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With the growing uncertainty around COVID-19 affecting just about everything from travel to the availability of toilet paper, many companies are recommending their employees work from home until further notice.

While there are many benefits to working from the comfort of your home (no commute, more sleep, no need for pants, more family time, etc.), there can be just as many cons. Mainly, it can be harder to focus on actually working. Whether it’s battling loneliness, fighting the urge to do a quick Netflix binge, or taking that afternoon nap you’ve been dreaming about, sometimes staying productive at home can require extra effort.

So, how can you stay focused and mentally healthy while working remotely? Here’s some tips from the Paytm team:

Location is everything

Create a dedicated workspace in your home. Avoid couches, and especially your bed! If you don’t already have an office/desk in your home, try using your kitchen counter or even creating a standing desk in your living room area. Dedicate a specific room or surface in your home to work, that you’ll associate with your job, and leave when you’re done for the day.

Make an effort to keep your workspace tidy and free of clutter. Plus, try to keep a glass of water beside you to encourage you to keep up with your daily water intake.

Here are some #WFHSetUps from the Paym team:

Act like you are going into work

The mental association you make between work and an office space can make you more productive, and there’s no reason to lose that feeling when you’re working from home.

When working from home, do all the things you’d do to prepare for an office role: Set your alarm, get out of bed (!!), make a coffee, shower and put on an outfit as if you were going into the office. If you don’t already have a solid morning routine, now is the time to create one. If you normally spend an hour commuting to work in the morning, why not use that time to do a home workout instead?

Another big change with WFH is that it’s unlikely that your average workday includes your pets, kids, family, spouse, etc. If children/caregivers/spouses/roommates will be home while you work, make sure to discuss the hours you’ll need space and privacy. Locked doors are sometimes necessary.

Make it difficult to waste time on social media

With all the potential distractions available when you’re working from home, social media can be the detriment of your productivity.

To reduce the ease of using social media on your phone during workdays, now is the best time to put daily time limits on your social apps. Check out this article for more info on how to cut back on social. While you’re at it, it may be worth logging out of your Netflix account and unplugging those game consoles during the workday too.

Social aside, with everything going on in the world currently, it can become very overwhelming. For your own mental health, try to limit the amount of time you spend consuming content through your devices. Use your time to focus on more productive and important things, and pick allocated slot times throughout the day where you can spend a few minutes catching up on the news and your socials.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Working remotely does not mean working alone! Now more than ever, it’s important to communicate with your teams using tools outside of face-to-face conversations. Without face-to-face interactions and the ability to quickly drop by someone’s desk, it’s easier and extremely beneficial to over-communicate with teammates, so you can avoid having anything fall through the cracks.

Whether you are using chat apps like Slack, and/or videoconferencing services like Zoom, it’s important to up the communication so everyone can be on the same page as you work remotely. Ensure you set out communication guidelines with your team so they know how to reach you.

Also, (hopefully, it goes without saying…) but just because you are WFH, doesn’t mean you can be late for meetings. Make sure to be on time – or even early – for all meeting calls/conferences. If for whatever reason you are unavailable during certain times in the workday, be sure to actively communicate that with your team. Here at Paytm, we’ve created multiple new Slack channels to stay in touch (like #WFH-Support), as well as implemented multi-video conferencing to help bridge the communication gap that comes from working from home.

Outside of #WFHLife, with everyone being home a lot more, you can use your time in the evenings to catch up with loved ones and long-distance friends via video calls. Be sure to check in your community and take care of each other.

Prep your lunches and beware of idle snacking

The work-from-home vortex very easily can turn into you realizing its 2:30pm and you still haven’t had lunch or that you’ve snacked so much all morning, you’re not hungry when it’s actually lunchtime. With everyone trying to keep leaving the house to a minimum, make sure when you’re grocery shopping you are buying healthy snacks and foods that allow you to make great meals (which also ideally freeze well too).

Fun idea? Share your lunches with your team! At Paytm, we’ve created a Slack channel called #lunchroom for our team to share pics of everything from their morning coffees to lunches and afternoon snacks…

Bonus points if there are pets in the pics!

Take breaks

Just like you would at the office when you take a walk with a coworker or go grab an afternoon coffee, don’t let the guilt of working from home prevent you from taking a break when needed. Rather than just opening YouTube or Netflix, try getting away from your workspace. Do a mini-workout, make yourself that nice lunch, or spend some time with your pets and loved ones who might also be in the house.

Have any other tips to share? Want to share your #WFHSetUp? Tweet us at @paytmcanada!

While working from home can be challenging, with all the time freed up from commuting and yes, unnecessary meetings, you’ll be surprised by just how productive you can be when you don’t spend the day in your PJ’s.

As a reminder, while we all try to do our part in social distancing, ensure you are actively washing your hands (for a full 20 seconds), wipe down your devices often, and visit The Official Website of the Government of Canada for more information on COVID-19. Stay safe, Paytm’ers 💙

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