I have been working from home for about more than five years now. Even before the pandemic erupted, work for me and my colleagues has always been remote, so to be honest, nothing much has changed for me job-wise. But as much as the work-from-home set up has always been a dream to me, I realized that not everyone feels the same about it. I learned that many people like the structure of the office life, the socializing with colleagues, and thus struggled with transitioning to a home-based work because of the pandemic.
Because of that, one of the most common questions I got asked the past couple of months by friends was this: “Do you have any tips on working from home?”
So now I’m sharing them down here as well, for anyone who might need them.
6. Maintain a regular working schedule.
One of the most common mistakes people do that starts the spiral of unproductivity is thinking that you have a lot of time. You’re home, you don’t need to travel to work, you can start your work at any time, stop at anytime, so you think it’s okay to slack off a bit.
And while there’s nothing wrong with taking things slow, the best way to manage your working days is to come up with a daily schedule. Start work at the same time you would in the office, take a break at lunch, maybe have a mini-break in the afternoon, and end work as the same time you would time-out of the office.
It’s a really weird time we’re living in, so especially if you’re not used to working from home, some sense of normalcy and routine will help you maintain work productivity.
5. Have a home office set up
Very important! To avoid feeling lazy or demotivated, it helps a bunch to have a proper office set-up at home. Invest on a good work desk, computer chair, laptop stand, mouse, light, and anything you think will help you get work done more comfortably and effectively.
For example, a desk with the proper height, a chair, and a laptop stand (if you’re not using a desktop) will help you maintain proper posture while working and therefore help prevent annoying back, shoulder, and neck pains. How your body feels physically also affects you mentally, so an efficient and comfortable working space will also help you be more productive.
Also, don’t be afraid to set boundaries especially if you live with other people or your family. It is better if you have a private room for work, but if not, you can politely ask people you live with to also respect your work space and work hours to minimize distractions.
4. Learn how to stop working.
I know so many people! Just because you have unlimited time in front your computer and not have to pack-up to travel home, doesn’t mean you should keep on working.
It’s understandable that sometimes urgent work stuff come up and you do have to put in some extra hours, but if you can put it off and resume the next day, do. Again, it’s all about sticking to a schedule. Don’t try to finish ALL of your work in one sitting just because you can. This is a bad habit that can lead you straight to burn out, fast.
3. Make time for moving.
If you’re someone who already has a regular workout routine, good for you. If not, this is the time to start. Since you are not traveling or commuting to work anymore, it also means that you probably are not walking a lot anymore. But any form of daily physical activity is so important. It keeps us healthy not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. It keeps our spirits high. It will help you prevent feeling sluggish or forlorn, which can easily happen when you’re indoors for too long and not moving a lot.
It doesn’t even have to be an intense work out. Even a quick 30-minute jog, a walk, or brisk walking outdoors will be good for you. Perhaps you have a doggo? Hit two birds with one stone and take him/her out for a walk!
Now that you’re not in one office space with your colleagues and bosses, you can’t check up on each other as often as you used to. Which means, you have to step up your communication game much more.
In my work team, since we’ve always worked from home, the importance of communication has always been emphasized. Unsure about something? Stepping out and can’t be reachable for a bit? Sick? Have a concern to bring up? Got an idea? Need to follow-up on something? Need to a bit more time on a task assigned to you? Communicate, communicate, communicate.
We’ve learned over time that no issue cannot be resolved as long as we properly communicate. This also helps us support and look after one another much better, which in turn, also promotes camaraderie within the team.
According to some friends of mine, what they miss most about working in the office is having a sense of community. They loved having people around, socializing, collaborating, and just having fun work banters. I know that physical presence cannot be easily replicated, but keeping an open line and staying social with colleagues will help you feel much better. It helps you remember that even though you are isolated, you are not alone.
1. Have patience on yourself.
Perhaps the most valuable thing on this list, considering the situation the world is in right now. This is a really, truly bizarre time in history, and so even after you’ve applied all the tips in this list and still find yourself perhaps feeling uninspired or demotivated, know that it is okay. You’re only human! Transitions are hard in any given situation, so what more during a global pandemic? Again, the important thing is that you (going back to #5) communicate with your team and be honest with your struggles, and have patience and allow yourself to take time to adjust.
Are you new to the work-from-home set up? What have been your struggles or learnings so far? Tell us in the comments!