During these unprecedented times, much of the workforce has moved to a remote option and are working from home for the foreseeable future. For a lot of people, this is a new challenge and they’re trying to navigate all of the pitfalls of working from home. Here are a few quick tips to help you adjust to this new normal:
- Have a dedicated workspace– This is critical to maintaining productivity. Don’t set up shop on your couch, or on your bed. Areas like these will lead to decreased productivity and have too many distractions. If you can, avoid the kitchen table as well. Most houses have the kitchen table in a “high traffic” area and it’s hard to minimize house noise from your kitchen table. If you’re able to, find a space in your house that is least likely to have visitors and is away from distractions.
- Get in the right mindset, have a routine– Working from home, it’s easy to quickly fall into a routine of rolling out of bed, grabbing some coffee and logging on. If your schedule allows it, spend some time in the morning (perhaps some of the time your daily commute normally takes) getting mentally prepared for work. Take a shower, get out of those PJs. Help your mind shift from sleep to work. Similarly, at the end of the work day it’s easy to keep working and checking emails all night long. Allow yourself to set a time where you’ll walk away and shift your mind from work back to your home life.
- Set boundaries with your family- If you have your family at home with you like many of us, especially with young kids, working from home can be hard. It’s important to set boundaries with your family. Share your schedule with your significant other so they understand what times during the day you’re in meetings or otherwise unavailable. For me personally, I have an “open door policy” at home. If my office door is shut, it means I’m on a call or otherwise unavailable. If my office door is open, I can answer one of the 5,000 questions my kids have each day.
- Be available- This part is important. Don’t allow the stress of working from home to creep into your family life. Don’t shut yourself off entirely for 8-9 hours a day from your family. That isn’t fair to them and will lead to more frustrations. Find a balance that is fair to your family and fair to your business.
- Understand the realities– You won’t be able to drown out all the background noise if you have a family at home with you. Don’t let that frustrate you. If you’re hosting virtual meetings, inform your colleagues that there may be some background noise. We’re all in this together, and we all understand. You may find yourself smiling at all the crazy hectic noise coming from your house. After all, they’re who you are working for.
- Watch out for increased productivity– Believe it or not, you may find yourself being more productive working from home. If you’re able to avoid the pitfalls of working from home, like: laundry, taking an afternoon nap, checking out Netflix, building a LEGO castle, etc. you’re likely to find that you will get more work done at home. There are no co-workers coming to your office for a 20 minute conversation (that starts about work and by the end you’re not sure what you’re even talking about), there are no water cooler meetings to eat into your day. You can end up being more efficient, if you’ve followed the above steps.
- Be thankful- Many people aren’t able to work from home. Some folks have to work on site, which is scary right now. Other folks are out of work entirely, which is even more scary. If you’re working from home, you’re fortunate to be able to still support yourself and your family. Be thankful for that, I know I am.
Be safe. Be productive. Be kind. Check on your neighbors and loved ones. Wash your hands! We’ll get through this.