Whether it’s the first time you’ve ever worked from home, or just need some pointers to make it as productive–and stressless–as possible, we have some guidance on working remotely gleaned from 30 years in an industry where remote working has always been part of the landscape. So let’s hop right in shall we…
Create Boundaries to Avoid Burnout
The best thing about working from home, can also be the worst thing. Depending of your level of dedication or guilt, when you work from home it is easy to always be working. But trust us, this will only lead to burnout. You need both physical and psychological boundaries.
If you can, section off a dedicated part of your home for working. Even better if that space has a door or even an improvised barrier like a curtain. Treat that space as you would your regular office. So, when you are in that space, you are there for work and nothing else. Take time to set up this space so it works for your needs. HGTV has some great tips for setting up your home office.
Conversely, and it may sound odd given the title of this post, but don’t work where you live. Just as you have a separate space for your work, you need a space where you can relax and not think about work. So, the idea of lying in bed with your laptop might feel like a good idea, but over time it just blurs the work/life line, which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
After getting your physical workspace ready, you need to get your head ready. The goal is to create a pattern of behavior that is as close to normal as possible. Try to make your new home-office life fit the same routines who had when you went to the office every day.
- Shower and get dressed.
Sure, wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt every day might feel liberating and comfy. But psychologically, a normal, getting-ready-for-work routine in the morning will set you up for success for the rest of the day. Don’t’ just take our word for it.
- Have set work hours.
Every business has an open and close time, so should your home office, especially when you work from home. Studies show that people who work from home actually work MORE hours than their office counterparts. But overworking yourself is a recipe for burnout. In your home environment, you may be tempted to perform non-work activities that you also deem important. Save maybe throwing in a load of laundry, use work time to only focus on work. And when the workday is done, try as much as possible to close the door and walk away.
- Keep with your normal routine.
Try to follow the same work routines you followed at your “normal” work environment. Your brain has been trained for this routine over months or perhaps years. So, don’t fight it; going with the flow of a normal workday helps.
- Set daily goals.
One of the biggest things about working from home, especially during this COVID-19 crisis, is getting a sense of accomplishment to keep you motivated. Each morning set a few, achievable, daily goals. This will do wonders for your psyche and keep you on track.
- Get your family’s buy-in.
When you are working from home, distractions from everyday living tend to creep in. So, talk with your family and friends, and let them know that your work day is just that. And just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have all the free time in the world now. At TRUE Marketing, many of us put signs on our home offices when we are working so the rest of the family understands that this is your dedicated work time, and they shouldn’t just come barging in.
- Stay connected. We’ve found that working from home can be more productive because you have fewer social distractions from your colleagues. However, those social distractions also serve an important function. They allow you to form a sense of community with your fellow workmates. Use video conferencing or even simple phone calls to keep that sense of community. In fact, put a regular check-in on the books right now. It’ll keep you motivated, and as social creatures, keeps us psychologically happy.
The Most Important Aspect of Working from Home
Give yourself a break.
These are unusual circumstances, and you’re not going to be perfect. That’s OK. Do the best you can. Like starting a new job, getting into your work groove will not happen overnight. Tomorrow is another day. But you’ve got this. In the words of Stuart Smalley, you’re good enough. You’re smart enough. And gosh-darnit people like you.
We hope this helps organize your new work life a bit. But we’d love to hear from you? What work-from-home hacks have you found to be effective? Let us know in the comments section.
A door if possible (or even a curtain)
Do not work where you live. That comes later. It’s too much temtation early on.
Set Daily Goals
Sense of achievement
Keeps you on schedule
Get your family’s Buy-In
THey need to know work time can’t be bothered
Give yourself a break