Tips When You Work From Home

March 11, 2020
Woman Sitting At Computer Working From Home

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Amid fears of Covid-19 and to help flatten the curve, a lot of companies have decided to have their employees work from home. If that's you, welcome to the club of more than 3.7 million people who already work remotely, full or part time.

As someone who has worked from home a lot over the course of my career, I've got a few tips to help you transition if it's new to you. I know it can sound amazing - and in a lot of ways it absolutely is - but working from home does have challenges. My biggest trap was discipline. If I didn't have a designated office or workspace, I found myself too easily distracted and sometimes knowing my deadlines were self-imposed, it made proscrastination common.

Dedicate A Workspace

The first thing I recommend to anyone suddenly working from home is to set aside a space in your house dedicated only to the workload. Even if it's just a corner in the bedroom or kitchen, that desk or table should be reserved for the job you've got to do. This means, don't just sit in bed with your laptop in your pjs.

Get Dressed

Another trick that might sound obvious (but isn't) is to get dressed. I'm not talking about a three piece suit and heels - if there's any advantage to working from home it's that slippers will do. But you still need to get out of the wardrobe you wore to bed.

Track Your Time

When you work from home, it can be super easy to multi-task between running your household and replying to emails. You might find yourself responding to texts or taking calls or even planning meetings on your phone while you're also doing dishes or laundry or cleaning up the living room. Those are minutes you probably won't "count" as working hours and they can add up - fast. Resist the urge to care for business unless you've carved out specific times and hours to do it. And track that time honestly.

Stay Connected To Co-Workers

One of the top concerns people have when working from home is that colleagues may not believe weight is being distributed evenly. 62% of those surveyed said they thought their co-workers would think they weren't working as hard. Whether it's true or not, just imagining that resentment lingers can limit productivity. Use working from home as an opportunity to bring the best part of your personality out with co-workers and maybe don't remind them that you're in those slippers.

Be Productive

Most people don't believe commuting to a physical office away from home is necessary in their jobs and a lot of companies report increased productivity when employees can flex schedule or work remotely - but it can be tempting to slack off. Don't. Look at working from home as a benefit that you need to keep. Treat your job more seriously. Get the project in on time - or early. Log the work, log the hours and maybe even come in for a meeting if necessary.

Enjoy Yourself

Finally, while it's important to have the dedicated workspace and getting dressed matters - you can "cheat". If there is a day you just aren't feeling it or you really want to stay in those comfy jammies in your bed and know you don't have a video conference pending, give yourself a break and do it. Not often, but enough to realize how fortunate working from home is. This will help you work even harder to hang onto the new found freedom of no commute and a flexible schedule that lets you conference call without make up drinking coffee that comes from your home brew. ;)


Got any other tips for working from home? Let me know in the comments section.