I’ve noticed a lot of discussion about how to cope with working from home if you’re not used to it. Since I’ve been happily working from home for nearly three years, I thought I’d share some advice.
First, for your silver lining, here a few benefits to working from home:
- My commute consists of walking across my house to my office
- I get sick less often
- I can wear yoga pants to the office
- I can go to barre class at the least busy times (at least up to this week — now I workout in my living room)
To work from home successfully, it’s all about minimizing distractions and maintaining work-life balance. Here are my five tips if you’ve suddenly found yourself working remotely.
Set up a dedicated workspace:
Whether you have an office, a guest room/office, or a corner of your loft, setting up a work space is key. I’ve outfitted mine with an external monitor (which really improves productivity!) and a standing desk.
Start using communication tools other than email:
With my clients I use a combination of Slack and Google Hangouts chat for real-time discussion to cut down on email. In addition, I use Uber Conference and Zoom for conference calls, video conferences, and screen shares.
Keep your house clean:
If your house is messy, it will distract you. Make sure you keep your house tidy and your home office as professional as you would your real office. If you’re worried about other distractions (laundry, etc.), close your office door when you “go to work” for the day.
Create boundaries with your family or roommates:
My husband and I both work from home, and we’ve set some boundaries in place to stay productive (and sane!). To ensure we can both get our work done we have our own dedicated workspaces. If one of us has the door shut, it means we don’t want to be disturbed (or at least knock). Also, remember it’s the little things that can make a big difference. If I make lunch, usually I’ll make it for him, too. If one of us needs advice or wants to talk through a work challenge, the other one will try to pause what they’re doing to listen.
Get out of the house:
In this new era of social distancing, this can be more difficult. When we once met friends for happy hour, today, we are looking to the great outdoors to alleviate cabin fever. To ensure I get some fresh air, I take my dog to the park every day. Often, I’ll ski or hike on my lunch break. Whatever it is, just get outside. It also helps if your workspace has a window with a view!
For those of you at home with kids, I feel for you, but unfortunately don’t have great advice. A friend of mine had her husband give the kids an art class so she could get some much needed work done, but assuming you both have to work, I wish you the best of luck.