Print this page

Top Tips for Working From Home

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 24 March 2020 05:00

When you’ve been driving to the office day in and day out, sitting in that uncomfortable chair in those uncomfortable pants and enduring endless in-person meetings that easily could have been short calls, or even shorter emails, working from home can sound pretty darn good. 

But working from home takes a certain kind of discipline. And flexibility. And finesse. Especially if your spouse is also working from home and your kids are out of school. If you’re new to this, we have a few tips that will help it go smoothly. 

Eat and drink—the right stuff at the right time

It’s easy to get caught up in work and forget to eat or get enough water during the day. It’s also easy to take too many trips to the kitchen for snacks, and, before you know it, your healthy habits are going down in a hail of potato chips. Stocking up on healthy food and limiting the high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie snack foods can help you resist temptation.

Build in exercise

Working from home means you’re out of your regular pattern, which means you’re not getting to the gym. You may also find yourself sitting for longer periods while at home without the normal daily office realities of meetings and trekking to different parts of your workplace. There are tons of ways to get in a workout from home—especially now, since a number of gyms and fitness experts have put their workouts online. Many of them are also free. 

Entrepreneur suggests you “take walking meetings when you can. If you have a phone call that you don’t need to be in front of a computer to take, pick up your Bluetooth headphones and get outside. It’s great for your muscles, your heart, your happiness and your overall well-being.” 

Be one with the mute button

It might be cute one time to hear the dog or kids in the background, but you don’t want to make a habit of it, especially if you’re in for a prolonged working-from-home situation. Even small noises that you think nothing of, like ruffling papers, can be amplified over a cell phone. Get used to hitting mute when you’re on calls from home to eliminate the background noise and you won’t have to worry about your three-year-old announcing she just went pee-pee in the potty while you’re on a call with your boss and 10 other executives. 

Designate a work-only space

This may be easier said than done. In some homes, there just isn’t a dedicated home office or even a bedroom with a door you can close. You may find yourself having to work at the kitchen table or in the backyard just to get a little privacy. If you can, however, find a private space you can make your own while you’re working from home. It can increase productivity and also allow you to separate work from life so, when you shut the door at the end of the day, you can be present for your family.

Get dressed in the morning

Or don’t. It’s totally up to you. Many people who work from home feel it makes them more productive if they get up, take a shower, and change into work-appropriate clothes. Others think working in their jammies is the best thing ever (We tend to agree). The trick to successfully working from home is figuring out what works for you.

Make a schedule

“Set a schedule, and stick to it...most of the time,” said PCMag. “Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance. That said, one of the benefits of remote work is flexibility, and sometimes you need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone else's time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning to make up for it. Automatic time-tracking apps, such as RescueTime, let you check in on whether you're sticking to your schedule. They can also help you figure out what times of day you're most productive versus when you slack off. You can use that information to your advantage by reserving your hours of high focus for your most important tasks.”

Give yourself a break

Set an alarm to get up once an hour, stretch, and walk around the house for a few minutes. “Know your company's policy on break times and take them. If you're self-employed, give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone,” said Buzzfeed.

Be social

Working from home can feel isolating, especially if you get energy from your regular workspace and colleagues. “One undeniable loss is the social, casual ‘water cooler’ conversation that connects us to people,” said NPR. “To fill the gap, some co-workers are scheduling online social time to have conversations with no agenda. Use Slack chats and things like that if you miss real-time interaction.”

Inc. has a few good ideas for how to be social during your break time. “Walk around your home while chatting on the phone with a friend. Move to a separate area—away from your email—to eat lunch for 30 minutes. Breaking up the day and moving your body enables you to refresh and can increase your productivity when you return to your work. When the weather is nice, I like to do conference calls while taking a walk outside.”

Rate this item
(1 Vote)