Hi Friends! By now I’m sure you are all happily (or not so much) quarantined at home to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. As many of you know, I started a job at the beginning of February that is 100% remote. One of the things I really loved about starting this job was that they provided special trainings on how to be more productive working from home. I thought given the current situation in the world, and a lot of folks’ transition to working from home, that it might be fun to share what I have learned so far being an at home worker every day!
- Give yourself a designated workspace. I know this can be hard right now when kids are home from school and spouses are also potentially working from home, but even if it’s a small table in the corner of your living room…having a designated spot can help for a couple different reasons. First of all, it helps you with that mental barrier. One of the hardest things about working from home is that you now have to be 100% on in an environment that has previously been a space of relaxation for you. Having a designated spot to work in a corner of your home allows your brain the mental shift of “okay I’m leaving my home/relax space and transitioning into my work space”. It also can be helpful for your loved ones to identify when you are working. If you communicate with them that you don’t want to be bothered when you are in your work space, then when they see you in that spot they’ll know to leave you aloe (at least they will if they’re old enough to understand that).
- Schedule breaks throughout your day. Studies show that it is actually easy to OVERWORK yourself when you work from home because a lot of people feel like they have to show that they really are working when they are at home. As a result, they overwork and can underperform because they are burnt out. On my work calendar I actually have a 15 minute task booked every 2.5 hours where I make myself break from work. Sometimes I get up and talk a short walk, sometimes I go out and feed the animals, or sometimes I just do the dishes. But it helps me to pull my brain out of work for a bit so that when I refocus, my head is more in the game.
- Create a routine for yourself. I am very type A and having a routine helps keep me from being anxious for many reasons. For example, I know that every day I will get up, take a shower, get ready and begin my day. Then at lunch I will have 35 minutes to work out and 25 minutes to make and eat my lunch. Then I end work around 4 PM so that I can get an hour of chores and house tasks out of the way before my spouse gets home. On really busy work days, I will do that hour of chores and then go back to work for another hour after my spouse is home because then I can be ultra productive that last hour knowing that all the animals are taken care of, the dishes are done, and dinner is prepped. Building that routine will give your brain the assurance it needs that everything will get done every day, and that just because you had to leave dishes in the sink after breakfast and lunch, doesn’t mean they won’t get done in a timely manner during one of your scheduled “breaks” later on.
- Allow yourself to reap the benefits of working remotely, and don’t feel guilty about it! Working from home provides a lot of advantages and one that I use most frequently is the ability for my “breaks” to help me to get ahead on personal tasks so that when I am done with work at the end of the day, so are most of my personal “chores” and “tasks” that I had scheduled for that day. Use your lunch time to walk your dog, make a delicious snack, or catch up on your favorite tv show! Or do your workout or some chores around the house (wash dishes, take out trash, vacuum living room). This will help you get more personal time back when your work day is over because you won’t be spending all of it doing those chores you did during your work breaks throughout the day!
- Go above and beyond to communicate with your coworkers when you are working from home. If you work uses a messaging service like Slack, send your teammates messages and ask how their days are going. When you are home 100% you aren’t going to run into a coworker in the hallway or break room, so if you want to have good relationships with your coworkers, sometimes you have to create those interactions yourself. My team will even do a Zoom (video call) happy hour from time to time. It’s almost zero work talk and all getting to know each other. It’s a great way to connect no matter where you are, AND it will make you feel more apart of a group and add a little social interaction to your day during this time of quarantine.
- Give yourself some grace. Working from home can come with a whole different set of challenges than the office. If your dog barks their head off during a meeting or you have to walk around your house every once in a while to refocus, that’s okay! Just like in any work environment, you will have good days and bad days. Sometimes you will be able to knock out 3 hours of work without a single interruption, and other days you will have a family member, animal, UPS delivery guy, or literally anything else interrupting you every 10 minutes. It happens, and you can’t always control it so just take a breather and remember it won’t always be this way.
I hope you found these tips helpful! Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Stay safe out there buddies!