I’ve been working from home for the past 16 years and love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Surviving working from home when you’ve never done it, can be challenging.
Working from home isn’t for everyone and takes discipline.
I thought with all the people recently forced to work from home due to COVID-19, I’d share some tips that have helped me over the years.
- Find a dedicated space. Even if it’s temporary, have a place you go to in your home. If all you have is a bedroom then try to create the environment there, a small table near a window would work well. If you have a dining room or kitchen to use, then set up on a table in there. You may need to move at the end of the day for dinner if you don’t live alone. Sitting on the couch in the living room with the TV on probably isn’t going to work.
- If you have a family with young children home, try to set boundaries. Let others know you are home to work, and there will be time after your day is done for time to be part of the family. If it’s hard to have quiet time, get a pair of noise-canceling headphones. I use Bose QC-35’s and love them. Unfortunately, they are not cheap.
- Get up and do the same routine you’d do if going into the office. If you get up at 6:00 am, shower and get dressed. If you have an hour commute, then use that time to listen to a podcast, audiobook, or catch-up on the news. Start work at the same time.
- If you’re used to a busy office, have the radio on or TV in another room to provide some background noise. Silence can be hard to deal with, and adding some level of noise can help. I like quiet when I’m deep in work but like background sound otherwise.
- Stay in touch with coworkers via Slack, Zoom, or other means. Brief video calls with Zoom during the day can help you feel connected. This one is probably one of the most important. It can be lonely working from home, and you have to figure out how to fill the void.
- Leave your desk for lunch, even to the living room or deck. It would help if you got away from your computer.
- Take plenty of breaks. It’s essential to get away from the computer, so get up and get some water (yes, drink plenty) or set outside.
- Eat as you do at work, don’t indulge because the food is close. Too much food can make you feel lethargic and lead to unnecessary weight gain.
- End your day by making some notes about what you plan to work on the next workday. This way, you get to your computer and have a plan to get your day started. I’ve gotten into this habit; it reminds me of what I was working on and where I need to start for the day.
- Stop working the same time you usually do, don’t feel like you should be working more because you’re home.
I hope this helps.
Remember, it’s only temporary. Maybe this new lifestyle will suit you, and you will want to work from home more.