In just a few weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has thrown the country into a bit of a tailspin, but in true South African fashion, we’ve come together to do as much as possible to curb the spread of this highly infectious virus. One such measure is, of course, the 21 -day lockdown – an essential step to contain COVID-19 as much as possible. But this unprecedented move is disrupting companies and workflows across the country, with some places of work shutting down entirely and others making remote working plans. And if you are someone who suddenly has to turn their abode into an office, you may be looking for some tips on how to be productive during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Yes, now is the time to adapt, get focused and settle into a new normal for the next few weeks (and beyond, should the situation get any worse). Thankfully, you already have your first resource – this feature and the tips and advice it contains!

Tips On How To Be Productive During The COVID-19 Lockdown:
1. Pick the right spot for your “office”

To set yourself up for working-from-home success, you need to make sure you have a solid foundation in place. This means picking the right spot in your house to set up your desk and tools. It’s important to find a place that feels separate from the usual comforts of home (your bed and couch, for example) because you have to psychologically associate this specific space with work and being productive, not Netflix and snacks.

2. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

If you don’t live alone, you will have the added challenge of trying to get work done with children, relatives or partners in the house. This means that you need to clearly communicate that you are not on holiday and that you have a to-do list to get through. It’s also wise to let them know you are not ignoring them on purpose and that there will be time to spend quality time together.

3. Make sure it’s business as usual.

While the lockdown is a significant disruption in day-to-day activities, try your best to maintain as much of your routine as possible. For example, set your alarm, get up and get ready for work as you usually would and head to your home office (at least you don’t have to deal with traffic!). From there, create your to-do list and complete your task as you usually would.

4. Stay connected (online and “in person”)

While you obviously won’t be able to interact with your colleagues in person, you still have to maintain some sort of connection and presence. Thankfully, various technologies and platforms facilitate this, and you can have meetings, make plans and assign tasks with some “personal touch”. Not having this in place might make your duties seem more challenging to carry out and increase levels of anxiety associated with isolation.

5. Still maintain the work/life/health balance

Just because you are working from the comfort of your own home doesn’t mean you should take regular breaks (think of it as lunch or tea breaks). If working from home is new to you, you might think you are expected to be in front of your PC throughout the day, but burnout isn’t going to help anyone.  Of course, make sure your deadlines are met, but take some time out for a snack or home workout. This way you will also get to spend some time with those in your household, reassuring them that you are there for them, too.

6. Give yourself a break!

Again, if this is unfamiliar territory for you (and your company), don’t beat yourself for not perfecting working from home immediately. There will be some processes to fine-tune and some obstacles to overcome, so be sure to communicate all issues or frustrations with your employer.

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