Don’t Panic! But anyway, how do you work from home during a health scare?

Your health (and everyone around you) should always be taken seriously. But this advice is certainly not medical, this is for people who are indirectly affected and either choose to, or are told, to work from home.

Google has just announced that all of its North American staff need to work from home until April 10th 2020. That’s a big move.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and for the protection of Alphabet and the broader community, we now recommend the you work from home if your role allows” – Chris Rackow

This is likely not to happen to you, but on the off chance it does – are you prepared to work from home?

Is it essential to work from home?

Probably not. But there are a growing number of businesses in Australia and certainly around the world who are advising to do just that. So, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

If you are a small business owner or sole trader, you are in charge here so act with a level head and if you’re at a genuine risk of infection (which is rare) think about isolation. But how do you work from home?

Home office technology

Do you have what you need to work from home? For some roles this will be rather easy – for others, not so much.

You will need:

  • A laptop
  • A phone
  • Internet access
  • Business software
  • A webcam
  • File access

Not only will you need to make sure you have the requisite tools to perform your job, you will also need a workflow and calendar setup in advance to keep you on task. Make sure to decide on which messaging platforms you’ll be communicating through and which apps need to be downloaded and setup. You will also need to think about Skype meetings and how you’ll access your files (make sure you have a cloud folder as opposed to local files that are wed to a certain device).

Quarantine yourself… from distractions

Not just from germs, (although that’s pretty useful in this context) but from distractions – the disease of the workday.

The best way to do this without going insane is to block out your hours and breaks. You will, of course, need to refresh, feed yourself and get some fresh air at some stage.

What we mean here is insulation from distraction:

  • Leave the TV off – Netflix is your enemy when trying to work from home
  • Only have one browser tab open at a time on your computer
  • Silence your social notifications or turn personal devices off
  • Inform your friends and family that you’re at work and not off work

Get out of the house

A mixed message perhaps. Didn’t we just tell you to quarantine? Yes, but balance is key. We aren’t robots. If you’re not infected, of course…

Once you have conscientiously worked uninterrupted all morning, block out your lunch time and get the heck out of the house! You will go mad if you don’t.

Get out and go for a walk, take your lunch to the park, go out to eat at a local cafe, have a swim, go surfing, or do a few quick errands. This is subject to your personal circumstances and health concerns – only you and your doctor will know.

The point is to leave the work-space, refuel and preferably get some light exercise in. Hitting the reset button is key to all-day productivity.

Now all you have to do is get back in the zone, pump out your afternoon session as efficiently as you can and you’re free for the day to indulge in all the distractions you desire.

Set up a dedicated home office

You need dedicated space free from distractions.

If you don’t have a spare room to make into an office, make sure to set up a specific workspace at the very least. Even a sunny corner near a window with a simple small desk, a good chair and your laptop can do it.

The point is you should not be doing work in a shared space.

Not only should you associate work and the mindset of being ‘in the zone‘ with a particular space to promote the right mindset, you also shouldn’t have to pack it up or have competing associations within your work space.