When you’ve been sitting in traffic or the subway and spending all day at the office, working from home sounds like such a dream – until you’re logging on for a Skype with your toddler running around in the background. Even before our worldwide circumstances led to an instant remote workforce, this style of employment has been steadily gaining in popularity. According to research by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, working-from-home has grown by 91% since 2010 with nearly 4.7 million people around the globe now logging in remotely!
So how can you be productive and successful working from home without sacrificing your home life (or sanity). Try these ten tips gathered from veteran freelancers and at-home desk warriors.
A special note as coronavirus has changed all of our workplaces in these times of uncertainty – be kind to yourself right now! It’s okay to be slightly less productive. It’s okay to take more mental health breaks or spend the afternoon coloring with your kids. Show up for your family, give yourself space to adjust to all the change, and spend time (remotely!) connecting with your social network. We all need to share our experiences now and everyone is dealing with the same pressures of combining work and family.
Ten Remote-Working Tips Learned from Experience
- Set up a dedicated work station just like your desk. Pick the quietest corner you can find and, if at all possible, not in your bedroom. Gather all the supplies you’ll need (not just pens and paper but a stapler, paper clips, and file folders). Make sure your makeshift office has good access to internet – if you’re choosing a corner far away from your router, you may experience spotty internet.
- Double check your technology! Can your current internet handle the extra load? Is your camera and microphone (or headset) sufficient enough to productively participate in remote meetings? Try it out with your kids or relatives who are also stuck at home. If you’ve never used remote working tools such as Skype or Zoom, give it a practice run before the big meeting.
- Act like you’re going into the office. Keep your normal routine – prepping the night before, waking up at the same time, eating breakfast, working out, keep doing whatever you normally do. (Yes, this means getting dressed and putting on makeup). This simple routine will put you in work mode.
- Think about ergonomics. Get a good office chair and desk that mimics what you’re used to in your regular office! Your back and neck will thank you later. Make sure you have good task lighting and temperature control of the space.
- Call a family meeting. Your family is likely not used to being home together all the time! Make sure you set up expectations for all of you living and working in this space. Create a few simple office rules and post them near your door – for instance, if your door is closed, please knock before coming in. If you have little kids, set up a mini-desk for them so they can “work” beside you for part of the day. Be sure to recognize and reward good behavior.
- Take a real lunch break! Do not eat at your desk – now would be a good time to sit with the kids, eat together, and go outside to get a little fresh air.
- Work normal hours with a set start and end time. One of the biggest work-from-home pitfalls is you are never “away” from work. Leave work (and emails, texts, and calls) in your office space once the evening hours and weekends hit.
- Take stretching breaks (good advice for anywhere). Brendon Burchard of “High Performance Habits” recommends setting a timer for 45 minutes . . . and when it goes off you must stand up and stretch or move around for 5 minutes. You’ll be surprised by how energizing this is both physically and mentally.
- Create a comfortable workspace! Don’t forget to personalize your new office just like you would away from home. Include your favorite pieces of art and family photos and freshen it up with flowers or live plants.
- Keep your office routine as much as possible. Believe it or not, you are going to miss hanging around the breakroom! Check in with your work friends on a regular schedule – try Slack or What’s App to stay in touch. You’re all going through the same things right now and you need that social interaction.
Bonus Tips: How to Participate in a Remote Meeting without Embarrassing Yourself!
- Look at what’s behind you! If it’s at all questionable (as in offensive language or artwork), remove it or change the angle of your camera. Also try to avoid having a light source directly behind you.
- Close all unrelated tabs in case you end up screen sharing.
- Wear pants (not pajamas!) – you might have to stand up!
- Prepare like you would for an in-person meeting with all the files and notes you’ll need.
- If all else fails be ready to mute your camera and microphone for emergencies.
And, of course, your workday needs fuel!! Be sure to stock up on healthy snacks for all your office mates – choose from our variety of snack kits including gluten-free, vegan, keto, paleo, all-natural and all delicious. Shop here . . . shipping is FREE in the U.S.