“The new normal” is in full swing, and for some of us, working from home has become an integral part of that. With a little planning and strategy, getting adjusted to working from home doesn’t have to be stressful.
Here are a few common-sense best practices to keep in your pocket that makes working from home just as productive as going to the office.
Make sure you’ve got what you need.
Whatever the work, we all have stuff we need in order to get our jobs done. Computers, reliable wi-fi, a camera for online meetings, a set of mutable headphones, printers, paper, etc. All those office resources and supplies we use there need to be in our home-based headquarters. Speaking of headquarters…
Establish a “headquarters” in your house.
Everyone needs a space where they can work without distractions, and establishing an area designated as your office somewhere in the house is essential for that. It can be anywhere, as long as it’s a space that promotes focus and concentration- which means avoiding areas with a TV, or high-traffic places like the kitchen table.
This not only gives you space to think and concentrate- but it also communicates to everyone else in the house that while you’re there, you’re working and not to distract you. Speaking of communication to everyone else…
Working from home means sharing your home in some ways with your co-workers. If you’re in a virtual meeting or on a call, and you’ve got a dog who likes to bark at the UPS guy, you may want to give them a heads up.
Likewise, let your family know what you need from them to work productively. It would be helpful to post your schedule with those times highlighted where you will need quiet un-interruption. Speaking of schedules…
Keep a schedule.
Some of us can work just fine without a set time to accomplish what we need to do- procrastination just isn’t in your vocabulary. For many of us, however, keeping a consistent schedule is essential to stay on track. Get out of bed at the same time you regularly would, or pick a time and stick to it. Likewise, try to call it a day at a reasonable time. No one wants to skype and talk about payroll at 11:30 PM. (Well, some people might, but we don’t know them…)
Take coffee breaks.
Just as you’d need breaks at work, take some at home too. Duck out to make a cup of coffee or tea, or fold the laundry, or both. As long as the time gives you a minute to get out of your head (that’s what breaks are for, after all)- it’s all good.
Make daily to-do lists.
It’s helpful to make to-do lists, and it’s satisfying when you get to cross stuff off of them, but while you’re working from home, you’ll need two. Make a list for work and a separate list for the home. At the end of the day, it’s all stuff that needs to get done, but it’s helpful not to mix the two if at all possible.
Depending on what your needs are, the flexibility may be a welcome change from the usual 9-5. You can work in your jammies if you like, make that banana bread recipe you’ve meant to try during your downtime, or duck out to walk the dog for 20 minutes.
It’ll take a little time to get into a groove, but working productively from home could turn out to be so much fun, you may not want to go back to the office!