In the current environment, many organisations have asked employees to work from home. I’m working from home right now as I write this. 

Your daily routine might be feeling a lot different right now. No morning commute or stopping past your favourite coffee shop for a double shot cap to start your day.

If working from home is becoming a bit of a challenge for you right now, then I’m here to help! Here are some tips to help you stay sane, productive, and healthy as you adjust to the new normal.

Treat it like a normal work day  

Stay in your normal routine and treat it like you’re still going to work. It might sound simple enough, but for those of us who are first-timers out there, it’s an important thing to remember.

Sure, there are some benefits like having a shorter commute from your bed to your desk, the dress code is a little more relaxed and no rush hour to deal with.

But, with that said, it’s important to stay motivated and continue in your usual routine while adjusting to your new environment.

Here some things I have been doing to stay sane and in my routine:  

  • going for a walk, but remember the social distancing rules
  • having a shower
  • getting dressed for work
  • having a dedicated workspace
  • keeping regular hours

So, stick to your routine!

Man sitting at his home computer with his dog sitting on his lap

Working virtually

Working virtually can sometimes be tricky. You don’t have the convenience to pop your head over the office partition and ask your team a question. But there are very cool online tools that can help you stay motivated, connected and accountable for the work you’re doing.

My team do a daily video conference check-in each morning. These virtual huddles allow our team to stay connected. It’s a good way for us to share what we worked on the previous day, what we are working on achieving for the day ahead and bring up and issues or concerns to address. 

There are a bunch of video conferencing tools like Skype and Zoom that you’re probably familiar with. But just remember to make sure you have your IT security boxes checked. Stay Smart Online has information about some of the risks involved.

We also use a task management tool. This tool allows our team to map out our day and provide transparency to the whole team on what everyone is working on. There are a lot of these tools in the market, and most offer a free version that can have your team up and running in no time at all. 

Helpful virtual meetings etiquette to remember:

  • Make sure you’re in a quiet room so you can hear your team.
  • Make sure you’re fully dressed. We can see everything, and I mean everything.
  • A virtual meeting is not a time for bathroom breaks. If you need to use the loo, don’t take your laptop with you. No one wants to see that.
  • Have a good internet connection, it’s annoying when someone gets disconnect mid-conversation.
  • Come prepared, it’s like a normal meeting
laptop screen split into four windows team meeting happening through zoom

Staying safe at home

Staying fit and healthy while working from home is also important. Some of us don’t have the luxury of having access to a good set up in our homes like we do in the office.

In Australia, the WHS laws still apply even if you’re working from home and checks need to be done before you start working from home.

Most employers will have a policy about this that outlines your safety requirements if you’re working from home. Check with your employer and see what they can offer you.

Working from home policies usually include:

  • Ability to access work equipment
  • Appropriate ventilation
  • Workstation set up
  • Good lighting in your home
  • Working fire alarms

Make sure you check with your workplace about the WHS policy and assessment check if you’re able to work from home.

Home desk set up with cat sitting on desk

Not everyone can work from home  

Not everyone has the opportunity to work from home. While I am working from home (and I am truly grateful that I can), not everyone in my organisation can because of the requirements of their jobs. Then, some of us work in industries that have had to close down completely.

It’s a hard, stressful and very uncertain time for a lot of people. It’s important to know your rights at work during the coronavirus outbreak. There are a lot of government programs that have been announced to help both employers and employees keep working, either at home of at the place of business.

As of 1 April 2020, the Fair Work Ombudsman outlined new pandemic leave arrangements. It gives employees more flexibly with their leave if they needed to use it.

The Australian Government has also announced the new JobKeeper wage subsidy . It’s to help businesses keep their employees in jobs and earning an income through COVID-19 upheaval.

It’s important that employers and employees work together to find a solution that suits both their needs and their workplace. So, talk about your options like:

  • flexible working arrangements
  • changing rostering and patterns at work
  • accessing different types of leave

If you have lost your job due to the affected of coronavirus outbreak. You may be eligible for other government support programs like Centrelink support payments.

Final thought

It can be overwhelming and challenging to adjust to the new normal of working from home or whatever you might be facing right now. There are support programs available if you need help.

And remember to, wash, wash, wash your HANDS! It protects you and everyone around you.

Oh, and please STOP buying all the toilet paper. I’m down to my last roll!

elaine from seinfeld stealing toilet paper