I have worked from home for over a decade, so I thought I would share some tips for those of you who will be adjusting to a new work style. For a number of reasons, I do not discuss my actual job on this here blog- for about five years I had people calling and emailing my boss trying to get me fired, and I like to keep my work life and my blog/personal life separate. So please, no discussion about that in the comments or I will just delete it. You’ll just have to trust me that I do in fact work from home, and leave it at that.
At any rate, some general tips that I think you might find helpful.
1.) Have a separate, discrete place that will be your work space. Don’t just think you can take your laptop and lounge on the couch and get things done. I understand not everyone has a house, many of you live in apartments, so this will be more difficult for some of you, but trust me on this. You want a space that is your designated work area.
Many of you will think this is because it will increase your efficiency, and it is, but it is also for your mental health. Your house is now also your office, and no one can stay at the office all day long without losing it. So you want to have a mindset that “when I am in this room/place, I am working, and when I am in the rest of the house I am not working.”
I have a designated room (my office), and but for rare occasions when I may sit with the laptop on the front porch or on the back porch in nice weather, that is where I work. I do not work in the living room with a laptop. I do not sit at the kitchen table and work from there. I work in my office.
Also, in my office I have a Herman Miller chair I purchased and adore. It is worth the money and better than replacing a cheap chair every year. Make sure your work provides you with the computing and other office supplies you need.
2.) Keep a schedule. It doesn’t have to be a formal schedule, it doesn’t have to be a super strict schedule, but it does have to be a schedule. Get yourself in the mindset that during certain hours you will be working and other hours you will not.
3.) Get up and move every half hour. Whether it is to give the dogs a pet or a treat, go to the bathroom, go downstairs and grab some ice, etc.
4.) Try to keep your designated workspace clean. There are no janitors coming to clean after you go home- it’s up to you, bub.
5.) I personally like to shower when I wake up, just as if I was going to an office. Wakes you up, makes you feel more alert, etc.
6.) If you work with sensitive material, get a VPN/learn how to encrypt. I am sure others here can fill you in more on security issues.
7.) This is super important- most people (not, you know, introverts like me) can start to get manic if they go without human interaction and the assurances that come with talking and working with people face to face. So don’t just rely on email. Talk to people on the phone about the email you sent, facetime them, stay in touch. People are used to running into people in the hallway to discuss things, seeing you in your office and chatting, etc. Now they are just getting an email. Communicate with them and let them know you are there.
8.) Make sure you take breaks just like you would at the job.
9.) This may just be me, but even though I have a tv in the office, I turn it off unless there is something breaking I want to watch. Same with music. I rarely listen to music when I work unless it has no words- classical, jazz, etc.
10.) Again, may just be me, but I have a lot of plants in my office.
11.) GO OUTSIDE AND GET FRESH AIR. SIT ON THE PORCH. PUTZ AROUND IN THE YARD. JUST DO NOT BE NEAR PEOPLE.
I’ll add more to this as I think of it, and perhaps some of you have stuff to offer. I do think that for a lot of people, working from home is going to be a lot harder than you think it is. Others of you might take to it and wish it could be like this forever.