It's early days for many people working from home and some of us are just making the transition. Working from home sounds great, but the reality is that it's a lot more than just eliminating your commute. In my experience, effectively working from home means making some key adjustments (and avoiding temptations) in order to have as normal a workday as possible. So, here's my list of 5 best practices to getting it done.
This means setting your alarm and completing your normal get-ready-to-go routine including getting dressed and arriving at your "office" in the same way you would after your morning commute. I can't emphasize this enough, because what this does is set your mind to the day and reinforce to those you live with, that your work day has begun.
2. Make a Workspace
Some of you may be lucky enough to have an office in your house. Others may only have a kitchen table, bedroom, or desk to work on somewhere in your house or apartment. Whatever your living environment, pick a place and stick to it. If you don't have a desk or an office, just take a basket or a box and put your office supplies in it, like pens, paper, phone charger, mouse pad, etc. If you office is a mess, clean it up. Make sure it's someplace you can tolerate spending the bulk of your day in, but stay with it and don't wander around the house every day working whereever you sit down.
3. Stick to Working Hours
Rely on your normal work schedule at home too. If you usually work from 8am to 4pm, then that's your schedule. The temptation will be to either shorten or lengthen those hours. Don't give in! It's still your workday, so stick to your schedule.
4. Take Normal Breaks
If you usually take lunch from 12pm to 1pm, then do that. Don't eat lunch? Then don't. Have a break with colleagues in the lunchroom mid-morning? Call or chat with someone also working at home for 10 or 15 minutes. Get up and move around regularly just like you would at the office. One important suggestion here is to not turn the TV on during the day. If you need background noise, play some music.
5. Focus Like Everyone's Watching
I regularly use a white noise app on my laptop (White Noise) or my phone (Relaxio) which helps me focus when I'm not on a call. The point is that you will be tempted to play solitaire for an hour or cruise Facebook or get distracted by the kids running around the house. Create a work space in your head by pushing out distractions and concentrating on the work at hand.
All five of these best practices are things I do everyday, but I'm not perfect, I also take a moment to let my grandson show me his newest Lego creation or get dinner going in the afternoon. Working at home doesn't have to be a rigid set of do's and don'ts, but to be successful at it, you do need to create a normal working environment. Not only will this help you adjust, but it also help your family adjust as well. Good luck my friends and let me know how you're doing.
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