Author: 
Samuel Mortimer, QCOSS
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Workplaces across Australia are innovating in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic - with many transitioning to operating in a virtual environment as employees begin to work from home.

It can be a learning curve for some people working from home for the first time, but thankfully there are some really straight-forward tips and tricks to maximise your productivity.

Maintain regular hours

The temptation to alter your schedule can be strong without a commute to the office, but having clear guidelines and sticking to your normal schedule as much as possible will help you stay productive. 

Schedule breaks and have lunch

Even when facing social distancing restrictions, it's important to give yourself adequate time during the day to go for a walk, get some fresh air and get away from the phone and computer screen.

There might not be any colleagues around to socialise with, but try to avoid the temptation to cut your lunch break short. Take time for yourself to avoid burning out.

Keep a dedicated office space

Work-life balance is important in maintaining a healthy headspace. While it may not be possible for everyone to use a separate room, having a dedicated workspace can help you to 'shut the door' - leave your work behind and reset at the end of each work day.

Check-in with your team and be present in remote meetings

Working from home can be a lonely exercise. With the obvious disconnection and isolation involved, it's crucial to check-in and have a chat with your team once in a while.

A method practiced by Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) involves a 'round robin' roster of calls between colleagues - a weekly catch up via video or audio to maintain connections between people you might have only seen or heard from while in the office. 

Be sure to speak up during remote meetings on Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype or equivalent services - even if it's just to say "Hello" or "Bye". Simply being present can make a big impact on feeling connected with your colleagues.

Ergonomic health

It's important to ensure good workplace health and safety practices continue in the home office - even if you need to get a bit creative.

Back and neck pain can be prevented by raising monitors up to eye level using whatever safe means are available to you, as well as using a separate mouse and keyboard if you are using a laptop or tablet device.

To access more resources around working from home, including QCOSS's Workplace guidelines for COVID-19 response, visit our COVID-19 section here. 

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