COVID-19 Edition: The Ultimate Work From Home Survival Guide

Working from home is the new normal for the foreseeable future. The days ahead are filled with uncertainties, yet it’s possible to live and work above the fray.


The YFS Magazine Work From Home Survival Guide to navigating the coronavirus crisis is presented by Dell Technologies. At Dell Technologies, more than 65% of their global team members work in a flexible capacity, so you know you can rely on their expertise to empower your productivity wherever you are.

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (a.k.a. Covid-19) outbreak a global health emergency. In an instant, life and business as we knew it would change for millions across the globe. As we adapt to this public health crisis, remote working initiatives have expanded as communities comply with shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders to fight an accelerating pandemic and #flattenthecurve.

 

Pandemic shift: Working from home is the new normal

Where do we go from here? For many of us, working from home is the new normal for the foreseeable future. The days ahead are filled with uncertainties, yet it’s possible to live and work above the fray. Whether you are a small business owner, employee, or student in pursuit of higher learning, there are practical tips that can make working from home less stressful, and more empowering.

In partnership with Dell Technologies, we’ll tackle four key areas designed to empower you as you work from home. Whether you’re in the thick of it or trying to find your bearings, these mindset, workspace, technology, and productivity tips will ease your anxiety and help you stay connected and inspired wherever you are.

 

Table of Contents

 

Mindset


Living amid a pandemic threat can make us feel sad, hopeless, overwhelmed, stressed out, unfocused, and even disrupt our sleep. As Covid-19 spreads through our communities, widespread social distancing is thought to be one of our best weapons against widespread transmission.

Photo: Merfin, Adobe Stock
Photo: Merfin, YFS Magazine

We collectively avoid office spaces, cafes, and gatherings, while increased social isolation among millions of Americans harbors rising mental health concerns. As we consider the tight link between social isolation and depression, working on our mindset can minimize the onset of situational depression –– the short-term, stress-related type of depression associated with this traumatic event.

While we work from home, we cannot ignore the unintended consequences of social distancing and the impact on our mental health. Cultivating the right mindset––one of clarity, focus, and peace can make working from home more enjoyable, productive, and less frantic. Here’s a look at four solid ways to renew your mind daily.

 

Disconnect from stressors

What’s stressing you out? Perhaps it’s high consumption of social media along with your morning coffee? Maybe it’s a blaring TV, more daily meal prep, hyperactive pets, homeschooling duties, confinement, or a general sense of uncertainty. Environmental stressors can wreak havoc on your mindset. Identify what triggers stress and minimize your exposure. This could include powering down your phone, monitoring social media intake, watching less news, investing in Bluetooth headphones (for family members who watch a lot of TV), or simply sitting on your patio to pause, reflect, and breathe.

 

Breathe like a Navy SEAL

Take a deep, physical breath. Slow down and create some form of space, both physically and in your mind.  Use mindful breathing techniques when you find yourself in the throes of an anxious state. Box breathing, a breathing exercise used by Navy SEALs to remain calm in stressful situations, is a game changer. Give it a try!

 

Journal and reflect ­

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread as it rattles financial markets, upends local economies and will result in thousands of deaths worldwide. This would make any normal person anxious. Now is the time to practice radical self-compassion. This moment calls on us to not only care for others but to also be gentle with ourselves. Journaling is a proven way to clear your mind. Write down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. This provides an opportunity for constructive self-talk and can help you pinpoint negative thoughts and behaviors. Keeping a journal helps to create order when your world feels like it’s in chaos.

 

Connect, connect, connect

Working in solitude or from the same space can start to feel a little claustrophobic after a few weeks. It can get lonely. Be ready for that, and schedule a FaceTime lunch date, a video chat with a friend, or an online exercise class. Use WhatsApp and Google Hangouts — all means possible — to stay connected to what you enjoy and anyone who matters to you. Especially those who induce a sense of calm rather than chaos. People need to hear your voice — and vice versa.

 

Workspace


We’ve had to reinvent the way we work, as new challenges and environmental factors arise. Not everyone has a designated home office, but it’s critical to have a private, quiet space to run your business, complete daily tasks, or concentrate on your online courses. Here’s how to get started.

Photo: Merfin, Adobe Stock
Photo: Merfin, YFS Magazine

Set up a functional, creative and clean workspace

First, create a functional space. If you can, separate your work area from your personal spaces and use it just for work, not for other activities. Utilize a spare room or invest in a partition or modular room divider.

The goal is to create a private workspace that is not monotonous and encourages creativity and interaction. To cultivate creativity, hang a whiteboard to brainstorm your next big idea, reduce clutter (a direct contributor to stress). Then, add touches of inspiration, a poster with your favorite quote, new art, or a gallery wall of achievements or future travel plans on a vision board. Optimizing for creativity is a process that removes structures and restrictions. Nothing—not even a global pandemic—can stop human creativity. We just have to adapt.

