For millennials and Gen-Zers, the COVID-19 pandemic is the most intense economic and social crisis we have faced in our lifetime. At first not everyone was taking it seriously (and some spring breakers in Florida still aren’t) but as things have gotten exponentially worse in such a short time, we are all faced with a new reality. And that reality looks a hell of lot like working from home for an undefined time period, if you are lucky enough to be able to do so.
Working from home for a couple days here or there is completely different from WFH indefinitely, which is sadly what the future holds right now. That fact in and of itself can be demotivating, so here are a few tips of how to stay motivated and productive when you’re stuck working from home.
Since you can’t go over to someone’s desk to talk to them like in the good old days, chances are you’re relying on a chat service like Slack to interact with your coworkers, or at a bare minimum, email. Think of all those little convos you have at work that aren’t necessarily meetings, but still are about projects you’re working on, like the quick unplanned touch base you and your work wife have as you make avocado toast in the office kitchen. Keep those convos alive—emails or Slack messages don’t all have to be super formal requests. Letting people know what you are working on and just providing status updates also helps motivate others because let’s be real, even in the office we can’t help but to think sometimes “WTF is that person even doing?” is they’re not Slacking you back immediately. But don’t just limit this to some people—keep your team and your manager informed.
Be Empathetic To Your Coworkers
If there was a time to be good f*cking coworker, this is it. Everyone deals with stress and anxiety differently, and this is a highly stressful time. There also tons of different work from home situations that make things even stressful, like parents who are now home with their children, someone who lives alone and is struggling, or those people who now find themselves trying to have a conference call at the same time as their S.O. Now more than ever, you don’t know what people are dealing with, so before you send that aggressive Slack, think for an extra second.
Encourage Non-Working Ways Of Staying Connected
If you’re lucky enough to consider (some of) your coworkers your friends, that means you just went from seeing them all day every day to literally not at all. In the time of WFH, not everything has to be strictly business—get a virtual happy hour going through programs like Airtime, Zoom, or House Party, because let’s be real, you’re all looking for an excuse to start drinking at 4:30pm anyway.
Conduct Business As Usual
Don’t operate under the assumption that projects or conversations can wait until you’re back at work, since we legit have no idea when that will be. You don’t want to be the one person slacking off only to realize your entire team is operating status quo. Stay on top of your sh*t, create and maintain deadlines, and keep projects flowing. Despite this being a beyond hectic time, business as usual must continue to keep operations carrying on as seamlessly as possible.
Create Structure Around Your Day
If you used to work out before work, keep it up. If you used to work out after work, don’t stop just because you’ve spent all day inside. We all know it’s a hell of lot less motivating working out in the same space you’re spending all of your time in, so encourage yourself by taking an at-home workout class. We put together a list of 16 fitness apps and studios that are offering their home workout services online for free—check them out here. You’re welcome.
Take A Damn Shower & Change Out Of Your Pajamas
We’re not saying to take this as far as wearing jeans, but take a shower and put on some real clothes (and by real clothes we mean leggings and maybe a bra). We’ll take whatever hack we can to stay focused and feel like a real person during this extended WFH period and we guarantee the better you feel, the better you’re going to do at your job.
Images: Sincerely Media / Unsplash; @betches (2), @fatcarriebradshaw, @sarafcarter / Instagram