Far more people are working from home during the COVID-19 isolation period. Here are some top tips to help you settle into the new normal and keep productive!

1 Stick to your morning routine 

Get up and have a shower, eat your breakfast, make your coffee and get dressed. Try to stick to your usual routine where possible to keep yourself in a work mindset. Use your time saved from a shortened commute to get ahead with distracting tasks. Do something for yourself, get the kids set up for the day or push your routine back to catch a few extra Zzz’s, but keep to your usual routine where possible. 

2 Set up a work station 

If you do not have space for a home office, find a quiet corner somewhere to make your new office. Somewhere separate from the rest of the house where your isolation companions know not to distract you and you can focus on work. With the increase in web conferencing, you may want to have a think about your backdrop too! 

3 Keep your usual work hours 

Set a schedule, and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps maintain a healthy work-life balance. There are lots of apps out there to help you stick to timings and keep your focus so go and explore! 

4 Socialise with colleagues 

Loneliness, disconnect and isolation are common problems with work-from-home life, especially for extroverts. Take advantage of methods your company is offering you to stay in touch with colleagues. For example, they might have chat channels where remote employees can talk about common interests and virtual meetups for people in the same team.

It’s important to figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. Even if you’re highly introverted and don’t like socialising, give a few interactive experiences a try so that you’re familiar with them if you ever decide you want them. Remember, things can get misinterpreted if all communication is via email so pick up the phone or video chat when possible. 

5 Make the most of your breaks

Don’t short-change yourself during breaks, especially your lunch hour. If this is challenging for you there are apps available to lock yourself out of your computer for 60 minutes. Or you can just launch a simple clock or timer on the screen when you take a break. If you return to your desk after only 40 minutes, walk away for another 20. Use this time to socialise with your household, do something creative, get some exercise, take a walk or catch up with some friends/colleagues via video chat.

Taking breaks improves your productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance.