The Dos and Don'ts of Working From Home
Because some of our work can be done remotely, our team members often utilize the option to work from home to look after children, avoid nasty weather, or as a normal part of their workweek.
The numbers don’t lie: Accounting for distractions, commute, and burnout, remote employees work around 16.8 more days per year, over three full weeks of production. The current situation will hopefully pass well before the year is through, but regardless it is clearly working from home can be extremely beneficial.
Do dress for success.
It’s hard to find separation when you work from home. Either a million tasks running through your mind, or it’s impossible to keep your head in the game. Before joining WeCreate, I worked from home for over 10 years. My trick for separating “home” and “work” was by getting dressed in the morning. Seriously, it was that simple. If I was in slacks and a polo my brain knew I was “at work” and subconsciously kept me more focused.
Don’t forget to leave work at work.
Sometimes it’s just as hard to stop working. Especially if your desk and couch are feet from each other (or the same thing). You can always find “one more” email or “one more” deadline to tend to. To solve this, I actually started changing out of work clothes when the day came to an end. I really find it crucial to stay fresh and not burnt out when balancing a home/work environment.
Do take normal breaks.
While you may not be under the same watchful eye of your supervisor, maintaining a regular schedule is crucial to success while working from home. If you’re anything like me, the moment you step away from a project and pick up something else you lose your place.
That’s not to say breaks are bad at all, but they should fit into your normal schedule.
Don’t hit the snooze button.
My biggest struggle when working from home is deciding when to wake up.
On a day I am working from home, I’m often tempted to sleep right up until it’s time to work. But avoiding my normal morning routine can often set me back 30-60 minutes, meaning I wrap my day later as well.
Sleeping in the amount of time your commute typically takes is great - but don’t push it. Stay in your normal routine as best as possible to avoid throwing off your typical rhythm.
Do have a dedicated workspace.
Whether it’s at your kitchen table, in the basement, or an at-home office, designating a workspace will get you into the right frame of mind. Make it your own and don’t sit in silence, it opens you up to be easily distracted.
Play music in the background (on low) to keep you motivated. Love a song that comes on? Get up and dance like no one is watching…
…and then get back to work like someone (besides your horrified cat) is watching!
Don’t forget about work-life balance.
Working from home can easily let your work life bleed into your home life. When you don’t have coworkers packing up to leave for the day, it can be easy to lose track of time and keep grinding along. While sometimes this may be necessary, don’t let it become a habit.
Set an alarm an hour before your typical workday ends and grab a cup of coffee to plan out your EOD wrap-up.
Cross off your “To-Do” list items for the day. If you forgot one, no worries, you have an hour to get it done!
Do plan ahead as often as you can.
On days I know I’ll need to work from home, I try to have as many house chores finished so that my workspace feels clean, aligned, and most importantly not distracting. For me, a dirty/unorganized area, at home or in the office, would stop me from being able to focus and work effectively.
But on the flip side, a super-satisfying, “man-I-just-accomplished-so-much-today” feeling is when I can sneak into my schedule a little five-minute break to do something like switching the laundry from the washer to the dryer.
For a working mom… that’s a big feeling of accomplishment, a little self-high-five moment when no one is looking.
Don’t forget about your space…make it cozy!
After I’ve established a clean, calm home-work environment, I love “setting the mood”. Candlelit dinners or “Netflix and Chill” nights shouldn’t be the only time you appreciate and focus on the feng-shui or energetic vibes of your home.
For me, these practices are super simple. Having my favorite playlist on in the background and a nice candle burning next to my creative zone is all it really takes.