First came COVID. Then came social distancing. Then came lockdown. Then came working from home (WFH). And now we have WFH… in the summer. Not exactly the stuff that summertime dreams are made of. On the bright side, it’s totally doable and not that different from what many of us have already been experiencing as we practice social distancing and follow WFH guidelines. Granted, summertime WFH has its own set of challenges, but it doesn’t require a sea change in your overall WFH approach. Just some minor adjustments here and there.
Nail your cybersecurity
Let’s not mince words; your cybersecurity is important and should have been made a priority yesterday. If you haven’t already done so, install antivirus software today to protect your computers and data against malware, viruses, and other malicious attacks. Contrary to what many assume, the pandemic has done nothing to stop or even dilute the number of cyber attacks launched every day. On the contrary, many cyber criminals have taken advantage of the pandemic to create corona-themed malware that preys on the global population’s fear of the disease. In fact, Google reported that they block 240 million Covid-19 related spam emails and 18 million malware and phishing emails each day. In addition, the increasing legions of people working, studying, and browsing online has dramatically expanded the attack surface that hackers can prey on and therefore significantly amplified the urgent need for antivirus software.
And while you’re nailing it
Nail your daily tasks early in the day, so they’re out of the way and off your mind. This will help you begin your day with better focus and less distraction. Dog walking, meal prep, household cleaning, or whatever your daily chores are, complete them early on, so they’re less likely to intrude into your thoughts and distract you during work hours. Even better, if you can delegate, do it. Delegate to the kids, your partner, other household members, and if it’s work related and possible, to business partners, employees, team members etc. Daydreaming about summertime activities is distracting enough without adding more distracting thoughts about what you still need to accomplish today.
Switch it up a little
Fortunately, successful WFH plans aren’t all about efficiency. Working from home during the summer can be fun too especially if you switch things up a little. For example, if you have a porch or covered area in your backyard, set up your office outside and work in the great outdoors. Splash on a little sunscreen, grab a bottle of water or a glass of ice coffee and start your workday. If that’s not an option, then give your office a summertime-inspired makeover; lighten things up with white paint, add fresh flowers or floral paintings, change your window treatments to something more billowy or flowing etc. In short, add any type of effect that invites a little summertime in.
Keep your cool
And let’s not forget about the temperature. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends office temperatures be kept between 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity at 30-60% for optimal comfort. Of course, not everyone has the same temperature preference, but the beauty of working from home is that you get to control your office temperature. No more battles with coworkers about it being too hot or too cold to work. Why is this important? Temperature affects mood, movement, and productivity and summer heat and humidity can be especially insufferable, so if you want to be productive, make your office comfortable.
It’s your job; treat it like one
While lounging around in your pajamas all day or working from your bed may be appealing, don’t succumb to the temptation. Get yourself up and dressed as if you were going to work and then go to your home office. Keep in mind also that it’s easy to feel isolated if you’re not regularly meeting with your coworkers and this can affect your productivity and other employees’ productivity, especially if you’re part of a team. The abundance of tech tools for staying connected while working apart from everyone is an easy solution to this problem and will not only help keep you from feeling isolated, but will also contribute to workflow and productivity. Finally, don’t let those extra hours of daylight trick you into working longer days. Boundaries between working at home and living at home are important to your sanity and functioning.
Own your work schedule
At the end of the day, there isn’t one right or wrong way of managing your summer work schedule. A night owl’s work hours may not work for early birds and taking long work breaks during the middle of the day to be with the kids may not work for someone who wants to finish by 5PM and enjoy an after work cocktail. What’s important is what works for you. Recognizing this, being flexible and noticing the times of day and conditions where you’re most productive will help you plan your day so that working from home is more enjoyable and more productive.