I have been an advocate for working from home ever since my first post-pharmacy school job as a retail pharmacist in which I was required to drive two hours in a heavy snowstorm to work in a pharmacy for one hour before the roof caved in and we were all sent home. Fortunately, since then I have worked for companies that were flexible with employees who needed to work from home. My mentality and most of my managers’ guidance has been that if you can remain productive and complete your work, where you are working makes little difference. Granted, that isn’t always a possibility with some jobs but the ability to work from home has never been more relevant than now.
With the coronavirus and infection control on the top of everyone’s minds, businesses are taking precautions to keep their employees safe while also figuring out how to continue to offer goods and services to their customers. More employees are working from home because of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a statement that the United States should be prepared for a coronavirus outbreak – “It’s also likely that sustained person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including throughout communities in the United States. It’s likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur.”
Besides the obvious benefit of working in sweatpants and having access to unlimited snacks in your kitchen, working from home helps with infection control. With that in mind, how do you stay successful when your work environment is changing for the foreseeable future and Netflix is just a few steps away? Keep reading for some tips that have helped me stay focused while working remotely both as a Pharmacist and writer.
How to Remain Successful While Working From Home
♥ Have a designated workspace and avoid working from your bed or couch. Give yourself the quiet and separation you need to focus on work.
♥ Self-discipline is key when you’re working from home and it takes practice to refine this skill. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can understand what work conditions you need to be most productive. Pay attention if certain distractions (such as social media) are getting in your way and take steps to avoid them.
♥ Set up your day as though you were in the office. Focus during business hours and save laundry, a barre class, and scrolling through Instagram for your lunch break.
♥ Put your blinders on. When I’m with my family, I’m 100% focused on them. When I’m in my home office working, i’m focused on work and rely on our caregiver to take care of the kids.
♥ Turn off notifications on your phone to minimize distractions. This makes a huge difference in how productive I am.
♥ Have the right equipment to minimize interruption in your day. Before starting to work from home, check that your wireless internet, phone, monitor and printer are working ahead of time. Also, I speak from personal experience when I say, don’t forget your laptop charger at work.
♥ If your kids are home, have a conversation about work time versus family time so they know when it’s time to play and when you need time to focus on your job. I am so thankful to have had wonderful babysitters and nannies in the past that took care of my kids while I was working so I could remain dedicated to my work.
♥ Set breaks for yourself so you can recharge and connect with others. This of course depends on whether or not you’re in a quarantine situation but otherwise, use your best judgement. Even a phone call helps if you’ve been working at home all day.
♥ Look at your calendar and to-do list the night before so you can start the day with your first task instead of spending an hour organizing yourself in the morning.
♥ Be open to change. If you’re not accustomed to working from home, it’s very different from being in an office setting surrounded by co-workers. Embrace the circumstances and make the best of some commute-free quiet time.
There is still a lot we don’t know about coronavirus. I don’t think it’s wise to panic but it is important to be well-informed and frequently check primary sources such as the CDC and WHO rather than relying on second-hand news reporting that may have a slant or bias. It’s important we take precautions and do what we can to minimize the spread of the virus, especially for our most vulnerable populations. While you’re working from home, practice good hand-washing and as I tell my two-year-old, please sneeze into your elbow and not on me. 🙂