Everyone needs to work from home sometimes. We’ve discussed how to best present and prepare in this post and the same goes for working remote. Whatever the case, there are definite do’s and don’ts of working from home in order to stay productive and the golden rule is “don’t do anything at home you wouldn’t in your office”. Let’s take a look!
The Morning Routine
Just because you aren’t physically going into the office doesn’t make it okay to roll out of bed and work in your pajamas. Not only will this do nothing to help you wake up for the day, it’s also seriously distracting and may make you want to slip back into bed. The biggest thing you lack when working from home is structure, so it is extremely important to maintain your morning routine regardless of where you are working from. Get up and exercise, take your dog for a walk, eat breakfast, shower, do your hair or makeup, and put on an outfit that makes you feel good about yourself. Once you sit down to work, turn your phone on silent just like you would at the office and work.
Establish An Office Area
Never set up shop in your bedroom or in front of the TV. You’re just begging to be distracted and laze around. A home office, dining room table, even the kitchen counter or island can all provide a flat surface and seat needed to establish a workstation. When choosing your space, keep in mind how much surface area is needed for all your work materials such as laptop, phone, notes, etc. Good, natural lighting is super helpful for staying productive and gives you an instant mood boost. You can also choose to light an energizing candle, think citrus and clean scents, or utilize a diffuser for added ambiance. Once you have everything together, ensure the surface is clean and free of any clutter, dirt, crumbs, or dust. Something else to keep in mind is your computer itself. You should hide distracting apps like games, or any Social Media not used for work and remove personal project folders and files from your desktop.
You wouldn’t be looking in the office fridge every fifteen minutes so don’t look in your fridge either! It is extremely tempting to grab the chips or cookies from the pantry and chow down while you work from home. Trust me, I know. It may not seem like a big deal, but this is a major distraction. No one wants to log into a webinar or conference call to the sound of crunching bags or chewing. And no one wants greasy fingerprints and crumbs all over their keyboard. To curb those cravings, schedule your usual lunch time and keep a large refillable water bottle at your desk space to stay hydrated and healthy.
Set Boundaries with Your New Coworkers
Furry friends don’t understand the concept of personal space. Usually, it’s funny when your cat just can’t get close enough and lays across your keyboard. And usually, it’s cute when your dog has the zoomies and can’t calm down. But when you are working from home, it makes it a little difficult to stay on task or answer the phone. Make sure you have a pet gate ready to keep an eye on them while they are banished from your office space. It is also important to stick to their scheduled feeding times, walks, and playtime. Pets need routine just children, just like us. Speaking of, if you have children who are staying home with you it is also important to establish a schedule for snacks, activities, quiet time, etc. Take time every morning before you’re on the clock, or in the evening to set up any scheduling and tasks necessary to keep everyone at home happy and organized.
Respect Your Colleagues’ Time
Don’t forget your employer is working around your physical absence. You may still be working, but you are not there to answer the phone, have a quick chat, status meeting, etc. Even though it is just one phone call away to you, it is still that extra step for all involved. Working from home is not an excuse to slack off and take your time accomplishing tasks. A strong team communicates and works together to reach their goals. Create a list of to-dos with your employer or colleagues at least once a week to stay on task and keep everyone on the same page. And last but not least, do not forget to thank your colleagues for working with you as you operate remotely!