Tips for Working at Home

Some of us have completely changed our routines in light of the recent social distancing. It’s hard to find the positives sometimes when everything around you seems so doom and gloom. In addition to sharing a few work from home tips, I’m will shed a little positive light on this change of pace.

Although working from home may come with its challenges and it’s not for everyone, this may be an opportunity to test out the option to make the switch to working from home a permanent one. Changing from an office environment to your home is a completely new environment and it takes some time to get used to the change. During this transition from work to home give yourself a little grace to get fully adjusted to the new setup.

Outside of my evening and weekend blogging, my full-time job (the one that pays the bills) has always allowed me the flexibility to work from home or on the road from my hotel. The flexibility is nice but it can feel isolating and unproductive if you’re not organized.

#1 Stay Connected

As I mentioned above, working from home can feel very isolating. But there are ways to feel connected and engaged:

  • Play music in the background. I like using the Spotify app and selecting a premade playlist. You can even choose a playlist by “mood”, for example, Happy Beats, Confidence Boost are just a few of my favorites
  • If music isn’t your speed maybe a noise app or noise machine. There are a lot of apps out there that allow you to customize your sound such as “Noisli” which has a coffee shop sound, it’s my favorite.
  • Utilize platforms such as Microsoft Office Teams or Zoom where you can hold virtual meetings instead of the traditional awkward conference calls.
  • Don’t forget to check in with friends and family throughout the day. Take a mental break and start a group chat with a few of your besties. Yes, it’s ok to have breaks and speak to people outside of your work cohorts, this is healthy and will keep you connected.

#2 Create a Routine

Creating a routine is probably the most common work from the home response or tip. But give yourself a little grace here, it’s just not possible to have the same day every day… after all, that’s not typical in a normal day to day drive to work routine. I think for most of us we probably arrive at work ranging from 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM unless you are on some kind of flex schedule. Here are a few tips that can help build a structure around your day, but be flexible – if you need a few more minutes waking up, then take them.

  • Determine your wake up time.
  • What time would you like to be sitting at your desk working?
  • When will you work out – in the morning or evening?
  • When will you answer emails?
  • When will you return phone calls?

#3 Define Your Workspace

Create a dedicated workspace to be productive. Make sure that this space has plenty of natural light or if you can add a side lamp to help brighten up your desk that’s helpful too. If you are frequently on conference calls where you will be on screen, consider the direction of light. If the light is behind you it will wash you out and if it’s in front of you then that may be too harsh for your eyes throughout the day.

Working in your PJs, in bed is not a recipe for success. Although it sounds like a good idea your body and mind will automatically think its time to go to sleep. I think it’s a good practice to wake up, wash your face and take a walk down the street just to loosen up your legs and get your mind going for the day.

#4 Make a List

Plan for tomorrow and decide what you will do at the end of each day. Whether you are working from home or in an office setting this tip applies. Creating a “to-do” list to leave at your desk for tomorrow helps you set your intentions and clears your mind at the end of a busy day.

Do you enjoy waking up at 2 AM and again at 4 AM with racing thoughts about what you just have to get done by tomorrow? I think the answer is no. Take 30 to 45 minutes at the end of each workday to plan for tomorrow. Determine where you will keep this list. Maybe it’s in your favorite journal with an inspirational quote across the front or maybe you like to utilize your computer. This seems a little old school but I have a word document that I add bulleted tasks to and I print this out weekly to help me stay organized. I write on it throughout the week and update it regularly to keep me on track. Figure out what works for you and keep consistent. What you don’t want to do is have your lists in multiple places, I am so guilty of this and it complicates accomplishing your daily tasks.

#5 Healthy Eating and Exercise

Continue to eat as you would if you were working out of an office. I actually think you are at an advantage working from home because you know that your kitchen is clean (at least I hope so) and if you are wanting to heat of a dish that may take an oven over a microwave you have that option. I actually think your meals can get a lot more healthy at home.

Make sure to take your meal to the dining room or a spot in your kitchen, just like in an office setting you really don’t want to eat where you work. You need to have a mental break in addition to keeping your workspace neat and clean.

Earlier I mentioned that while creating a daily routine it’s important to consider when you will work out. Maybe getting up a little early to workout in the morning works best for you and helps you to get a jump start in the morning. Or maybe you utilize exercise in the evenings to destress from a long workday. Either way, make sure that in addition to staying on track with your meals that you include exercise in that plan.

In summary, working from home can come with many perks but it can also have a few challenges. Take this time to define your routine and keep track of your activities to show your boss. Maybe working remotely from your home is a setup that you and your company didn’t even consider.

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