We are all faced with a “new norm” with the issues of the Corona Virus and how it’s affecting our everyday lives. For some it’s a total lay off from work. For others, it’s working from home.
Sitting at home thinking how I can help since I’m in one of the “at risk” people and need to isolate, I thought of those who are working from home for the first time. Heck, I have been self-employed since 1995! I think after 25 years I’ve learned what it takes to be self-motivated, organized and disciplined. Here are a few “TIPS” which may help with the “Work at Home” adjustment.
- Create a home work space.
If you’re fortunate enough to have “a home office”, use it. It will serve you well to pretend it’s your outside office and you can walk away and close the door to it at the end of the day. If not, create one. Even if it’s a small desk, a kitchen table or a TV tray! (I have a desk for more “deep thought” work and the couch serves for everyday maintenance. I don’t recommend the couch for newbies! It’s too easy to fall over and nap.)
- Establish a routine.
I’m sure you have one. You had one when you went to work outside the home, keep it going now that you work in your home. Get up, grab your coffee, check your email, SHOWER and PUT ON STREET CLOTHES! Yes, I said it. Granted, I have been known to work in my jammies and my wardrobe has changed drastically since a lot of my outfits can be “so casual they may present as pajamas”. But change your clothes. You’ll feel more alive and “work like”.
- Create “hours” when you work.
Just because you’re home, don’t work more than you’re expected to in a day. You’ll burn out and possibly upset those who want your attention in the home. Tell clients, friends, family, etc. what hours you’re “working” so they can respect your time.
- Ask your family to respect your work time.
Those who work from home will ALWAYS get interrupted. It’s very important to set some rules. “If my door is closed, leave me alone.” for example. I work in an exposed environment, so I “announce” when I can’t be disturbed. 99% of the time, they listen.
- Take breaks.
Even at work you get breaks. Leave your work space even if it’s just to surf on social media. Don’t do it from your work computer, use your phone or other device as an example. This tells your mind that you’re on break. AND it makes you stay on break instead of slipping back in and out of work.
- Schedule a full lunch time.
Lunch hour not only gets you away from working, but it gives your family permission to interact without disturbing you. Eat in another space outside of your work space. Kitchen, patio, etc. Take your “full” lunch hour. Remember, you’re ‘at work’.
- Get OUTSIDE!
When you work at home it’s quite possible you won’t see the outside for days. Unless, you plan it. Make sure you get out… even if it’s a walk in your neighborhood. Or a few minutes in your backyard. I find dinner on the deck in the backyard super refreshing and it’s a change for the family too.
- Ask for help.
If you work in a team, even if it’s remotely, ask your colleagues for the things you need to perform your job. If you need upgrades to software or specific tools to work at home, ask your management for their support. It helps to have the tools to successfully work at home.
- Be accountable.
There is no one around to make you do your job. Be mindful of your time and the deadlines you must meet. When you advise a client, co-worker or family member of the time you’ll give them and deadlines you’ll meet, do it. Manage your time just as if you were in your office. Make appointments for calls, online meetings etc. and be mindful of them so you’re not late. Your integrity will never be in question if you’re accountable to those who depend on you.
- Appreciate those who support you.
At the end of the work day, find something positive to share with those who are supporting your efforts to work at home. “Honey, thank you for giving me that quiet time so I could concentrate on my work. You really help me and I appreciate you!” Trust me, it goes a long way. =)
On of the things I look forward to is learning how this forced isolation changes our culture. Not only in the home, but how we work. Who knows… maybe working from home is in your forever future!? Good luck!