COVID-19 Work From Home Survival Skills

Have you suddenly found yourself having to work from home?  Do you find it challenging to stay focused, manage your time, overcome distractions, and feel productive by the end of the day?  You’re in good company.  A study of remote workers in 15 countries found that 41% of mobile employees (those working from home) considered themselves “highly stressed” as compared to only 25% who worked on-site, and that was before the Coronavirus outbreak. So how do we overcome the challenges of working remotely?  Here are 5 critical tips to help you work from home effectively:

1 – Claim a Space:

Having a defined work area is a vital step in separating your home from business.  It not only helps create a sense of stability and focus, but also communicates to your family which “mode” you’re in.  Even if you prefer to work in multiple locations, having a defined space is a powerful tool.

2 – Set Clear Ground Rules:

Setting clear expectations for yourself is important, but discussing these with your family is absolutely critical.  Don’t expect people to know what you’re thinking.  Sit down and clarify your goals (i.e., what this situation should look like), critical ground rules, and most importantly, how to communicate if things aren’t going according to plan.  Consider using a visual signal, such as a ball cap or sign that communicates “do not disturb.”

3 – Develop a Work From Home Routine:

Lack of structure is one of the greatest challenges of working remotely. Try to create a framework that ensures a basic level of consistency.  Consider your start and end times, opportunities for regular communication or check-ins, and items that need to be done every day.

4 – Control Distractions: 

Time management is more important than ever when working from home.  Control your time and distractions by having clear goals and blocking your time.  If you’re still not getting things done, try breaking your blocks into smaller pieces, such as 20 minute tasks, or finding a back-up space that’s less distracting.

5 – Stay Connected:

Don’t fall victim to “Out of sight, out of mind.”  Take ownership of your communication and keep others well informed.  Ping your manager daily with progress updates.  Identify your “local network” and make a daily effort to stay connected.

This is an excerpt from “Coronavirus Work From Home Survival Skills,” a 90-minute live LTI webinar.  For more information on working and managing remote teams, visit