Working from home can bring challenges, especially when you’re used to working at a designated office space. Not to mention, being forced to work at home at a moment’s notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic can make it trickier.
To help our community of entrepreneurs, coworkers, small business owners and everyone in between, the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has some helpful tips for those working from home and several resources to help small businesses persevere.
If you utilize these tips, inspire others by posting a picture of your home workspace or how you’re taking advantage of lunch breaks and tagging us on Instagram @ciecalpoly.
Set a morning routine
Whether your ideal morning looks like a run through the neighborhood followed by breakfast, or catching up on news while you sip your coffee, make sure you have an enjoyable morning routine to motivate you for the day. With less of the hustle and bustle of getting to work, take a moment for yourself in the morning instead of hopping on the computer right away.
Designate your workspace
Having a designated workspace is the best way to stay focused and motivated while you work. As enticing as it may sound to switch up your arrangement, like moving your laptop to the couch, it can cause less productivity and much more distraction. Plus, it’s best to keep work as separate from home as possible. Let the couch be your spot for the post-work Netflix binge.
Business as usual
Work hours are work hours. Working from home doesn’t mean you get to take extra time off, but it also doesn’t mean you should work 12 hours a day. Remember that you can always wrap things up on a project tomorrow and that sometimes you need a fresh take on things the next morning.
A normal workday calls for breaks. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean work is easier, so allow yourself time to destress, call a friend, grab some food or get some fresh air. It’ll be better for your productivity, mind and body. Don’t forget to look away from your screen every once in a while to stay sane and stay healthy.
Communication is key in any setting, especially when working from home. Never feel like your weekly webcam meetings are where the office communication has to stop. At a time like this, there is no such a thing as over-communicating about plans or problems. Email and call your coworkers often, and maybe suggest your team uses communication tools like Slack (if they don’t already). Everyone is in this together.
While work-oriented communication is important, so are your usual office conversations. Remember to stay connected with your coworkers about all of the things you usually talk about, like must-see movies, funny stories or how your 10-year-old is begging for an iPhone. The people who make your workday fun might not be a desk over, but they’re just a call or text away.
Take advantage of being home
If working from home isn’t your thing, remember to stay positive and find the perks of your situation. Now that you’re home all day, you can make your breaks more fun by taking the dog for a walk or doing some baking. Not to mention you can put dinner in the oven earlier than 7 p.m. for once and blast music as loud as you want. Despite the challenges of working from home, find a way to make it more enjoyable every day.
COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses
- The Cal Poly CIE Small Business Development Center is offering virtual consulting for clients: http://sbdc.calpoly.edu/
- Judy Mahan, Director of the Cal Poly SBDC and the Incubator Director for the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, on Economic Injury Disaster Loans https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=d55xLlmQ0G0&feature=emb_logo
- U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loans: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
- The California Small Business Development Center Resource Page: https://centralcasbdc.com/covid-19-resources-uc-merced-sbdc
- The California Small Business Development Center is hosting weekly webinars. Register in advance at https://ucmercedsbdc.com/center-calendar-list-subject?tid=291.
- San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce Resources for Small Businesses: https://slochamber.org/covid-19-resources-for-businesses/
- CDC Recommended Strategies for Employers via San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services: https://www.emergencyslo.org/en/businesses-workplace.aspx
- City of San Luis Obispo COVID-19 Updates: https://www.slocity.org/services/public-safety/covid-19