During these stressful times when office employees are working from home, schools closed, and all “non-essential” businesses and activities shuttered, it can be a struggle to juggle it all. For anyone new to teleworking, the struggle is only amplified. But, there are ways to work apart from your team and the office and still increase your productivity - both professionally and personally.
While working from home can positively impact work-life balance, it can also be difficult to maintain a clear delineation between work and home responsibilities. Below are some tips to balance your personal and professional productivity:
- Stick to Your Routine:
- Wake up at the same time you normally would if you were heading into the office. Take a shower, and get dressed! These are critical activities to make your brain believe you are getting ready for work.
- Use the extra time that you would have spent commuting to do a time-bound personal activity like throwing in a load of laundry, cleaning out the dishwasher OR even exercise. Pick an activity and do only what can be done in the time it would have taken you to drive to work.
- Create a Work Space:
- Find a quiet, private space in your home with little to no distractions. The kitchen table is generally NOT the ideal place to work as it can be a high traffic area with too much temptation, such as snacking, cooking and/or cleaning.
- Your bedroom is also NOT usually a good choice. It can be easy to let your workday take over your very existence. It’s also very tempting if you wake up in the middle of the night and think of something that needs to be done and get online instead of taking your needed time off.
- A home office is obviously ideal; however, you can also find a spot that is underused such as a spare bedroom or dining room. Any room can work as long as it is tidy, has good light and a strong WIFI connection. Keep in mind, if you are working with sensitive personal Information, you’ll need a room with a door and a lock.
- Make Lists:
- Keep track of your projects with lists and priorities. These “to do” lists help keep you on schedule, but also provide a sense of accomplishment.
- Create Boundaries:
- Create psychological boundaries by communicating to friends and family that when you are in your dedicated work space, you should not be interrupted. Avoid making meals or snacks for the household or helping with chores. You can certainly take some time to have lunch and connect during that time, as well as spend meaningful time together after your set work hours.
- Stay Connected:
- One of the most challenging parts of working from home is the potential to feel isolated. There are many ways to stay connected by having virtual coffee or jumping on a video conference call to check in with each other. You can also pick up the phone to connect with your colleagues.
- Take Care of Yourself:
- Taking time for yourself is the most important step of all. Get up every hour to stretch your legs, do some gentle yoga poses or take a brisk walk. Maintain a healthy diet by eating nutritious meals and avoiding a lot of snacks. Getting adequate sleep is also important.
Using these tips can help you stay productive professionally and personally. However, with these unprecedented times come both unexpected and elevated stress levels. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, RWJBarnabas Health One Source Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. The program provides assessment, counseling, and referral services for you and your family members to help care for your emotional wellbeing. To access your EAP benefit, call 1 (800) 300-0628. You can also find “http://www.onesourceeap.com/calm-collection.html” videos on our website. The EAP can assist in helping you or your family with some stress management tools.