Tips for Working from Home
While some of us are working for home for the first time, many professionals have worked from home for years and have plenty of good advice to offer. Here are a few tips from the experts:
- Routine & Rituals
Keeping a regular routine can ensure you are both mentally and physically prepared for the workday. Try to wake up at the same time every day. Eating breakfast, showering, and getting dressed will make you feel more ready to tackle your work task list. Small rituals can also help you jump into the workday. When working at the office, you may have started the day by grabbing a cup of coffee and getting into your email. You can do this at your home office as well.Try to plan your day in advance and keep clearly defined working hours. While it’s tempting to let home chores crowd the workday, make sure to stay focused on work tasks during work hours. Having a plan for what you need to accomplish sets you up for success.Small rituals at the end of the day can also help keep your work/life balance firmly in place. Make your last correspondence for the day, then close your email. An end of day ritual signifies that the workday is done.
- Setup a Professional Workspace
Having a professional workspace can make all the difference when working from home. As much as possible, you want to keep your home time and work time separate. If possible, physical boundaries are best. It’s nice to be able to literally shut the door if you have a meeting or important phone call that you need to handle. If you don’t have an extra bedroom or den, think about setting up boundaries using rules. Maybe no TV during certain hours so you can concentrate, or no questions during phone calls.
- Interruptions Will Happen
Even with a routine, a plan for your workday, and boundaries in place; interruptions are inevitable. Don’t sweat it! If you have to answer the door, help your kids, or let the dog out, just take care of it and get on with work.
- Use Technology to Your Advantage
While working from home it’s important to over-communicate with your colleagues. It’s easy for people to feel out of touch and isolated when working from home, especially when this is not the norm. You will want to make sure you are reachable and receptive to the people who need you. Online meeting tools like Zoom, Skype, and Facebook meetings are an easy way to stay in touch and collaborate with your team no matter where you are working from.
- Make Time to Step Away
While working from home, experts agree it’s important not to lock yourself inside. Natural light and fresh air can do wonders for a person’s well-being. Make sure to get up, stretch, and take a walk when you can. If can’t get outside, make sure to still step away from your desk and walk around inside.Also, try to eat lunch away from your workspace. Setting aside a designated lunchtime can help you refocus and help ensure you’re getting one healthy meal instead of too much snacking during the day.
Setting up new routines and habits can be hard. Use alerts on your phone or computer to help manage your time. Maybe an alarm gets set for a check-in with your boss or team, another for lunch, and one for an afternoon break. If you aren’t looking at the clock you will be able to better focus on your tasks. As you build your new schedule and habits, you can turn the alerts off.