During these unprecedented times, many of us are being asked to work from home to help contain the spread of COVID-19 virus. The work-from-home situation can come with potential challenges, but let me ask you this: Do you hate Mondays? How many times have you woken up on a Monday morning hating the fact that the alarm rang at 6:30am, rushing to get ready, enduring a stressful commute, arriving late to the 9am meeting, working non-stop all day (not even a pause to have lunch), skipping from one meeting to another to end the day with more work than you started, to then endure heavy traffic at 5pm, finally to arrive home exhausted, dreading the giant pile of laundry patiently waiting for you? And breathe! If you compare this to the Monday morning you just had, where you woke up with the rising sun at 8am without an alarm, brewed your morning coffee, maybe enjoyed a 30 min work out & sat down at your laptop to begin the day in your PJs, no stressful commute to endure, half of the meetings cancelled and plenty of desk time to finally get to all the work that accumulated over the last couple of weeks, while your laundry running in the background! How does that feel?

I work in an office setting 9@5 and I have a lot of meetings I need to attend, and often I only get to sit down at my desk by 5pm to start answering e-mails. It’s exhausting! In the past few weeks, I got a new boss and she has been amazing with flex time, which allows me to work from home once a week. To be honest, I love working from home! There are less distractions and I can fully focus! I know these are difficult times, but lets try to see the positive in every situation and use this as an opportunity to re-invent the way we work!

If you’re struggling, here are 5 tips for making this newly discovered work-from-home situation work for you:

1- Stick to a routine: So you spent the first 3 days working in your PJs and you loved it! If you’re productive in PJs, keep it up, don’t need to force yourself to dress up! However, if after a couple of days you start feeling not quite like yourself, it may be time to resume some of the morning rituals that you were used to doing. It’s normal to miss your clothes, they’re a part of your identity! Start the day with a shower & get dresses in your work clothes. Maybe you won’t put on that power suit, but a nice pair of comfy pants and a blouse could do the trick! You can even do your hair and makeup if that will help you set yourself up to tackle the day! Last week, I worked in my PJs Mon-Wed, but by Thursday, I had to put on normal clothes! Taking a shower in the morning and putting on my regular clothes helped to focus my mind on the fact that I had work to do.

2- Create a work space: I’m lucky enough that our condo has two bedrooms, one of which we transformed into an office. If you don’t have an office at home, no worries! You can designate your kitchen or dinning room table as the office space, as long as the rest of your family respects your work time. It’s important to keep a tidy space, this will keep your mind at easy and help you focus. Make sure that you have enough space for your laptop and that you’re comfortable! I love “To do lists” as they keep me focused and help me prioritize. There is no better feeling than crossing off items on my list. I highly encourage you to start your day with a list to stay productive and not get distracted by that newly added must see Netflix show until you’re done for the day.

3- Take a break: If you want to be productive, you need to take breaks! Eat your lunch away from your work space! I like to take an hour to eat lunch with my husband and watch an episode of “How I met your mother” on Netflix. It breaks my day and relaxes my mind before I burry myself back in my files! I also find that taking a walk in the fresh air also clears my mind and when I come back to my desk, my mind is fresh and energized!

4- Keep the communication open with your team: The best way to fight the isolation blues is to connect with your team! It’s also important to let your team know that you’re in this together and that “Teamwork makes the dream work”! Daily check-ins are a great idea, as this gives your team an idea of what to prioritize and understand what everyone is working on!

5- Define clear boundaries: We all have to work late from time to time, but it shouldn’t be the norm. We should all find a work/life balance that works for us and it’s the same when we work from home. Unless you absolutely have to finish a project, set a time at which you will log off and close your computer at that time! Walk away from your home office and enjoy time with your family, cook dinner, read a book, workout or do whatever else makes you happy and whole. This will give your brain clarity & refresh your mind! I usually enjoy dinner with my hubby, then I read a book or write a blog post or workout (or pack a few boxes, since we’re moving in a week). Then I wind down for the day and head off to bed around 10pm to be rested for the next day!

Hope these tips were useful in making your new work from home life fun & productive! Stay positive & healthy!