Working from home during COVID-19 pandemic can make seem like you are working all the time. Know how to set boundaries between your work and personal life, as well as avoid professional isolation. And, if your office is closed due to the corona virus pandemic, you might be working from home for the first time.
If you are working from home for the first time and/or just can’t seem to stay focused with the knowledge that your TV and fridge is nearby, consider these tips for maintaining work-life balance and avoiding professional isolation. These tips are from an article by Elizabeth Grace Saunders in Harvard Business Review titled, How to Stay Focused When You’re Working from Home
- Establish working hours- It may sound silly, but if you want to have a focused day of work, pretend you’re not working from home. Before I became a time management coach, my schedule was chaotic. I didn’t have a set time that I would be at my computer, and I would often schedule personal appointments or run errands during the day. And since my personal life didn’t have boundaries, my work life didn’t either. When I was home, I would feel guilty for not checking business email at all hours of the day and night. I never felt that I could truly rest.
- Structure your day for success- Maximize the effectiveness of your time at home by structuring it differently than a typical workday. For example, if you work from home only one day a week or on occasion, make it a meeting-free day. If you can’t entirely avoid meetings, reserve at least half a day for focused work. Choose a time that works best for you, based on any required meetings and your energy levels.
- Set boundaries with others- To make your efforts stick, be clear with the people who might see your work-at-home days as simply days you’re at home. Explain to friends, family, and other acquaintances that the days you’re working remotely aren’t opportunities for non-work-related activities. For example, if you’re home with your spouse, tell them, “I’m planning on being on my computer from 8 AM to 5 PM today. I’m happy to chat at lunch, but other than that I’ll be occupied.” Typically, when you set expectations and stick to them (say, really stopping at 5 PM), people understand your limits instead of assuming you’ll be available. (I also recommend having a place where you’re away from anyone else who might be home, such as an office or bedroom where you can shut the door and be out of sight.)
Bottomline: While some employees have been working remotely for many years and will likely keep their same routine, managers should remember that not every employee actually wants to work from home, a shift that can be stressful for some. However, as organizations increasingly mandate that many employees work from home during this pandemic outbreak, it’s becomes even more important that managers, communicate with their employees as some might be struggling with the change.
ATS offers a broad portfolio of time and attendance solutions that streamlines the collection, calculation, and reporting of employee hours for workforce management and eliminates the manual tasks of payroll preparation, increasing efficiency and reducing errors in corporate payroll departments.