By Veronica Logan

Finding yourself working from home will be strange for most South Africans, as will the many unique challenges it brings along with it

It goes without saying that COVID-19 has changed the way most of us do, and even, consider everyday life. With all but some businesses shut down at the moment, most of us are faced with the very foreign reality of not having to go into work anymore but rather, staying in.

While this might sound easy enough, it can be very tricky to work from home especially if you’re not used to doing so. So what challenges can you expect and how can these be successfully overcome?

Here are some ways we think will help keep you sane and productive during lockdown:

Keep things normal

Believe it or not, your morning routine and commute often help to kick start your body and mind and get you into the zone before you even hit your desk to begin your work day.

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Without this routine, some can find it very difficult to hop from pillow to PC, so we recommend waking up at your normal time and going about your morning business as if you were going to work. For some, this could even mean getting out of those PJ’s and into something a little more “professional” to further help shake that early morning, sluggish feeling.

We also recommend setting up and working in a designated work area within your home to keep business and pleasure as physically and mentally separate in proximity as possible.

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Communicate your boundaries

Boundaries in any context are incredibly important and in this instance, can make or break a working from home scenario or at the very least, productivity levels. Be sure to communicate to anyone who is in lockdown with you that you are going into work mode and if possible, should be treated as if you weren’t there. In other words, distinguish between work and play time. If you have children that need distracting while you work, here are some fun DIY ideas to keep them entertained.

Schedule regular breaks

Some might find that it’s much easier to get wrapped up in work without the usual office chatter and distractions of colleagues. That said, this could mean that you easily lose track of time and don’t remember to stop and take the time to get up, stretch and give your eyes and brain a break.

According to the experts, a short break of between five and 15 minutes should be taken every hour or so. If you prefer to put your head down for longer, aim to take a 30 minute break after three hours or so.

Similarly, keeping up with regular exercise and sleep will help both strengthen both your body and mind so take the time to schedule in some exercise and/or active time to get the blood pumping and be sure to stick to a reasonable bed time schedule to ensure maximum rest.

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Make getting onto social media tricky

I know we’d all like to believe that we would be able to go an hour without checking our phones for Facebook, Insta or WhatsApp notifications but we all know very few among us would be able to go the distance!

Not to worry though – there are ways to curb your social media use while no one is around to bust you! Because social media by nature is instant and easy to access, the solution to avoiding this distraction during “working hours” is to make it as onerous as possible to access it – the easiest way to do this is by simply logging out of every one of your accounts (unless you need them for work purposes).

You can even work in a new browser so as to avoid all your bookmarks and autocomplete searches if you want to take this one to heart.

Pick a shut down time

Similar to the notion of scheduling regular breaks for yourself, we recommend that you pick a “home time” and stick to it! Without the hustle and bustle of your colleagues leaving the office, you might not notice the time and end up working later than is kind or healthy. Having a cut off time or a goal to work to if you’d prefer can really help to boost productivity and motivation levels so be sure to give yourself an idea of when to wrap things up and call it quits for the day.

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There is so much about the future we aren’t sure of

No one knows how long this lockdown will last or when some of us will finally be able to return to the comfort of our desks as well as what we consider to be normal life. Regardless of these musings, nothing is certain and it’s therefore imperative that we learn to evolve, adapt and embrace new things, like perhaps having to work alone for the first time.

While it can be scary and strange to start off with, most things are and moving forward really is the only hope we can cling to. Stay safe folks.

This article was first published on www.privateproperty.co.za

Author: Private Property