The above title should be read in the voice of Rihanna’s song Work, our founder and CEO Lee Moak’s favorite Rihanna song.

We are living and working in strange times. Across the country, people are being advised to stay inside and practice social distancing. For me, this means going back to my New Year’s Resolution of reading 36 books in 2020 (current count is 5) and, for unknown reasons, trying to complete a 2,000-piece Star Wars puzzle (link to this grueling, yet at times fun(?) puzzle).

With Coronavirus sweeping the nation, employees who have the flexibility to work from home are the lucky ones. Below are a few tips to help your work productivity (even if it is from the couch):

Stick to a Schedule

The first few days of working from home can feel like a staycation. Why wake up early when I can just roll out of bed (heck do I even need to leave the bed?) to start working? While this schedule can be tempting at first, in the long run it’s better to schedule your day like you would any other in the office day.

When I work from home, I stick to my normal going into the office routine, including putting on real pants. This way, when I sit on my couch to start working I’m mentally prepped to take on my tasks for the day. By having the same start time, you don’t lose productivity in your day and your work doesn’t lag behind.

Set Work Boundaries

A work from home day should closely resemble any normal office day. Which means at some point you’ll need to leave the office to get the rest of your life in order. Establish a normal workday by setting office hours. This window of time will keep you from working 24/7 and by setting a sign off time, will keep you from procrastinating on projects. Need additional help with time management? We have a blog post for that.

Communicate Often

Your co-workers are no longer in sight, but they shouldn’t be out of mind. Set weekly or daily check-ins with your previous officemates. Make sure you’re collaborating with your co-workers as often as you would be in the office. Video chats are the new phone call. Worried that you don’t look your office best? Zoom has a filter to make you look better.

Limit Distractions

Not everyone has the luxury of closing the door of their home office to drown out noise around the house. Currently, I share a one-bedroom apartment with my partner, which means we are working from home in the same space. Set a meeting in the morning to talk over each other’s call schedules, mitigating future frustrations. Headphones are a life safer.

Show Compassion

Don’t horde goods. Be kind to people working in public places (and keep your distance for their safety). Stay inside. Physically distance yourself from your community. If you have an elderly or at-risk neighbor, offer to help (this can be completed through text message/phone call/or leaving a note).

The economic impact of the Coronavirus is hurting the U.S. job force. 18% of adults have been laid off or had work hours cut. This time has been especially hard on local businesses. Here is a list of ways you can help:

• For Washington D.C. locals, the service industry has started a Virtual Tip Jar. Now you can Venmo or Paypal staff from your favorite restaurants/cafes/entertainment venues while they closed or working limited hours at DC Virtual Tip Jar.

• Once you’ve gone through your perishable groceries, see if your favorite local restaurants are delivering or allowing people to order out- here’s a list of DC restaurants delivering or having curbside pick-ups.

• Order books from your local bookstore. Some are offering curbside picks up, order by mail or in rare cases allowing customers to reserve personal time in their stores.

• Don’t want to miss Happy Hour? Even if it is in your living room? Washington D.C. just passed a law that allows ABC-licensed restaurants and taverns to sell alcohol for carryout or delivery. Find participating bars here.

• Buy coffee or tea from your favorite local coffee shop (then go home).

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• Want to get jacked like Leo did in prison at the start of The Departed?Many gyms and studios are offering their classes online. If you participate in an online workout, make sure to send a donation.

• Many news outlets are removing their paywalls to share their findings out to the world. This would be a great time to support the news and subscribe to their services.

If you know of other ways to help local communities, please share in the comment section below.

Stays safe. Stay healthy. Stay inside. And when you can, stay productive.

Rebecca McTear