Just last month, your home was a place of refuge from the stress of office life. All of a sudden, your boss tells you to work from home because of the widespread COVID-19 virus. But make no mistake, it’s not a free holiday – work has to be done whether you’re at the office or not. Not sure where to start? Don’t fret, because we at City Nomads know a thing or two about working remotely.

Get started early

There’s a reason why regular work hours start from 8am or 9am. It can be tempting to wake up late when working from home, and the transition from your pillow to your desk can be very jarring without the usual morning commute. Many productivity experts recommend working immediately as soon as you’ve had breakfast so you can get a ton done by noon time. Don’t let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation!

Make sure ground rules are established

Does your company have a proper framework for work-from-home situations? Managers should establish ground rules and set the tone for how staff are supposed to communicate, execute, and report their tasks. Daily meetings are no longer an option, but how about video calls at the start of each day to brief the team? If you’re worried that people will think you’re slacking, tell your co-workers that you’re logging off for lunch to avoid being disturbed.

Dress like you’re going to the office

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Nothing makes you feel like it’s a weekend like roaming around your house in your pyjamas at 2pm — way to be unproductive. Even if you don’t have to travel to the office, how about putting on your usual work clothes to get in the zone of doing work? If you’re too lazy to don the full attire, even just a shirt or pair of trousers is better than nothing.

Use the Pomodoro method

One of our favourite productivity techniques is the Pomodoro method, a popular time management system that helps you power through your tasks in short bursts, while taking frequent breaks to relax. To put it simply, practitioners choose a task to be accomplished and work on it for 25 minutes, before taking a short five minute break. Then, take longer breaks of 15 to 30 minutes after every four sets. This technique demands your total attention each set, and stopping to reply emails (unless that is your task at hand) or make phone calls) are discouraged until the timer is up.

Have a dedicated space for work

Photo courtesy of Ashima Pargal

There’s nothing worse than working on your sofa in front of the TV, or even worse, your bed. It’s always good to have a dedicated place to work that’s as far from your bed as possible, whether it’s the corner of your dining table or the clean parts of your kitchen table. Pick a spot that you don’t usually lounge at, to help you get in the right frame of mind. Otherwise, it’ll be difficult to separate your home life and work life. If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room, station yourself there where you won’t fall for mundane distractions.

Use productivity apps

It’s easy to get distracted at home. After all, you’ve never had to bring work home before. We recommend using productivity apps for better usage of your time. Harvest is an app that tracks the time of team members, and similarly, RescueTime tracks your productivity on specific sites and tasks before leaving you with a daily productivity score at the end of each day. There are also Chrome plug-ins like Block Site to block certain sites like Facebook and YouTube if you don’t require them for work. If nothing else, Google Calendar makes It easy to create reminders to help you stay on schedule.

Take care of your wellbeing

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Try not to spend your entire day cooped up in front of your computer, or you’ll risk your health and sanity. Make sure to take proper breaks every few hours, and if you’re not being quarantined, get out of the house at least once a day. Head out for lunch, run a quick errand nearby, or buy groceries at the supermarket and cook a proper meal for yourself — because when’s the last time you got to do so? Set an alarm on your phone to get up and move around every hour or so.

If you feel lonely, reach out to your co-workers

It can get a bit disorientating and lonely not seeing your co-workers for days on end. Instead of just sending them emails or messages, why not ring them up when you can to find out how they’re doing? In the same vein, let your manager or co-workers know how you’re feeling, squeezing in a minute or two for idle banter. Trust us, it really helps.

Top Image: Thought Catalog