A Survival Guide for Working from Home
Seven tips to help you stay sane
It’s inevitable. At some point, you may be asked — or already have been told — to work from home. This time for more than one day. It may be weeks, a month, perhaps even longer.
People love it or leave it…
… when they have a choice. I’m on the love it side. I’ve been a remote employee, as well as freelancer for 12 years combined. You might say, I’m a semi-expert at this. Below are seven tips to help you organize, plan and be successful during this newfound work destination.
1. Be Patient
Working from a new environment isn’t stress-free. When at home, the first few days will be challenging. Your kitchen may call out to you offering coffee, a snack, as well as a stocked refrigerator. The TV will beckon you to listen to the latest news update and you’ll ask yourself is “All My Children” still televised? Even the laundry room gives you a good excuse to avoid work. (Imagine that!)
You’ll have many potential distractions, things you never realized. There will be an adjustment period. Don’t get frustrated, you’ll work through this.
2. Keep to Your Schedule
Maintain your morning chores. Get up at the same hour. Exercise. Shower. Make breakfast. Whatever it may be, stick to your usual morning schedule.
And in the evening, go to your book group, the kids’ sporting events or a movie. But don’t be tempted to stay up late since you save an hour on commute time. Stick to your schedule, bank that potential extra time for your good health.
3. Dress for Work
When you are dressed for work it’s more likely you’ll stay in a professional mindset. There actually is an attitude difference when you’re in leisure wear or business wear. When dressed appropriately you’ll keep a professional attitude, which will help you maintain a mode of productivity. And this productivity is what your company expects when you work from home.
Also, you need to be prepared for a video chat at any time. You don’t want to show up on screen in your terrycloth jump suit and fuzzy slippers.
4. Dedicate a Workspace
You and your family need to understand that your workspace is just that. A workspace. People need to leave you alone, not interrupt. When your door is closed, and they can hear your voice that means you are not available. This will help you stay focused.
Getting out of the house and working from a wi-fi enabled coffee shop, library, or public space is an alternative. Some people need the white noise and activity to be productive.
Note: Recommended tools to work from home.
5. Stay Connected
Working from home can be very lonely, especially as days turn into weeks or longer. Maintain scheduled meetings that usually occur in a conference room or office space by using online tools, like Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc. Make sure to use the video feature, not the dial-in, this will help you feel a sense of connection, and ensure that you Dress for Work (see above). Recently, a friend shared with me that she and a colleague ensure that they get an hour of writing completed every morning from 8 a.m.-9 a.m. by scheduling a Zoom call. They may not say more than “good morning” and “have a great day” during that time. This keeps them connected as well as scheduled each morning.
6. Maintain Your Work Schedule
Stick to your work schedule. If you normally start at 8 a.m., plan to be at your work area at 8 a.m.. Don’t make excuses to start at 9 a.m..
To help you effectively stick to your schedule, create boundaries. Working for hours straight without typical office or production distractions can be a major change. Make sure to take your lunch break as well as morning and afternoon breaks, it’s healthy to step away from your desk. Many people find that they are more productive when they work away from the office. The increased amount of productivity can be really tiring.
At the end of the day, and make sure you end your day, straighten your desk and prepare for tomorrow. Then leave that space and disengage from your work.
7. Separate Your Work from Your Life
Turn off your laptop (and the extended monitor). Get up, stretch and start to think about the remainder of the day. Close the office door and leave work in that space. Go for a walk to clear your mind of that work-related information.
It’s challenging to disengage when your office is in your home. Keep in mind the first topic above, Be Patient. It may take time to make the transition.
I’d love to hear your work from home Survival Tips.
Kimberly Meyers is the principal at Kimberly Meyers & Associates, a marketing consulting firm. Kimberly is a Marketing VP for hire. She develops marketing solutions based on strategic assessment of her client’s business, sales and marketing requirements. She lives by the philosophy of ensuring the appropriate message and content is delivered to the target audience – always, focusing on customer needs and satisfaction. Kimberly welcomes your connection at firstname.lastname@example.org.