Tips for Those Struggling to Work From Home
Remote work seems like a dream come true when you don’t want to get out of your pajamas, but without the structure a physical office provides, it can be a nightmare. Whether you’re gearing up for school vacation with the kids or are one of the thousands of Americans self-isolating to stay healthy, these five tips will make working from home a little bit easier.
Even prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, an increasing % of Americans are working from home and the trend continues. In 2012, 39% of Americans worked from home and in 2019 43% worked from home at one time or another.
But that was well before talks of quarantine and self isolation.
For the first time, thousands of Americans will start working from home and some of them may find that it’s tougher than they imagined.
We have added some work from home tips and we are also joined by a few of my colleagues who have provided awesome answers to my “all call” for remote / work from home tips – thank you to all my guests!
1. Create a Comfortable Office Space
If your home office isn’t comfortable, it’s tempting to gravitate to spaces that are. The next thing you know, you’re binge-watching the latest drama in the family room, and your goals for the day are fading fast.
Create a space that you don’t normally use, if possible. Even if you have a desk and computer, try completely remaking your guest room into an office.
Chris Glazer, Senior Director of Operations at Apogee Results
Workspaces that are cozy and well-organized encourage you to stay put and focus. You’ll need an ergonomic chair, a spacious desk, and décor to call your own. If you spend long hours sitting, consider adding a portable standing desk to an existing solid surface. Keep the receipts for whatever you buy that helps you work from home. Tax deductions could save you hundreds.
2. Stick to Your Regular Routine (Or Create a new One)
Create some structure for your week and from that, your day based around your top priorities and your natural strengths and flow.
Una Doyle, Business Strategist & Mindset Coach for Creatives at CreativeFlow
The boundaries between work and play can blur when there are no cues to separate the two. The sight and sounds of the office are what keep our day on track.
Set up a morning routine that helps you take care of your well-being, plan out your day, and transition with intention into your workday.
Taylor Jacobson, CEO at Focusmate
At home, you can simulate the effect by sticking to your normal routine. Take a shower, wear your regular work clothes, and brew your morning coffee as usual — then walk into your home office at the same time you’d regularly get to work. Setting goals for the day helps.
Set specific hours for ‘work.’ This will help you stay structured and productive while minimizing distractions.
Natalie Morton, Project Manager at Sip Dine Design
When break times roll around, take them as scheduled. Don’t eat at your desk. Instead, have a hearty lunch — and then join a group chat with co-workers to stay on top of developments at work while maintaining social connections.
3. Limit Distractions
Set times where you have to work and not get distracted. Think about turning your notifications off so you don’t get sidetracked and end up reading a news article you found on Facebook all-day.
Robin Mannas, The Grand Arbiter at Fire Brothers Inc
Staying goal-oriented at the office is tough enough. Doing it at home within reach of the TV and your cell phone is almost impossible unless you intentionally limit distractions.
I like to do power hours where I focus on something for an hour and use focusmate.com to help me schedule this with other people for accountability.
Lorena Tomasini, Owner at MALM Life and Health Insurance Agency
If you’re used to working in a noisy environment, white noise like background music can help you relax, but turn off the television or close your office door if your children are home. Silence your phone unless you need it to do your job, and let the people around you know you need alone-time to concentrate. They love you, and they’ll understand.
Separate your work and living spaces, take a walk outside when needed, turn the TV off, and turn some ambient music on.
Jacob Smedley, Manager at Smedley Digital
4. Make the Most of Technology
All you need to work from home is a computer, but there are intangible benefits to an office that are tough to replicate.
If you are someone that is struggling to work from home, likely you feed off the energy of working in a group setting. To achieve the same synergy of teamwork have frequent phone or video conference calls with co-workers. It will help boost your morale and keep in better communication and contact with everyone.
Adam Yamada-Hanff, SEO Specialist at Adam Yamada Hanff
Enter tech like Pomodoro — it’s a break time app that keeps you on task — and Focusmate — it functions as a virtual office community, helping you plan and meet goals. If this is the first time you’ve worked at home, they’re invaluable.
Get ergonomic: Figure out ways to stand while you work. If you don’t have an external monitor, set your laptop at the right height. Stay connected: I use remote co-working sessions like Focusmate so I don’t feel alone. It really helps with the accountability and focus.
Donna Weber, President at Springboard Solutions
5. Don’t Neglect the Rest of Your Life
Work doesn’t define you no matter where it’s done. Even if social distancing is nixing group get-togethers, you can still connect with family and friends online and enjoy things like regular exercise outdoors. Remote work is not an excuse to become a workaholic — mind the boundaries between being productive and overdoing it. Keep your private life separate.
Without restaurants to go to, it’s also a great time to brush off your cookbooks and spend more time in the kitchen cooking nutritious meals. Make double batches to cover lunches and share recipes with co-workers. It’s a win-win.
6. When You are Stuck – Don’t Spin your Wheels!
Everyone hits a brick wall sometimes on a project, regardless of where you are working. It’s important to identify when you are spinning your wheels and “switch tasking”.
I am a big fan of walks throughout the day to the mailbox or anywhere that allows me to take a moment and it seems I’m not the only one!
Use varied work “modes.” When I’m at the office, I can sit and work at my 1) desk, no music, 2) with music 3) stand instead of sit 4) take a work call in a meeting room 5) go for a walk during a 1:1, etc… These varied work conditions keep the day from getting stale, and it’s a level deeper than your typical “mix things up,” WFH mantra.
Patrick Mackie, Digital Marketing Consultant at Rebrolious
Working from home can be challenging, but more than 40 percent of Americans already do it successfully at least some of the time, and the trend is rising. It takes some adjustment, and taking care of yourself is essential, but you can be just as productive at home as in an office, and the flexibility is rewarding.
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