Make Working from Home (WFH), Work for You!
New to the work-from-home culture? Or maybe you are a work-from-home pro but are suddenly distracted by all of your friends now working remotely, or simply by the daily breaking news. Either way, working from home can be a lot sometimes. When I tell people I work from home, most people ask, “Isn’t it hard to focus and get motivated?” Personally, I have found the opposite. I have been working remotely for a little over a year now and, one by one, I noticed some do’s and don’ts to focus on. I hope you find these tips helpful in keeping you energized and efficient during your workday.
• Set an alarm and get up at the same time every day. Routine is key!
• Get dressed! It’s easy to lounge around in your pajamas all day…and hey, sometimes you need that, and that’s okay! But make a point to start your day like you always have. Take pride in yourself and throw on some clothes.
• Don’t turn on the TV. If you don’t watch television in the office, don’t watch television while you’re working from home. Stay focused and on track.
• Give yourself a lunch break. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember to eat because I get so laser focused on work. Set a daily alarm or calendar reminder and step away from your computer. Your brain needs nourishment to be at its best…plus, you’ll get your steps in!
• I cannot stress communication enough. Schedule daily check-ins with your colleagues (I would even suggest a phone call or virtual meeting over email check-ins). It’s good to discuss what projects you’re working on, progress and deadlines (or anything else you’re comfortable with, even if it’s not entirely work related). Trust me; if you’re over communicating, you’re doing it right. Working remotely does not mean cutting off all human interaction, just like social distancing does not mean social isolation. You no longer have those water cooler discussions or quick coffee runs from the office, so let your social side out with a phone call!
• Deadlines; you didn’t like them before and they are no different now. Working in another location, in this case at home, does not make deadlines any less real. Set them, meet them, conquer them. Someone is relying on you to complete your work, so don’t let them down!
• Last, and perhaps most importantly, respect the end of your workday. You no longer have a change in location to cue your work brain to shut down for the day. It’s easy to keep that computer open and keep going. Don’t. Make a conscious decision to shut down at the same time every day (I told you routine is important) and transition into your personal time. There may not be a physical shift in location, but for your mental well-being, let there be a mental shift and keep your work life and home life independent of one another.
These may seem simple and obvious, but keeping a routine is truly important. Routines not only keep a level of consistency for your work but can also be an added sense of comfort. It can be a slippery slope if you start frequently straying from your daily routine. We’re not talking about working late one night here or there, but regularly letting work consume you because it is so accessible or conversely, allowing yourself to be distracted by your familiar surroundings and missing deadlines or letting the quality of your work slip. So settle in, find a work-life balance routine that works for you, and take comfort that you are not alone in figuring all of this out. Take care and be well.