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Not too long ago, the idea of “going viral” meant you had a YouTube video that got famous (or infamous) and got a million views seemingly overnight. Unfortunately, seemingly overnight, that all changed. It seems pretty safe to say that by now if you haven’t read or heard the word “coronavirus” at least half-a-million times in the news, you must be living under a rock! Which, to be honest, if you are currently under a rock, you’re probably winning at this whole “social distancing” thing. The past few weeks have been filled with a whirlwind of frightening and anxiety-inducing news related to this new viral threat that is sweeping the globe. Some states are ordering citizens to shelter-in-place, local governments are scrambling to form plans-of-action to deal with the threat and preserve at least some modicum of keeping businesses running during this pandemic. Companies are reacting by sending as many workers as possible home from office settings to work from home.
If you’re already one of those people who have a job that allows working from home and you’ve already mastered the art, you know just how challenging it can be to stay focused and be productive in this setting. For those of us who have just recently been introduced to the concept, it’s a brave new world. It’s hard enough to make a transition like this in normal times. Add in the nerve-wrecking uncertainty of coronavirus, and it creates a bleak and stressful situation that even seasoned “work-from-home” veterans could use an escape from. Below are five ways to deal with the stress and loosen up a little during this unprecedented and tumultuous time.
You, like many people, probably have a dedicated workspace at your office. Your desk, your chair, your computer, your pictures, your reminders on Post-it notes stuck all over your space, everything, all of it, is about to go away for a while. One way to eliminate some of the stress of working from home is to choose a space and dedicate it to be your new workspace for the foreseeable future. Some of us are fortunate enough to have a home office or at least a desk at home which fits the bill. For those who do not, a kitchen or coffee table may be called up to serve this purpose. Whatever it is that you end up choosing, taking some time to organize your workspace and gathering up important items like pens, pads, post-its, laptop and phone chargers, etc. can alleviate the anxiety. Find a place that’s comfortable, consider an area that gets plenty of natural light and allows you to stay in place while plugging away at that project without straining your back (or your bum for that matter).
We all have our own set of routines when it comes to our working day. Some of us are early risers and find that getting into the office before anyone else gives the ability to crank out some uninterrupted morning productivity. If you’re not an early riser, that’s okay, but it is important to maintain something resembling a routine in order to keep stress to a minimum. Make yourself get up out of bed at the same time as normal. Take regular breaks and lunches at the same time you normally would. Keep distractions to a minimum by resisting the temptation to flip on the tv, surf social media or browse the pantry between emails.
Speaking of lunch, if you have a ready space outdoors to scarf down a sandwich at lunch, consider taking it outside. The benefits of fresh air and sunlight can do wonders for you. If you’re an apartment dweller without a space to throw a chair out in the yard, try finding a window with some good natural light and open it up next to you while you eat. Be creative and make the most out of what you have.
One of the hardest things about working from home can be going sedentary. Taking some time after completing a challenging spreadsheet to relax a little can reduce stress. Instead of using that scheduled break to stay put in your new home office space and flip through the internet or watch 15 minutes of Tiger King on Netflix, try looking up an online yoga class or a quick exercise routine. If you’ve got a smart TV, there are untold numbers of these videos on YouTube that can provide a much-needed respite from the stress of work and what’s going on in the world.
A new dynamic of working from home for many is the loneliness. Everyone loves a good pat on the back from time-to-time and a “Hey, good job!” from the boss or co-workers. That’s going to be happening less frequently if at all in your new home office. You’ve got to be the one to provide that crucial positive feedback. Make it part of your routine that when you accomplish something good, like completing a task or making a good connection with a customer over the phone or email, that you take a moment to acknowledge that. Maybe grab a notebook and keep track of the things you’ve done well. Set goals for yourself, and when you accomplish one, grab that favorite bite of chocolate or snack as a little “Atta-boy” or “Atta-girl”. It goes a long way towards keeping you positive and conditioning yourself to stay motivated!
Whether you are an employee or a business owner, the end goal is to better your work environment no matter where you are. Whether at work or home, there are always ways to better your business.