How to structure a working day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from home

Even if it seems to you that problems do not arise and you have not even heard anyone in your environment refer to this, since the change involved in working from your intimate environment, of course it is important.

For people who, for example, are well positioned in their work and have family obligations, as a result of Covid-19 they have had to juggle to coordinate their daily operational responsibilities of their function with family life.

But in addition to this, there are many who at the same time are undertaking tertiary or postgraduate studies.

Therefore, the day to day of these people becomes complicated. All of this in the same physical location, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Changing your schedule, particularly when you’re used to going to the office, can also create self-inflicted pressure to keep performing at full throttle.

Does this sound too familiar to you?

Of course yes, because you are not alone in this fight. Thousands of people trying to overcome this feeling it must begin with the recognition that it may take time to determine a new schedule that works for each person, not in reverse.

For inspiration, here’s how you can structure your days to make the transition a little smoother.

Working flexibly is the key

And this begins with modifying all the time intervals in which any day is distributed, but especially adapting them to the personal realities of each person, because it is in the family, there are children, schools and other obligations. Therefore, the new routine has to fit without neglecting the primary obligations of the family, at the same time as not altering the reasonable minimum performance that your activity should have in your work.

A feasible agenda

Modify the following time intervals to suit your new routine.

7 a.m .: Set the tone for your day. Get up, get dressed and get organized! Obviously the routine is going to be different than going to the office, but try to start the day off right, whether it includes a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast or about twenty minutes of brisk walking (if you prefer jogging) than it will energize you for the rest of the day.

It’s always a good time to set goals for the day, even if you only have a few. Some coaches emphasize the importance of making a list of things that need to be done and even rescheduling some that could fit into another day of the week. This has to do with the achievements that you expect based on the objectives of the company and yours.

To inspire you

A manager of the new generation of young professionals who has ten years of experience in a service company told me about the routine changes that the pandemic has imposed that: “I am a creature of habit and have had the same routine for years. I wake up, make some toast and have a cup of coffee before sitting in front of the TV and changing the channel while reading the news on my phone. I’ve never been a morning person, so I need time to take it easy and look around for a bit before I feel human enough to start working. ”

How do these compare to the day’s activity checklist?

Let’s try it in a didactic way:

1st) We have to try to have as wide a space as possible so that our technology (the one we have at home) coexists and is compatible with notes, books, diaries, papers and cups of coffee.

2nd) It is essential to ensure that the chosen space has the maximum amount of light possible.

3º) If you cannot have an ergonomic desk, chair and screen layout, you have to do everything possible because the way we sit and work must not affect the back, sight and especially our mood.

4th) Find moments of privacy during meetings by Zoom and similar or noise-canceling headphones, avoiding as far as possible during those periods, the passage of other family members.

5th) You should avoid working in areas where you tend to be in relaxation mode, such as the bed or the sofa.

10 in the morning finally arrived

It could perfectly be done between 10 and 10.30 hrs. a digital encounter with a cup of coffee in between.

Maintaining these encounters (our social habits) when you work from home is important to your mental well-being and can help you better adapt to change.

And while having a short coffee chat scheduled via Skype isn’t exactly the same as going to your favorite coffee shop, it gives you the space to talk about that new show on Netflix without feeling the pressure of being in work mode at all times. .

When it’s 11 am

It is convenient to keep meetings that are really productive, hence the importance of defining the day’s agenda well.

An agenda is not a day and time, it is much more than that. It is a purpose that has to be established in relation to what is being done, the responsibilities acquired and the fulfillment of objectives.

Clearly establishing that purpose is critical to having clear virtual meeting outcomes to help keep them on track (and on time).

This could mean allocating a set amount of time for each person to present, or asking the team to brainstorm preliminary before joining the meeting.

The space of time reserved for food

There are many companies that, as they have established the American schedule from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a cut-off around 1 p.m. for a fast meal, you can also continue applying this type of Schedule that is very profitable in order to earn free hours for family, children , hobbies, sports, etc.

The time of the meal should be of rest and relaxation at the same time. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when working from home is blurring the line between work and life.

It is important to set a strict schedule for breaks and do not allow yourself to work on them unless it is critical.

It is clear that unforeseen events always occur that lead us to the emergency room, but it should not be the norm, especially when teleworking.

Switch from workspace to food

Physically leaving your workspace during lunch can help you stay on track.

The final stretch of work in the afternoon

The final stretch can start at 1:45 p.m. or 3:00 p.m., there are no fixed rules. But the sooner you update your emails and make communications with other interested parties compatible, the sooner you can free yourself from the natural schedule of leaving the day between 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Frequent communication makes it easier to stay on top of your workload.

This implies discussing with teammates issues that must necessarily be coordinated, or in the case that you are a department and / or team head, it will allow you to be very aware of the development of tasks and compliance with the calendar that is assigned to each task.

In addition, telework requires that there must be a nexus between the parties involved because they are physically separated and psychological cohesion is the scaffolding to carry out the daily administrative and operational processes required by the activity of the company.

Even if it may seem trivial, a quick text message update makes a huge difference by replacing that face-to-face contact. If this is an art you have yet to hone, set aside some time each day to review your projects and provide updates to everyone involved.

In a few days it will be as easy and comfortable as the gymnastics or jogging that you practice daily and that you can no longer do without this good habit.

This could mean discussing digital tasks or scheduling a daily update of the video conferences required by the team, if you are responsible for it.

If you are another member, then your suggestions regarding the scheduling of activities and other matters that the other members and the group leader himself can take to good order, reinforce cohesion and reactivate confidence that they are doing well will be very welcome, showing that tasks and deadlines are being met.

Reflect at the end of the day how the day went

Psychologist Dr. James Collett, from RMIT’s College of Health and Biomedical Sciences, Australia, says that reflection is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for your mental health while working from home.

The questions that will arise then are: – Am I fine today? – Do I feel locked up? – Do I feel like I need to get in touch with friends or just call someone to hear someone else’s voice? – What should I do if I don’t feel well? Monitoring how the people around you are doing is critical to fixing problems early on, as they inevitably crop up, rather than ignoring them as they get older and worse.

In the case that you are leading a team, you must necessarily take a moment to communicate with the members asking them how these last days of work have gone and you must worry about seeing how they are dealing with the changes in the work arrangements as well.

When it’s time to close the kiosk

As some experts advise, especially psychologists, no matter how hard we are doing telework, when the closing time of the day’s activity arrives, we must “press the button” (imaginary) to turn off.

Put the mind off. Take a little time to pack up your space and mentally “get out” of the office.

At this time of day, you are free, for sports, dedicate yourself to the kitchen or read a book. Share a movie with your loved ones and worry about how your children’s studies have gone.

If you have done your homework well with your day’s agenda, surely you will do much better with family relationships, the interest you show in how they are handling their things and especially, the creation of that intimate and personal reserved space that only belongs to you and yours.

Antonio Alonso, president of the AEEN (Spanish Business School Association) and general secretary of EUPHE (European Union of Private Higher Education).