There has been a surge in companies that have recently recommended to their employees that they work from home given the current health conditions. This presents a unique situation for many people as they have never had the opportunity to work from home. Your entire workday is different when you work in an office compared to that of someone that is remote. There is no commute. There is no “water cooler” conversation. Just work. So why do people, like me, do it every day? I believe there are more benefits from working from home than in an office, but there are some drawbacks.
Dedicated place to work
It goes without saying but you should have a dedicated place to work. Whether it be your bedroom or an office, you need a place to work that is quiet and free from distractions. I have an office now, but I have worked from a bedroom before! The key is to find a place that is separate from your normal day to day living area so that you can focus in on the work. If all else fails, there is always Starbucks or even your local library.
We live in an age where we are always connected. Be sure you use it to your advantage! Talk to coworkers on your instant messaging service so that you are in contact with them. Since you’re not in an office setting, there is little time for chit-chat! Also, use your camera when on conference calls. This goes a long way if you are meeting with clients or even coworkers. Yes, this means you need to look presentable, but you don’t need to worry about where you are given most video conference services now provide virtual or blurred backgrounds.
Keeping a schedule
It is important to keep a schedule so that you stay on task. We all have our routines; check email, coffee break, project work, lunch, etc. but it is key to set some sort of schedule while working from home. This keeps you on task with what needs accomplished but also allows for you to plan much easier as new tasks arise each day. This will also help when you want to take some time for yourself and run to Starbucks!
For me, I take some time in the morning to sit with my kids and wife. This helps me set expectations with them on what I have planned for the day (meetings, heads down work, etc.) but also take a moment to enjoy them. I don’t have a commute to my office…it is right down the hall!
Just as important as making and keeping a schedule, consider taking breaks. When working from home you are always on. Ask anyone that does this on a regular basis, you’ll do more work from home than in the office. This is because we live in an age where we are always connected. We always have our phones on us which means we have access to Teams, Slack, email, or anything else you may use!
This does not mean that you must do work all the time. Taking breaks or dedicated time to disconnect is a big part of doing this over a long period of time. I take time each day to eat with my kids, sit down at nap time, and sometimes get outside and play for a bit. The key is to know when you can fit that in. Setting expectations with yourself and loved ones is important for you to achieve your daily goals.
I am sure there are plenty of other areas to consider, but these are the ones I focus on every day. What do you think or what do you do that brings you success when working from home? Leave it in the comments and talk soon!