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March 13, 2020

Tips for working from home and setting up your new remote office

As companies move employees to remote work, there's big personal adjustments to learn for the workday.

Work Coronavirus
Working from home tips Press Association/SIPA

From following a routine to eating healthy on the job, there are many tips you can follow for making your new working-from-home lifestyle productive and mentally and physically healthy.

As the preventative measures against the spread of coronavirus prompt companies to switch to remote work, employees are looking for ways to adjust to working from home.

From cleaning your electronics to creating an organized work space, there are many hacks for maintaining mental health and productivity in your home office. Physical health, as well, is important to pay attention to for boosting your immune system and avoiding illness.

Get Dressed

Productivity takes a hit when you work all day in your pajamas. While working from home can provide added comfort, it's important not to get so comfortable that it's hard to maintain focus. It's not necessary to put on a suit, but it helps to stay in the work mind-set by at least taking a shower and putting on some pants, even if you're not going to be having a Zoom meeting that day. 

Create a Work Space

You do not need a separate office. Simply dedicate an area of your home to working that helps you enter a mental workspace. That means, you probably shouldn't work from bed or lounging on your couch. Try sitting at the kitchen table or set up a small desk in a corner of the living room.

Clean your Electronic Devices

Experts recommend cleaning objects that you touch often to prevent the risk of contracting coronavirus to yourself and others, such as phones and computers. But putting hand sanitizer and disinfecting sprays on your Mac is not the way to do it. 

Instead, there are several ways to clean and disinfect electronics that don't lead to water damage. You can buy cans of compressed air to blow out dust in hard-to-reach, tiny places and use disinfectant wipes on keyboards or make a cleaning solution and apply to cotton swabs and micro-fiber cloths, then your device. Just always remember to turn everything off first.

Learn Online-Meeting Etiquette

For those using Zoom and other online calling services in the coming weeks to have meetings and attend classes, there are big adjustments to be made for using this kind of video chat professionally. Make sure you are in a quiet environment, use the mute button when you aren't speaking and make sure you have a good internet single when video-chatting. 

Follow a Routine (that includes breaks)

When possible, it's best to follow your typical work schedule. Keeping to regular hours will allow you to stay on the same page as your co-workers and also feel a little more normal. Your routine should also make time for breaks that include getting away from your computer. Not commuting to an office can make the day feel easier, but you should still divide up the day somehow. Get up, stretch your legs and look at things that are not a screen periodically throughout the day.

Socialize and Communicate 

It's important to check in with fellow members of your staff about work, both in communicating work-matters and socializing. During breaks, speaking with friends and family on the phone can be a good way to relax and check in with loved ones during a strange time. Also, social media – without becoming a distraction – can now be used to combat "social distancing."

Maintain Physical Health

Don't be temped by the treats you now have all-day access to in your kitchen. Eating poorly at home can increase fatigue and poor physical health during the workday. It's also important to maintain physical health to bolster your immune system. Eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water and do some form of exercise.

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