With the World Health Organization officially declaring the Coronavirus a pandemic, companies around the globe are forced to take their businesses to their homes. The threat is undeniably alarming, which is why it is important to follow protocols for home quarantine to flatten the curve.
Remote workers won’t find this inconvenient, especially since they are used to isolation. Perhaps, even when their boss tells them that they had been surviving on a diet of seltzer water and crackers, a freelancer would still answer:
“Okay, but you remembered to process my invoice, right?”
It’s true—remote workers are somehow like a mutated form of employees. It’s as if they have been training for home quarantine for years!
Now, if working from home is a new experience for you, you may become overwhelmed. Let’s say you have kids. School’s cancelled, so they will be in the house while you deal with your tyrannical boss. Get ready because layers upon layers of stress will start to blanket you. Once everything goes back to ‘normal’ you may want to hug your children’s teachers and give them expensive gifts.
You may wonder, “Does the Coronavirus quarantine affect remote work?” Well, it does—on so many levels. However, with the right preparation, tools, and practices in place, you may find yourself powering through this crisis. No need to panic because we will teach you how to work while being quarantined. With these tips, you should do just fine at home. Who knows…you may discover that you like the experience!
Having the Right Arsenal for Hunkering Down
Having the right items at home can help you succeed in working from home. And we’re sorry but toilet paper isn’t worth jack sh*t in this scenario. Hoarding it won’t contribute to your productivity. Kidding aside, here are some of the items you need to have:
The Complete Line of Remote Work Gadgets
Of course, you should have a laptop or a desktop computer at home. If you’re used to working on an external keyboard, make sure you bring that home with you. Ensure that you have everything you need to make working from home a little easier. Now, if you do not have a laptop at home and you’ll stay in quarantine for weeks or months, your supervisor will likely allow you to take your PC home.
The Applications that Make Remote Work Efficient
Another thing to remember is that your makeshift home office is a lot different from your regular work environment. Gone are the days where a collaborative meeting takes a few steps away from your desk. You need the proper tools to ensure that communication is seamless within your team. It is worth noting that once you become a remote worker, you will rely heavily on apps like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype, GoToMeeting, or Zoom.
Another thing you need to remember is that at home, there are tons of distractions. The couch can be tempting, especially on gloomy, rainy days when you want to take afternoon naps. You’re a few steps away from the refrigerator and you’re practically sitting in front of the TV with Netflix just waiting for you. So, to help you focus on work, you’ll need to keep track of the hours you’re working. In this case, you must install a task monitoring app and time tracking software like Traqq.
Traqq can help you measure and analyze your activity levels, allowing you to gauge your performance while you’re working from home. This is also the reason why this tool is quite useful for managers who handling a team of employees scattered everywhere. Traqq provides detailed reports and timesheets that make payroll processing a lot easier with activity levels and screenshots. What’s more, it allows you to see which websites and apps an employee is using. So, you know who are truly working and who are ‘expressing’ their thoughts on Twitter.
Having the Right Work-From-Home Habits
You live in your house, but working in it for the next few days or weeks is a different ballpark. You may think you’ve got everything under control, but you will quickly realize that while you’re in a familiar place, you’re treading on a strange land.
You may ask, “Can you lose your job if you are quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic?” Well, yes—if you don’t get your work done. So, here are some habit-forming hacks we recommend to help you power through your tasks:
Follow a Daily Routine
As we’ve mentioned, there are plenty of distractions around your home that will keep you from getting work done. What’s more, if you’re an extrovert, you may feel restless because your mouth is getting dry due to the lack of socialization. Well, it helps if you establish a routine and learn to stick to it. Just because you don’t have to drive to work, it doesn’t mean that you’ll sleep in and skip breakfast. Wake up at a set time every day and no matter how irresistible it is, get rid of your jammies and wear something more semi-professional. Have a routine for answering emails, eating lunch, making conference calls, and writing reports.
Try Working in Time Blocks
If you’re having trouble focusing on work—especially with all the crazy chaos happening around the world—you should try working in bursts of time. Are you feeling restless when you can’t check the news? Go ahead and do so every 30 minutes. However, make sure you only spend about five minutes in that activity. Once the time is up, work again for another 30 minutes. If you want to effectively manage your time, we recommend that you use a time tracking app like Traqq. In this way, you will know and control how much time you spend on every task. It will also help you determine if you have extra working hours to spare for the day.
Learn to Say ‘No’
When you’re working from home, it is easy to become overwhelmed with your domestic responsibilities. If you say ‘yes’ to every chore that comes your way and you accept every task, you may blur the line between ‘work’ and ‘life’. Give yourself time to process everything that’s on your plate and try to separate ‘home’ from ‘office’. In cases like this, it is always important to discuss and negotiate responsibilities with your family, partner, and co-workers.
How to Protect Your Mental Health During a Quarantine
No matter how many times scientists tell us that COVID-19 has a low mortality rate, we cannot help but lose our sh*t. Who wouldn’t be anxious when everything’s cancelled, stocks are plummeting, and there’s no toilet paper anywhere? It’s awfully scary how the virus is quickly spreading and claiming lives. Frankly, we couldn’t agree more with John Oliver’s statement:
“There’s only one infectious disease that two-thirds of the world should be getting right now, and that’s Adam Driver fever.”
Perhaps, what’s especially dreadful about this pandemic is the uncertainty that comes with it. No one seems to understand it completely and we do not know when a vaccine will come out.
One of the ways to hack your brain out of the anxiety cycle is to become aware of your thoughts. Be mindful of your behavior whenever you’re panicking. Evaluate how it is helping you survive or it is pulling you to a different direction. The key here is to become aware of how anxiety is punishing you. In this way, your brain will choose behaviors that bring rewards and make you feel better.
COVID-19 is a serious threat, and each of us must do our part by staying at home. It’s odd to think that the only way we can stick together is by keeping ourselves separated. Despite that, it is comforting to know that while we’re in isolation and working from home, we can still seek help and find strength from other people. After all, we’re all in this together.