), and a cat bed at my feet for when I have sleepy company. Basically, I made it mine. Being surrounded by things I love, like happy plants, framed photos, etc., automatically soothe my nerves when it comes time to clock in.
If you don’t have a desk, that’s no problem! Use your kitchen table, or even bring your laptop to bed. The same principle still applies: surround yourself with items that make you smile, and getting through your workday will seem like a piece of cake!
Tip 2: Ambient noise or music
If you are working in a loud environment, ambient noise or your favorite music will definitely help you out. If the outside noise is still bothering you, you might want to invest in some noise-canceling headphones.
I’ve been listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts, and it’s made my days go by so much quicker. Of course, it’s going to be hard to go back to the office eventually and not be able to listen to those things, but I’m loving it right now!
If you’re not a fan of listening, you could also pop Netflix on in the background and watch/listen to your favorite show or movie!
Tip 3: Take your breaks!
One of the most important things I’ve learned during my work-from-home experience is that my mental health suffers when I don’t stick to my breaks. It’s easy to just sit at your desk during your lunch break, but actually standing up, walking around, interacting with your family or roommates, or walking outside will do your body and soul a greater service. We all know that it’s unhealthy to sit for long periods of time, and getting some good old’ vitamin D from the sun will only make you happier.
Tip 4: Stay connected
One of the hardest parts of working from home (at least for extraverts) is the loneliness that comes with it. Most people are friends with many of their coworkers, and you lose that interaction working remotely. So stay connected! Create a group chat with your favorite co-workers, call friends when you’re on a break, Skype or facetime with people you love. I know it’s easy to become lonely during quarantine, but technology will help you connect to people.
So, those are the four pieces of advice that I can offer, and I hope they help. I’ll probably find more ways to make the situation better over the next week or so (my managers have no idea when we’re going back to the office), and I’ll definitely share them with you. What are your favorite ways to make working from home better? Let us know in the comments!