I don’t have to tell you how crazy this coronavirus is right now, you watch the news, you have social media, you have heard all about it.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak now a pandemic. What does that mean?
A pandemic is defined as the “worldwide spread” of a new disease. Whereas, an outbreak is the occurrence of disease cases in excess of what’s normally expected and an epidemic is more than a normal number cases of an illness, specific health-related behaviour or other health-related events in a community or region, according to the World Health Organization.
“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time,”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.
Let me break down some important numbers for you:
# of reported cases 124,518
# of reported deaths 4,607
# of countries, area, or territories with reported cases 110
See more details from WHO HERE
With Italy under lockdown, The United States halting all flights to almost all of Europe, The NBA suspending all basketball games due to a reported case of a player contracting the virus, and infamous actor Tom Hanks and his wife contracting the disease, the world is in a frenzy.
Now I’m not saying this to scare you. I’m simply proving you with information so you can stay safe.
Speaking of staying safe, many organizations around the world, especially in North America, have implanted a work-from-home policy for some of their employees that are able to do so. To keep their work environments safe from the disease organizations are allowing some of their employees to work from home and stay out of the office.
This may be a new experience for you. So in order to help you stay safe while working from home and still ensure you are productive, let me give you some tips.
1. Make sure you have the proper equipment, systems accesses and passwords before working from home. I know sounds simple right? Sometimes in the midst of everything going on you may forget your laptop, company phone, or other hardware at the office. Or maybe you haven’t gotten the access that allows you to work from home. Or it’s possible you don’t have or remember the passwords to login to systems externally from home. Make sure you connect with all of the IT, Human Resources, and other professionals that you need to connect with to get the equipment and access you need to work effectively from home.
2. Set ground rules with others in your home. This will most likely get overlooked, but it’s important for you to be productive and efficient in your work. Make sure that you are clear with everyone in your house, your partner, your kids, roommates, other family members, your dog or cat, that you are WORKING. Let them know that you are not a vacation or sick leave, you are on the clock and they need to respect your workspace, time, and work hours! This doesn’t mean you are available for people to stop by for coffee, or service people to come to fix things or any other distractions. If you have children (that are older of course) let them know that you are working and you need to stay focused and that you are working until a certain time.
3. Set up a quiet workspace in your home. This is important. Having been a full-time entrepreneur for more than 7 years now, I know how important it is to have a dedicated workspace in your home. You cannot sit in front of the TV and work, or work in your noisy dining room, you need to find a quiet space that is set up for the equipment that allows you to work comfortably with minimal distractions. If you have your kids at home with you try to separate yourself from your kids if possible so you can get work done.
4. Wake up every day at the same time you usually wake up to go to the office. I know what you’re thinking… “Danny, you are crazy, I’m going to sleep in a little longer” my advice…Don’t do it! As tempting as it may be, it’s important to keep the same routine for a few reasons. The first is you don’t know how long your company will allow you to work from home. If you start waking up later for a week or two or three then you have to go back to work, it may be difficult to get back into your normal routine. The second reason to wake up at the same time is this is a gift for you. If you wake up at the same time and don’t have to commute into the office this is now time for YOU to ease into your day and start your day in a more mindful way. Use this time to seek clarity in your life, meditate, exercise, read, focus on you. This is probably something you don’t have time to do when you have to wake up every day and rush to get ready to go to the office.
5. Get yourself ready to work. When I use to work in the corporate world and I was able to work from home some days, I use to roll out of bed later and log into the external systems while still in my pyjamas, while sitting in front of the TV. I would literally only throw on a button-up shirt and stay in my shorts if I had video calls. I quickly learned that this was the WRONG thing to do. Why? Because I wasn’t as productive and I wasn’t as professional. Once I woke up and prepared myself as if I was going into the office, my work ethic, productivity, and mindset shifted and I was able to get more done because I was more focused and in a professional state of mind. You need to wake up, shower, eat breakfast, put on makeup, or do whatever you normally do to prepare to go to the office because it signals to your brain, “let’s get ready to work”.
6. Maintain regular work hours. When you are in the office, you have regular work hours, the same should be true for working from home. Make sure you set specific work times with your manager and the rest of your team so you are all clear on your expected work hours and try to stick to those hours as much as possible. That being said, working remotely there may be some flexibility to start earlier or later to accommodate clients in other timezones or appointments that you may have scheduled.
7. Schedule breaks! Know your company policy about breaks and lunch and make sure you take those scheduled breaks. Sometimes you can get so caught up in working in your new environment time can fly by and you don’t realize that you didn’t take any breaks or eat lunch. Schedule them in your Smartphone and take them. It’s important for you to break up your day, it will help you with focus, working in isolation, and productivity.
8. Socialize with colleagues. Working from home can be very lonely at times. You can feel disconnected and isolated from others, especially if you are an extravert like me. Connect with your colleagues through internal channels if your company has them. Maybe you have internal messenger systems or chat boards, if not, then go old school and use video chat software or even go old school and yup…I’m saying it… Make a phone call! It is important to have social contact with colleagues because it helps you feel connected but also keeps you informed of things you may need to know.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just because you are working remotely doesn’t mean that you are alone. Just like if you were working in your office or corporate environment and you needed help you would contact someone that could help, its the same working form home. If you need to reach out to your manager, teammates, IT professionals or anyone else, then make sure you do. Be sure to have the contact information for those that you have regular contact with and especially make sure you have contact information for your Help Desk or IT professionals in case you run into technical issues.
10. Use this opportunity to set up your future. Sometimes in adversity, we can find amazing opportunities. If this is your first time working remotely or not, use this as an opportunity to explore the possibility of working from home more permanently if you enjoy the experience. This could come in a number of ways. As many organizations are attempting to save costs, they are increasingly allowing more of their employees to work remotely and reducing office space. If your company is one of these companies, maybe there is an opportunity for you to work from home either more frequently like 2–3 days per week, or even permanently. If it’s not a possibility with your organization, check out other organizations that may allow you to work from home. Another option is to do what I did, start your own online or home-based business. I have location freedom, meaning I can work from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection, serve clients, and make a greater impact by teaching others how they can do the same.
Regardless of if this is your first time working remotely or not, these are some things to consider to increase productivity, help with isolation, and keep you connected to what’s going on at your workplace. Even if you are not working from home right now, it’s quite possible that you may be in the future based on the way the world of work is changing and because of the increase in pandemics and global viruses.
In fact, Bill Gates gave a Ted Talk in 2014 called,
The Next Outbreak? We’re Not Ready where he stated,
“If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes.”
This is likely why many organizations will start implementing remote work strategies and many individuals will start online or home-based businesses in the next few years.
If you are ready to do something you are passionate about, make a greater impact and make a profit doing what you love operating an online business, check out my free course Profitable Passionate Idea to help you start thinking about it.
Danny Stone is an Entrepreneur, Business and Life Coach, Speaker, Teacher and Author of two best-selling books, Knew Me and You Have the Keys, Now Drive For more than 10 years he has been helping people get clear about what they really want, develop a plan to make it happen, and take massive action. He is the Founder of the new coaching program, Passion Impact Profit Premium Coaching Program which helps individuals turn their passion into profit and make a greater impact in the world.
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