Working from home or as we are calling it today, working remotely, was merely a privilege not many of us had access to. We all know that one person that works from home and either works in a tech company, manages stocks or is an entrepreneur. Today, as we face a world health crisis (COVID-19) we are order to work from home. We don't have much choice.
How is that working for you? Are you enjoying it or has the adjustment been a little challenging?
I’ve been working from home since 2011 so I thought I would share with you some things that have worked for me and helped me be more productive while working from a cozy corner of my home.
1. Have a routine. Its easier said than done but it’s essential for you to create a nice routine to follow while working from home. Waking up and jumping on your computer right away might not be the best thing to do. Start your day with a cup of coffee, eat some breakfast, change out of your pj’s, put a little lipstick and head start your work day. Doing those little things before getting started will make you feel better and prevent you from getting distracted thru the day. One thing that I found really helpful was to continue to meal prep as if I’m going out to work. Being at home makes it easier to eat anything and also makes you waste more time preparing something for you to eat, and to be honest you probably will have to fix a plate for your kids or significant other. Having my meals ready makes it simple to take a break and grab a bite. Remember, working from home requires discipline and patience. Start small and you will soon nail down your routine.
2. Set a schedule. If you are a workaholic like me, working from home you will find it so easy to check your email and phone every five minutes even after work hours. Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Take small breaks in between your workday and when its time to clock out -you are done! Avoid going back to check that email you forgot to send, or to read really quick that super important email. Believe me it can wait. Unless the email actually reads URGENT, ignore it till the next day.
If you are a workaholic like me, working from home you will find it so easy to check your email and phone every five minutes even after work hours. Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Take small breaks in between your workday and when its time to clock out -you are done! Avoid going back to check that email you forgot to send, or to read really quick that super important email. Believe me, it can wait. Unless the email actually reads URGENT, ignore it till the next day.
3. Assign a space to be your “office”. Have a designated area where to work. The bed and the couch are not ideal. They look comfy and cozy, but after 4 hours of sitting there all day, all you are going to want to do is get up and shut down your computer. Set a little corner in your home; on the dining room table, in your spare room or on your kitchen island. It doesn’t matter where but make it comfortable for you. And if you are close to a window that’s a plus. Natural light and opening the window here and there makes a world of difference. Add some fresh flower and light a candle and you are all set. Work mode on!
4. Embrace the technology. The number one thing you need to make sure is if you have the capabilities to work from home. Do you have a reliable computer? How is your internet connection? Make sure those two things are in order since they are imperative to have a successful “home office” experience. Working from home means you will be communicating with others a lot more thru email, conference calls and the scary video calls. Be open to explore new apps to help you stay connected and enhance your productivity. Tech is your friend- be nice!
5. Be responsible/set boundaries. As I mentioned earlier having a schedule is important. It creates healthy work boundaries for you not to burn out but also its worth mentioning that its also important to set boundaries when it comes to home duties. Do not get up in the middle of an important work task to clean the living room because you just remembered this morning it looked too dusty, or start doing laundry while you are working. As it might seem like you are being productive, intertwining tasks will make you lose focus and you will be playing catch up both at work and at home. When its time to work, WORK. And when its time to tend the house, you can happily do so. Another big no-no is the TV, or Netflix or any binge-watching platform. It starts as background noise but you will get distracted and watching for 5 minutes will turn to a couple of hours.
Working from home takes a little bit of practice and time to get it going but it is a privilege to be able to do so. Right now, we don’t have a choice and that is why this is the best time to learn to do it right. You never know if the future will be working remotely or if your employer will let you work from home a couple days a week – you never know. Show yourself and your boss that you are capable of performing even when working from home.
P.S. Work in your pj’s once on awhile – I won’t tell on you. ;)