Many of us whose work happens primarily in an office environment are adjusting to the reality of working from home. While most of us have done some work from home — responding to emails from bed might sound familiar — working a full day from home is a new experience. And though it may sound like a nice break — no boss walking around the office, you can wear whatever you want and, heck, even sleep in a little — without some simple steps, getting work done in a home office can be challenging.
Our office took early action to direct employees to work from home, so we’ve had a few weeks now to adjust and find out what works and what doesn’t. Here are some tips we’ve found to be helpful for those like us who are adjusting to this new reality.
• Preserve your daily routines. Do you normally stop at the same coffee shop on the way to work each day, or have a favorite morning program you listen to on the drive in? Keep the routines you can. Listen to your radio show before you start the day. Have your coffee with a phone call to catch up with a friend or coworker.
• Get dressed as if it’s casual Friday in your office. No need to put on a suit or dress slacks, but changing into business casual at a minimum will signal to your mind that it’s time to work. And when your day is over, change out of your work clothes as if you’ve just arrived home.
• Get fresh air, while practicing social distancing. Getting up regularly to move about is important. During the normal work day there are many occasions to stand up and move about that aren’t present when working from home. One helpful trick is to set a timer for 45 minutes. When it goes off, get up and move about for 10-15 minutes before coming back to your desk.
• If you aren’t the only person in your household, be sure to set expectations for your working hours for others and for yourself. The home can be a source of distraction, so take steps to minimize those distractions as much as possible. Let others know when you need uninterrupted time to focus on important tasks. Inversely, it’s also easy to spend too much time in front of the screen. Without the natural break of leaving the office at the end of the day, there’s a temptation to keep working. Working from home can allow you to connect with your household, so don’t spend all day staring at your screen.
• Stay connected with your fellow employees, and not just via email. Pick up the phone, use Facetime, or set up a Zoom meeting. It doesn’t always have to be work-related. The office is a place where you share stories about your family or the newest show you are watching. You can maintain that social connection, it just takes a little more effort when you are distanced from your coworkers.
We hope these tips will help keep you motivated, on track, and productive during these challenging times. And it’s nice to know that just by staying home you are doing your part in fighting the spread of the coronavirus in your community.
If you have any other tips for working from home that you’d like to share with us, please reach out — we’d love to hear them!