Working from Home

Amanda Harper

 

Working from home presents unique challenges, no mat- ter what you do for a living. If you’ve never had to run your “office” out of your house, it can feel like a continu- al juggling act. These tips can help you make the most of your workday, no matter where work is.


Set Work Hours

Create a work from home routine and try to stick to it. Not only will this create a sense of normalcy, it will also offer you a better work/life balance. If you’re watching your children, consider a split schedule that better accommodates their needs while providing you with time to focus on work.

Start Without the Screens

Before you start your work, give yourself at least an hour without any screen time. No phone, no laptop, no TV. This prevents you from diving into work the moment you get up.

Get Dressed

You’re not your most focused when you’re in your sweats. I’m not mandating that you put on a real bra (I’m not a monster!) but do put on some pants that have a button. It’s an instant signal to your brain that you’re awake and ready to tackle the day.

Designate a Workspace

Plopping on the couch with your laptop is certainly comfortable, but it’s not going to lead to you doing your best work (in fact, it will probably lead to “Love Is Blind”). Even if you don’t have an actual desk, create a space where you sit upright or stand to work.

Use Signs

Work from home parents often implement signals to let their kids know what’s up. Hang a stop sign to let kids know that you can’t talk with them at the moment. Strike a deal: when the conference call or hour is up, the sign comes down and you’re finally available to answer why the sky is blue.

Communicate

Staying in the loop with your coworkers can be a challenge when you’re working remotely. Consider how often you speak to coworkers face-to-face: that time should now be transferred into emails, phone calls, video conferences and group chats. And while it’s essential to communicate a little extra about your projects and progress, it’s also important to socialize and check in with your staff.

Better Breaks

Take regular breaks. Use those breaks to bolster your mental and physical health in creative ways: step outside, do 5 minutes of yoga, walk the dog, drink a full glass of water, video chat with a friend, have an impromptu dance party or eat an apple.

Set Daily Goals

Lists and planning are more important than ever. Set benchmarks for what “done” for today looks like. If you tend to put too much on your own plate, prioritize your goals from tasks you must complete to things you’d like to get done, if possible.

Be Gentle With Yourself

Fact: it’s okay that you’re not able to give 110% while the dog is barking, the kids are running in circles and your neighbor’s car alarm is going off. Worrying that you’re not doing “enough” is undue stress that will just pile on. You’d have “off” days even in the office, so you’re not slacking if you need to do laundry between checking emails.

Find Solidarity

One of the biggest issues that people who work from home discuss is a sense of isolation. Those feelings can become overwhelming. Seek out people who understand your struggle. Explore blogs and hashtags like #workfromhomelife to learn more about others’ creative solutions to issues you face. We’re all in this together!