I wish I could tell you that this is still your traditional 9-5, but it’s not because you can’t have that without offices and there are no more offices. My friends, we are now part of the new reality which involves working from home. What was once a highly sought after perk has now become a cold reality of video meetings at cluttered kitchen tables, trying to answer e-mails from couches that are perfect for TV but terrible for writing, and even makeshift desks in walk-in closets, hoping to find some quiet time to work without interruption.
For obvious reasons, when the virus struck the first ones to go were those not quick enough on their feet, but as the infection spread and the chaos grew it wasn’t enough just to be fast on your feet. You needed structure to survive and that’s why while recently re-watching the original Zombieland, I realized a lot of the rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse carry through to successfully working from home during the current Covid-19 pandemic. So, without further ado here are the carryover rules that I have found to be the most useful.
- Swiss Army Knife –Always have a backup and be flexible! At this point, everyone is starting to adapt to changes, but remember to be flexible as the new work reality is adding additional hurdles that weren’t there before.
- The Double Tap – Don’t get stingy with your communication. Now, it is even more important to embrace effective communication strategies. In those moments that you’re waiting to hear back on an email, send a ping in your Teams or Slack or make a call.
- Cardio –Find a good way to stay active during the day. When working from home, it’s not hard to wake up, get a cup of coffee, sit down to do one quick thing at your makeshift workstation, and the next thing you know it’s 5 PM and your Fitbit is judging you for your 253 steps for the day. Your 6 AM trip to the gym on the way to the office is no longer possible, so it is important to find ways to stay active. Even if it’s just setting a goal of walking 30 minutes a day or setting an alarm to make sure you get up to do something every few hours, it’s important to make sure you stay active. Your body and your brain will thank you.
- It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint…Unless It’s A Sprint, Then Sprint! –Now that you’ve lost the water-cooler talk and other day-to-day office distractions, all that’s left is the work. That’s why time management is important, so even though you may be distracted with the occasional Netflix in the background or working on the online cooking class you’ve been taking, it is important to stay on top of what needs to be done. Joe Exotic will still be there when you’re done for the day.
- Avoid Strip Clubs –First, they are terrible places to be when communicable diseases are going around, and they are all currently closed by law so we may have to read a little deeper into this one. As I touched on earlier, working from home is all about having the right environment and that can vary from person to person as we all work differently. It is important to find a place with the right amount or lack of noise to keep you going throughout the day.
- When in Doubt Know Your Way Out / Keeping the Work-LifeBalance – When working from home, it’s easy to get lost in your work to the point that the lines between 9-5 may begin to blur. While your work hours will undoubtedly change from the norm, it is important to be able to shut it down for the day when the time comes and take some time for yourself. Don’t get me wrong, you’re going to save some time on a lot of the normal stuff; no more 45-60-minute commutes in traffic and no more spending time getting dressed in the mornings.
- A Little Sunscreen Never Hurt Anyone–Even though you’re home and not seeing anyone except from behind a crack in the blinds when you feel like doing some creeping, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. Given the current climate, you may go several days without seeing others, so it’s important to make sure you continue to take care of your mental health.
- The Buddy System –Now more than ever staying in touch with people is important, whether you just ping a coworker with some small talk or give a friend a quick call. It is easy to feel isolated when you are stuck at home, so while it may seem trivial, small talk can really help reduce this feeling and help you stay connected with the world.
- Enjoy the Little Things – While stuck at home it’s important to enjoy the little things, whether it’s trying a new recipe for lunch, or taking the time to start trying to meditate for 20 minutes a day, you may find a new interest or passion that can carry over beyond the present.
In closing stay safe, stay indoors, and remember in time this too shall pass.