Working from Home Tips From a Seasoned Professional
If you’re are able to work from home you might already be set into a routine already. It can be easy to fall into patterns of staying in your PJs all day and lounging around. Totally rock the comfy pants but there are other ways to survive in this new work from home state. For the last 20 years I’ve worked from home in some capacity. Below are my tips for making the most of the work from home environment.
- Recognize this is a completely different situation
Before even thinking about working from home, recognize that this situation about being forced to work from home is different. No one is thriving in this environment. We are worried about our families and the world while also trying to manage work responsibilities, childcare and household management. It is a herculean task.
- Get outside
For me, getting outside is incredibly important and greatly improves my mental health. I could be having a crappy day and a short walk around the block or on a trail can really change my mood. Right now just feeling like I can’t leave the house is a bit suffocating. In our house we’ve been trying to start the morning with a daily walk. In a way it mimics the start of our day before the virus where we would walk to the bus stop. The fresh air is really helpful to me so we also tried to do an evening walk or I’ll try to do a run.
- Shower and get dressed
It is soooo tempting to stay in your PJs all day. I mean who’s gonna know? I’m not sure about you but if I’m in my PJs for most of the day I don’t feel great. I’m in a completely different mindset if I change and put something else on. No one is saying that you need to put on a suit or a dress or even jeans but just the act of putting something else on -leggings or a different shirt – can alter your mood.
- Work at a desk
Sitting on the couch all day doing your work may seem exciting at first but in a few days or weeks your back and neck will start to bother you. Believe me and all the time I’ve spent at the acupuncturist. It’s extremely important to work at a standing or sitting desk if you’re doing a lot of computer work. You’ll be more focused on your posture and you’ll see less aches and pains.
- Determine a Dedicated Workspace
For me this is really important. I have an area in my house where I go to do my work. When I leave that area I know that I’m home and can redirect my attention on the kids or household tasks. It helps create separation for me so I don’t feel that I’m working all the time. Not everyone can have a dedicated room but if there’s an area that you go to every day you can still create some separation.
- Take a break
For the last year, I’ve been working with a physical therapist and acupuncturist on some back and neck issues. One thing they stressed to me is how it’s important to get up and take a break. They suggest getting up every hour to stretch and to walk around. Just 1-2 minutes has helped me tremendously.
- Keep distractions to a minimum
Part of this can be accomplished by having the dedicated workspace but there are some other thing you can do too. I know that I work best with some music and with my phone in another room. Working in 20 to 30 minute increments and then taking a break works increases my productivity. If a task I’m working on is a bit mindless then I’ll throw on a podcast or audio book to keep the work space moving.
- What about the kids
Good luck ! No really, do your best and be gentle with how you judge yourself. I put together a list of some free activities organizations are offering online.