March 24, 2020
Working From Home: The New Normal
Working from home has its benefits, for many modern professionals working from home every once in a while is a luxury that our respective companies afford us. However, given the current landscape, we are being asked to work from home as a precaution which could last for quite some time.
Here are some tips for getting set-up in your work-from-home space:
1. Get started early.
When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to work by the time you get to your desk. At home, however, the transition from your pillow to your computer can be much more jarring.
Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Simply getting a project started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day. Otherwise, you’ll prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.
2. Pretend like you are going into the office.
The mental association you make between work and an office can make you more productive, and there’s no reason that feeling should be lost when telecommuting.
When working from home, do all the things you’d do to prepare for an office role: Set your alarm, make coffee, and wear nice clothes. Internet browsers like Google Chrome even allow you to set up multiple accounts with different toolbars on the top — for example, a toolbar for home and a separate toolbar for work.
3. Structure your day like you would in the office.
When working from home, you’re your own personal manager. Without things like an in-person meeting schedule to break up your day, you can be quick to lose focus or burn out.
To stay on schedule, segment what you’ll do and when over the course of the day. If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks. Google Calendar makes this easy.
4. Choose a dedicated work space.
Just because you’re not working at an office doesn’t mean you can’t dedicate a workspace. Rather than cooping yourself up in your room or on the couch — spaces that are associated with leisure time — dedicate a specific room or surface in your home to work.
5. Take clear breaks.
It can be so easy to get distracted as a telecommuter that you avoid breaks altogether. Don’t let the guilt of working in the building you sleep in prevent you from taking five minutes to relax. Rather than just opening YouTube and watching some comfort clips, use your breaks to get away from your desk. Spend time with others who might also be in the house, or do some exercise in another room.
6. Pick a definitive finishing time each day.
You might be under the impression that working from home establishes more work-life balance, but be careful with that assumption. Working from home can also feel like being at a casino — you can get so caught up in your activity, in a relaxing environment, that you lose complete track of time.
In lieu of coworkers, who’s packing up and leaving the office reminds you to do the same, set an alarm at the end of the day to indicate your normal work day is coming to an end. You don’t have to stop at exactly that time, but knowing the work day is technically over can help you start the process of saving your work and calling it quits for the evening.
With the working from home being the new normal for a great number of people, it is a really important to establish a routine. Asking for tips and adopting practices that work best for you, and your family will make this a much easier transition.