Hi, friends! Today, I’m writing about working from home/remotely. I have been working from home one day a week since last fall, and have been completely working from home beginning this past week due to COVID-19. Since this has been a drastic change for many of us, I wanted to share what I have implemented to stay productive and sane!
1. Set up a “home office” – If you are able, having a dedicated work space makes a world of difference. Once I started working from home, I got myself a desk. Sitting at my desk, rather than working from my bed/couch, allows me to get into “work mode” (it also provides a separation between work space and personal space). In addition to a desk, having equipment such as a mouse, keyboard, and extra monitor(s) is helpful. Having an extra screen to work with, I feel like I’m not compromising my productivity at all while working from home. I highly suggest reviewing your company policy to see if they can provide these accessories for you (even if they usually don’t, they might be making an exception during this particular period).
2. Have a morning routine – Even without the commute, I have been waking up at my usual 7am. I get up, have cereal for breakfast, brush my teeth, and still have 30 minutes or so before I start working at 8am. With this extra time, I have been enjoying being productive with non-work related tasks. Things I have done include reading, journaling, and yoga. You could listen to a podcast, take a longer walk with your dog(s), etc. For me, not immediately starting work the moment you wake up puts things into perspective and gives me a sense of control with my life.
3. Plan out your week – I’m a planner, and I like to plan out my to-do list. In OneNote, I have a page for each work week. I enter all of my meetings and training calls for each day (these are also entered in my Outlook calendar). Then, I place tasks around the meetings, blocking off time to get those tasks completed. Planning out my work week(s) has been a great tool for me to have a sense of direction, keep myself accountable, and track tasks I complete.
4. Stay “social” – Whether you’re working from home temporarily or permanently, the biggest difference is the lack of face time. In normal circumstances, I go to a coffee shop for a portion of my work day to be around others (and also to get a drip coffee with no room for cream and a ham and cheese croissant). With the COVID-19 situation, I suggest touching base with your coworkers for a casual check-in meeting or messaging your friends who are also working from home to avoid feeling isolated.
5. Take a break and walk away from your computer – This is something I am currently working on because I have a terrible habit of working through my lunch. Working for 8+ hours without a solid mental break is simply not conducive to productivity. Stepping away for a little bit refreshes you to tackle the second half of the work day. In the past week, I took a reading break, did a PiYo class via Zoom, and went for a walk. My goal is to make a habit of taking a walk during lunch every day.
6. Stop working – Since there is no drive home to officially conclude your work day, you have to establish boundaries with yourself. Set a timer for the end of your work day. Turn off the computer, and put it away out of sight. Have a virtual happy hour with your coworkers or friends. Constantly working at home will blur the separation between work and personal life, and your work-life balance will suffer.
Hope you find these helpful! I would love to know how you work from home.