AUTHOR:
Reynolds Careers

DATE:
October 6, 2020

CATEGORIES:
Company Culture,
On the Job

READING TIME:
4 minutes

FOLLOW US

How to Not Go #QuarantineCrazy, and Other Working-From-Home Survival Tips

AUTHOR:
Reynolds Careers

DATE:
October 6, 2020

CATEGORIES:
Company Culture,
On the Job

READING TIME:
4 minutes

This article was written by Connor W.

As someone who’s been working from home for over three years, I was one of the fortunate few who didn’t have to make many radical adjustments to my day-to-day routine when COVID-19 turned our world upside down back in March.

I started with Reynolds in November 2016 but went virtual in July the following year after a move to the D.C. area (life is an unpredictable adventure when you’re a military family). Since then, I’ve been able to continue growing professionally as a content writer, and I’ve learned a few things about what “works” when working from home – and what doesn’t.

I’m sure many of you have already figured some of these things out in the intervening months since the outbreak first happened (just five months ago, unbelievably), but I thought it might still be worthwhile to share some key takeaways from someone who’s been doing it for quite a while now!

So, here are my top five working-from-home survival tips:

  1. Keep treating your job like a 8 to 5.

When people who’ve never been in a remote work situation fantasize about how awesome it would be to be able to work away from the office, often the first thing they mention is how nice it must be to set your own flexible schedule and get household chores or other errands done throughout the day. I know because I was one of those people.

There is some truth to this. Working from home does allow for a bit more flexibility, especially if your job doesn’t require you to be glued to a screen for the entire day. But, this is also the exact wrong way to approach thinking about your work day.

Why? Because the more you allow the time you’re supposed to be working to be taken over by other things, the more you’ll find your actual productive work time disappearing. The truth is, there’s no shortage of stuff you could be doing throughout the day, even productive stuff. The list of random chores and tasks will never run out. But, what should the priority be? What, at the end of the day, is putting food on the table: getting another load of laundry done or your job?

Keep treating your job as priority number one during work hours, and make sure family and friends understand that you’re not automatically “available” just because you happen to be home.

  1. Take care of yourself and stick to your morning routine.

It’s easy to get lazy about everything from your personal well-being to your professional appearance when working from home. After all, if no one’s going to lay eyes on you, why not roll out of bed at 7:59 and log on in pajamas? (Parents, you’ll probably avoid this problem by default!)

But sticking to the same morning routine you would have if you were showing up to the office at 8:00 can be a powerful motivational exercise. It shows that you still take your job seriously and gets you physically and mentally ready to engage with the day’s work.

Not to mention, you know, it stops you from becoming too gross.

  1. Find your motivation – or create it.

What motivates you? Not being forced to sit in an office environment is going to make you ask this question more than ever before, because working from home often means self-motivating. It’s easy to get detached from the importance of your job without the external reminders of the building where you work and the people you work with.

Think of yourself as an entrepreneur: No one’s breathing down your neck to make sure you’re staying on task and getting things done. Sure, your colleagues can still bombard you with emails, but those are easily ignored, right? (Perhaps a little too easily!)

In a work-from-home setting, it’s up to you to decide what motivates you to continue putting in the effort day after day when no one’s actively forcing you to. For some, the simple necessity of money to pay bills and feed themselves or their family might be enough. Others may need to figure out ways their work can fulfill other needs (being creative, meeting goals, etc.) to stay motivated and engaged. You may even have to create some motivation out of thin air on the occasional down day, essentially playing a game with yourself to make sure the work gets done.

Whatever it takes, find what motivates you.

  1. Develop willpower and discipline.

Look, no one likes hearing about the importance of willpower and discipline in achieving goals. People feel attacked, or like they’re not living up to some impossible standard, or they get defensive. After all, we are literally wired to not put in any more effort than is absolutely necessary to survive!

But there’s just no getting around the fact that willpower and self-discipline play a critical role in how you fare in a work-from-home setting. Just as it’s up to you to find what motivates you, it’s also up to you to make yourself stay on task, stay organized, and continue to produce quality work.

Sadly, there are no shortcuts to attaining willpower and self-discipline. Like any muscle, they’re developed through repeated use. There are tricks to building them, though:

  • Remove distractions and time-wasters from your vicinity when it’s time to work (yes, put the phone away).
  • Practice other activities that help build willpower and self-discipline (exercise is a great one).
  • Reward yourself (in moderation) when you do manage to stick to it and meet a goal.
  1. Maintain social connections.

Working from home can be an extremely isolating experience, especially if you’re alone in the house for the majority of the day. As a result, it’s easy to get detached not only from the company you work for and the work you’re doing, but also the people you work with.

Detached associates are only a few steps away from being burnt-out associates and, eventually, former associates. It’s important to put in the extra effort to maintain a sense of social connection and camaraderie with your colleagues.

That might be outside of your comfort zone ─ especially if you’re digitally interacting with people you rarely, if ever, see in person. But, putting in the effort is worthwhile. Reach out!

Obviously all of these tips won’t apply perfectly to everyone’s situation or personality type, and that’s OK. Adapt and tweak as needed. Make them work for you. I stand by these survival tips as they’ve helped me work from home successfully for years.

If you can do that, maybe – just maybe – we’ll all pull through this unforgettable year without going #quarantinecrazy.


Share this Article

Reynolds Careers

Guest posts from around the company.