“Nothing—not even a global pandemic—can stop human creativity. We just have to adapt.”

Lastly, create a green zone that keeps viruses and anxiety at bay. Keep disinfectant wipes on-hand, consider purchasing a humidifier to keep germs from spreading, and open windows to keep the fresh air flowing. Also, add a few new plants to your space. Greenery is shown to increase happiness and boost productivity by a whopping 15%. That is, in addition to providing valuable extra oxygen and overall cleaner indoor air.

 

Get the internet speed you need

As millions of people spend much more time online, internet usage is on the rise. The need for quality high-speed internet is essential. A majority of work activities will be carried out online, and your home internet service may not be up to snuff.

If you have kids, their FaceTiming and Xbox habits may slow your connection and download speeds. Perhaps your partners’ Netflix streaming has tripled in recent weeks. Upgrading your Wi-Fi router can provide an instant fix, or you can consider upgrading your plan for the time being.

  

Technology


When you’re working from home, you need the right technology to stay connected along with seamless solutions to keep your productivity at its peak. At Dell Technologies, more than 65% of their global team members work in a flexible capacity, so we know you can rely on their expertise in empowering your productivity wherever you are.

Photo: Merfin, Adobe Stock
Photo: Merfin, YFS Magazine

From mobile adaptors to laptop bundles and more, here’s a look at our top tech picks to help you stay connected, conduct smarter meetings, and work from home with more agility.

Vostro 15” 5590 Laptop Bundle

Shop now

Dell Pro Stereo Headset USB

Promo Code: EXTA17 for 17% off

Shop now

Dell USB-C Mobile Adapter

Shop now

Dell S-Pro 27” Monitor

Shop now

Logitech Personal Video Collaboration Kit

(Headset & Webcam)

Shop now

Pro Tip

Excelerate America members can access these work from home solutions at additional savings with a 5% stackable coupon. Visit Dell.com/ExcelerateAmerica to access these savings. For any questions around the best remote solution for you and your business, call our Small Business Advisors at 800-757-8442.

 

Steps for Saving

  1. Visit Dell.com/ExcelerateAmerica
  2. Click ‘Save Now’
  3. Receive Coupon in Email & Apply in Cart
  4. Shop Work From Home Bundle Specials here

Save an extra 5% on XPS & Inspiron, Latitude, Precision, OptiPlex, Vostro, Dell Branded Accessories, and PowerEdge Servers.

 

Productivity


As we strive for increased efficiency, let’s also seek simplicity: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Here’s a look at three ways to embrace productive simplicity.

Photo: Merfin, Adobe Stock
Photo: Merfin, YFS Magazine

Create a distraction-free zone

Distractions don’t look like distractions until they finish distracting you. If you have a barking dog or a jack-hammering neighbor next door, consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones.

Next, manage your apps and notifications to reduce distractions. Pausing apps and customizing when and how you get notifications can help you stay focused. For the pro’s, it’s time to create device-free zones and times. Designate times of your day or spaces in your home to be device-free. This small step can reduce the urge to check emails and notifications.

 

Improve time management

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Lost time is never found again.” So how can we reclaim our time and manage it better? First, create small daily goals and prioritize them using your favorite desktop planner or task management app. Consider breaking down goals, even the big ones, into smaller tasks that can be accomplished more effortlessly. As a result, each task requires focus for a shorter period.

Next, support your small steps with the right apps. For example, download Be Focused, an unobtrusive task planner with a built-in timer. Not only will it help you stay focused on the task at hand, but it also lets you track your progress and gain new insights about your workflow.

 

Unplug and play

Unplugging can seem counterproductive, but non-work and ditch-the-screen activities can help free your brain up to focus on your next task. For at least 30 minutes a day, get in a daily workout, go for a run or bike ride, play with your pet, do puzzles with your family or keep your mind sharp with a game of chess. A brief 15-minute walk is also a great way to foster a free flow of ideas. Physical activity is a natural mood lifter. It relieves stress, anxiety, depression, and anger –– and right now, you’ve probably experienced all of the above.

 

We’ll get through this

Living through a pandemic is a shock to the system, and it’s awkward right now, so we need to take some time to get used to it. But when this is over, how we work, collaborate, and connect will have shifted. Use this time to work on your mindset, improve your workspace, access the best technology, and discover your productivity zone.

In the face of uncertainty and unpredictability, there is still room for a bit of optimism, plans, and hope for a future –– better days ahead.

No matter where your work takes you, Dell Technologies is here with seamless solutions to keep your productivity at its peak. Wherever work takes you, we’ll be there.

Photo: Merfin, Adobe Stock
Photo: Merfin, YFS Magazine

 

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Photo: Merfin, Adobe Stock
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