Working from home can be a major adjustment when you’re used to going into an office every day. In this post I’ll go over eight things that will help you embrace your new normal. From routines to designated spots-at-home to work in, down to breaks and boundaries. This new reality we are in is something that is changing the very way we live and work at home.
1. Set and Keep Morning/Evening Routines
For starters, you will want to develop a morning routine that sets you up for success, and an end of the workday routine to help send a signal to your brain that the day is done. This adds structure to your days and replaces some of your familiar office habits that you may miss. For example, if you go to the gym in the early morning still wake up and possibly go for a walk or run. Or if you go to the gym after the day is done, do the same. Some experts suggest it boosts productivity to get dressed as though you’re going into the office or doing what you normally do. That goes for the end of your day too. Whether it’s getting home to relax or going to the gym, have something at the end of your day to look forward to so you don’t fall into a perpetual trap of work.
2. Create a Dedicated Workspace
It’s important to have a workspace that works for you, both practically and mentally. A designated space that’s relatively peaceful and quiet is the best way to go. Be sure to set up everything you’ll need to do your job, and since you’ll be spending lots of time there, make it as comfortable and convenient as you can. Think of it as the same workspace as your office and you should be good. That being said, don’t forget to take advantage of your other home spaces. Sometimes it’s nice to sit outside if the weather permits and enjoy the sun or even sit by the pool if you have one. Overall, set up an area that is your main hub so you can get the majority of your work done there.
3. Create Dedicated Work Hours, Breaks & Lunches
Some jobs have more set hours, particularly positions where we need to be available to clients and partners during regular office hours. Others can be more flexible. In either case, a set work schedule is considered good practice for working from home. It provides you with a structure like what you’re used to, makes it easy to keep track of your time, it helps to keep the boundaries between your work and home life in place. I would set reminders throughout the day to take breaks, and lunches and have a hard end time so you can keep with your routine. I know working from home is great and you are around things that are easily accessible but that does not mean you should continuously be working and sacrificing your personal life.
4. Break up the Monotony
Getting up to walk around and stretch periodically is always important at a desk job, but it can be even more important when working from home. This is because your home desk setup may not be as ergonomic as your office desk and chair. Experts particularly recommend spinal twists and neck stretches to protect your back and posture. But I will do you one better and say go outside for a run or walk or even have a pre-set yoga flow setup to get some good stretches. This will not only break up the monotony but also make sure your keeping your body nice and limber.
5. Focus on Communication
Working from home comes with its own pros and cons. One big con is you aren’t getting face to face time with your colleagues. That means if you are used to getting answers instantly, now you might have to wait a little till they see a message from you. This makes communication more important than ever. Stay in touch about projects you’re working on, and call or video into meetings when it makes sense. Multiple sources suggest it’s important to be extra positive in remote communication, since quick texts and emails can be interpreted in different ways by the reader. Break out the emojis and anything else you think will make your interoffice communications come through with that positive voice.
6. Set Work Life Boundaries
Setting boundaries for your little ones and furry friends or even roommates and friends can keep you from feeling frazzled while you’re getting things done. On the flip side, just because you always have access to your work doesn’t mean you should work all the time! Try to maintain the work-life balance you’re used to. That means work when you are working and do not work when you are spending quality time with your friends, family or pets. Create a calendar or even again set reminders to connect with them so they do not feel like you are ignoring them completely. It keeps you on track with your work and when the reminder goes off for you to take a break it’s a little reward you get for yourself as well.
7. Manage Sound to Avoid Distractions
Too much noise can be distracting, and so can too little. So, finding the perfect amount is crucial to being productive. Depending upon the environment you work in, whether it is a noisy area, sound canceling headphones are a worthwhile investment. If silence is getting to you when you’re used to the hum of a busy office, try playing quiet music or turning the TV on at a low volume. It is strange how these little things can make for a more productive work life if you properly leverage them.
8. Do What Works for You!
Most importantly, find out what’s works best for you. While working from home can be challenging, there are plenty of benefits to balance that. Yet, there are also cons to consider and the best way to not let those get into your productivity flow is to identify them early. Remember, your space should be set up for you to be productive. And don’t forget to schedule things out that make you happy so you have something to look forward to.
Also, live your best work from home life!
We’re all practicing social distancing at AgentMarketing, and we hope that you are too in your own personal lives. Remember we are here for anything you need and please reach out to us if you run into any roadblocks. Stay safe, stay healthy and we hope to see you out and about soon!