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Getting a Handle on Working From Home

news | March 20, 2020

So, you’ve been told to work from home. Even if you’ve done it on occasion — for one or two days a week — working from home full time can seem much more daunting. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Set Your Alarm

Set the tone for the day by continuing to do what you always do. Wake up at the same time, make breakfast and go through your pre-work routine. It will help to put your mind in “work” mode.

Get Dressed

As tempting as it may be to spend the day in your pajamas, don’t. Take a shower, get dressed and brush your hair. It will help you maintain the line between work life and home life. Also, you will probably have some video conferences and no one wants to see you in your Snoopy PJs.

Designate a Workspace or Home Office

Most of us are used to going into the office and it is important to recreate that separation from home and work as much as possible. If your home has an office, designate that as your workspace. If it doesn’t, designate a spare room, a corner of your game room or even the patio as your office. If two of you are working from home you may need to alternate office hours or find separate spaces, if possible.

Keep Clearly Defined Working Hours

Because of laptops and cell phones, the line between work and home hours is already blurred, but it’s even harder when your home is also your office. Let your family know what your hours are and remind them with a sign on the door of your office. Resist the temptation to work outside those hours.

Take Breaks

If you are like most people, you don’t sit at your desk all day. You take time for coffee breaks and to have lunch. You should do the same at home. Keep your coffee maker in the kitchen so you have to leave your office. Try not to eat at your desk. If you usually eat lunch with a group from the office, set up a virtual lunch date via text, Skype or Discord.

Exercise

Exercise is a great way to take a break and improve your mood. If you have a home gym, use it. Otherwise, you can stream a daily exercise class, play tag with the kids and even take a walk around the neighborhood.

Minimize Distractions

It’s very tempting to be on your phone scrolling through news stories right now. That’s understandable, but try to stay off Facebook while you are working. Other distractions might include household chores such as laundry or DIY work. If you wouldn’t do it while you are at the office, don’t do it while you are at your home office.

Communicate With Co-Workers

Remember that you aren’t working in a vacuum. You will still need to talk to your boss and colleagues. Check in via text, emails and phone calls. Don’t be afraid to over-communicate and suggest video chat whenever possible. It helps to feel less isolated when you can see a friendly face.

Family Ties

People who are used to working from home aren’t used to doing it when other family members and kids are also at home. This is a tricky situation, especially with kids who will need help with schoolwork. Teens will be pretty self-sufficient but younger kids, not so much. Consider sharing the teaching load with your spouse. While one person works, the other can be helping kids with their schoolwork.