ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME
There are a lot of upsides to working from home. It’s amazingly convenient. You’re saving a chunk of money each week by not commuting – and not hitting up that coffee shop near your office. And research shows you can be more productive working from home if you can learn to effectively block out distractions.
But for many people, working remotely is a big shift in how they handle their career. You might know what you are supposed to be doing each day, but uncertainty over how and when to get things like group projects done – or when to check in with your boss – can leave you feeling a bit at loose ends. With so many employees now working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re all trying to get used to this new normal when it comes to work-life integration.
Here are some easy tips to make working from home a better experience for you.
Be Disciplined With Yourself
The very nature of working from home might seem like now is the time to embrace a relaxed atmosphere, or an easy-breezy schedule that allows you to do what you want, when you want. Don’t fall into this inefficient trap. Be firm with yourself. It’s better to cultivate strict routines and working hours. This means waking up at your usual time and working your normal hours. Also, dress properly for the job you are doing. Put on clean, neat clothes before you start working each day. Avoid wearing your pajamas or bathrobe while you are working. The way you dress can influence your mood.
When you are working from home, over-communication is a good thing. There are a couple reasons for that: Being away from the office means you could be out of the loop when it comes to how bits of information are normally shared during a workday. Being away from your coworkers can also make you feel isolated.
Here are a few ways to keep your communication game strong:
- Have a daily meeting with your team, even if it’s just a group phone call.
- Plan virtual coffee breaks with coworkers to share work-from-home strategies, or just check in.
- Set up video conferencing when you can. It will make you feel less isolated.
- Have an urgent matter? Send an email, then text or ping your supervisor on a work chat as a backup.
Minimize Your Distractions
This is the tough part for a lot of people transitioning into work-from-home mode. Distractions abound in your house, whether you’re talking about the snacks in your cupboards to the latest shows on your streaming service. To help you keep your focus, set some rules. Shut off the TV and listen to music in the background instead. Unless you need it for work, keep your phone in a separate room. This will help you stop scrolling social media and checking personal messages while you are supposed to be working. If you need to keep your phone nearby, shut off notifications on your social media sites. That way, you won’t be tempted to check them.
Set Aside a Space Just For Work
As much fun as it sounds to work from your bed or even your couch, don’t do it. Instead, create an at-home work space that allows you to “get in the zone” and focus on the job in front of you. It should be somewhere you can spread out your work supplies and laptop, and gives you some privacy for phone calls and video chats. Ideally, it’s a separate room with a door that closes to minimize distractions. But any space away from others will work. Having this separate space helps you establish boundaries between your work hours and your personal life. When you are done working for the day, you can clean up your work space, shut down your computer and walk away.
Plan Out Each Day
Making a list of your priorities each day is helpful in a couple different ways. A to-do list of your work allows you to see everything you need to accomplish, and lets you decide which items are the most important and need to be done first. Planning can also be a great motivator. As each thing gets done, cross it off your list and get ready to tackle the next project, meeting or call.
Take Breaks Throughout Your Day
Reminding yourself to take morning and afternoon breaks is important, especially if you are working from home. In an office setting, you’d likely be stopping to talk to friends frequently, or heading out for a quick coffee break or to grab some lunch. When you work from home, it’s easy to forget to take breaks. But these mental breaks from work are necessary.
You can set an alarm on your phone as a reminder, or download an app that will pop up on your screen and tell you to take a break. Get up, stretch, go for a quick walk around the block, or just empty the dishwasher while you’re listening to your favorite music. After 10-20 minutes, you’ll be ready to head back to your home office.
Short breaks are a great time to grab a snack, too. Keep healthy foods on hand like BodyKey by Nutrilite™ Slim Popcorn. Flavored with sea salt and green tea, it’s a great alternative to high-calorie chips.
Work-life integration can be challenging when you work remotely. With a little planning, you can set up a home office space and a daily routine that allows you to be successful.
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