If you’re permitted for remote work during a quarantine, great! You can still get your work done and your company is still able to make money – without you being exposed to the office. But what if you’ve never worked remotely before? The general idea is simple, but here are some tips to help you be successful.
What Are the Positives of Working from Home?
Remote work can be helpful in getting rid of distractions and has shown increased levels of productivity. “Work-from-home employees work a true full-shift (or more) versus being late to the office or leaving early multiple times a week and found it less distracting and easier to concentrate at home”. If that’s not enough, “Employee attrition decreased by 50 percent among the telecommuters, they took shorter breaks, had fewer sick days, and took less time off” according to Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom and his experiment of 500 employees that you can watch, here.
Define Your Work Hours
Because there are little to no distractions from working from home (WFH), overworking is more common. Before your WFH schedule is implemented – define your hours. Are you working the same shift as you would be in the office? Do you get a “lunch” break? Do you just need to be available during a certain time period? Do you just need to get your tasks done for the day? Define these boundaries and set them.
Take Breaks (Regularly)
When you do get a lunch break or bathroom break – don’t bring your work with you. This will allow your brain to recharge and give you the boost you need. Standard break times are typically a lunch hour and two 15-minute breaks, but confirm your breaks with your employer ahead of time. Set a timer on your phone for those break periods, and actually take your break.
Keep Your Morning Routine
We don’t mean dress in business professional attire, but you should still get dressed when WFH. Get out of your pajamas– even if it’s to put on comfortable clothing. Get ready for your day as you would if you were leaving the house. Wake up with enough time to have your breakfast, brush your teeth and follow your regular morning routine. Although it may be nice you have no commute, waking up 5 minutes before you’re supposed to be “available” can affect your productivity. Be sure to give yourself enough time to get ready and wake up in the morning.
Create a Workspace
Whether you have a home office, a desk at home or you have to do your work at the kitchen table – try to conjugate all your belongings in one place. This will help you stay focused when you are in that space. On the contrary, there is a perk of being able to switch up your environment when working from home by moving around the house if you’re feeling uninspired or in need of a scenic change. But regardless, you should still have a main hub that you go back to.
Create Background Noise
Remote work has been shown to be more productive because of the lack of distractions and the quiet atmosphere. However, you don’t want the environment to be too quiet – or it can prevent you from focusing. When there is minimal background noise, your mind learns to drown out the sound and focus. When it is too quiet or there is no background noise present, your mind can wander causing whatever noises that do occur to get all of your attention. To address this, put the television on in another room with low volume, and/or put some quiet music on in the background. Problem solved. You may even have more fun working with whatever music you’re listening to. Listening to music also increases productivity, but that’s for another blog.
Explain Your Schedule to Your Family
If you are working from home with family or kids – explain to them your situation. Share where your workspace will be, that if the door is shut you need privacy or are on a call, that they should try to keep sounds to a minimum – and that you need to be working and available during your work hours.
If you have young kids and are working from home, communicate your schedule with your spouse, and try to come up with a plan. If you are the sole provider for your child, use naptime to get your most important work done. Create a station of things that your child can play with during your work time, utilize screentime, movies, and even hire out help if you are able. Even if someone takes your child out of the house for just an hour or two. At the end of the day – you are going to have to do your best. Being able to work from home, is better than not doing so at all and your work not getting done. So, give yourself some grace and be patient.
When you’re first starting out working from home, you want to ensure that communication is clear amongst you and your team. Because you are no longer in the presence of your coworkers, manager, or boss – you’ll have to share your tasks, what you’ve accomplished, and what your goals are – directly. Be sure to track what you’ve completed so you can provide updates when needed. This helps build trust as well.
Stick to Your Schedule
When you’ve reached your hours for the day, be sure to log off and shut down your computer. It can be very easy to continue working outside of your hours because your work is so accessible. Avoid doing this if you’re able. You need to create boundaries for yourself in order to be at your most productive. So when your day is over – log off until the next day.
Make Self-Care a Priority
When working from home, it’s very easy to overwork, and although you may feel that you’re being productive, we need a combination of both rest and work, to fully recharge and be at peak productivity levels. Evaluate your routine and be conscious of this. Make sure you’re drinking enough water, eating healthy, staying active and getting outside. This will help your focus and let you be productive when you need to be.
Regardless if you enjoy working from home or not, enjoy it for what it is! You’re home, you’re safe, and you are able to continue working while helping the business run.
Have you worked from home before? What are some tips you would give to someone who is new to the WFH life?
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