It’s your first time working from home extensively, and you’ve probably clicked on every article and blog post that have appeared in the past few days with tips for how to work from home. We can certainly tell you that when it comes to working from home, there is no “one size fits all” or magic formula that will guarantee success. We asked our remote JBCers, some of whom have been working from home for years, for their best advice based on experience.
The immediate thing that we suggest you do is identify what’s the best for YOU. How do you work? What do you need to be productive? Maybe you like some background music, or you might be the type who will get sucked in if you start watching the latest episode of Love is Blind while updating spreadsheets (guilty)? Take the time to list your ideal working environment, cross out the guilty pleasures, and from there bring your workspace to life!
- Designate an area that is your “desk” and set up your life around it! Make it feel like a regular work space and gather the items you generally have/use in the office. It may even be helpful to retrieve the same type of items from around your home that you normally have at your desk.
- Try your best to only work at this location! Don’t migrate to areas of your home that you won’t work well in. During a normal in-office day you don’t have access to your comfy bed or that one chair that always puts you to sleep, so avoid them when you’re at home.
- Avoid using your designated work station for personal use in off hours! Your brain should become somewhat programmed to think of this space as your office and that when you’re here, you’re in work mode. This can be especially difficult if you live in a small or shared apartment with limited space. In those situations, find a box or bag to hold all your desk stuff when you aren’t using it – wake up a few minutes early and set up your desk each day and then when the day is over, pack it up.
Take a moment to set some ground rules. Children, partners, roommates and even parents could be thrown into the mix depending on where you’re working remotely. If you’re sharing space with someone speak with them so they understand that being home doesn’t mean you can give them your undivided attention. There’s a good chance that your quarantine buddies are working from home or taking virtual classes as well, so having a plan in place for chores, meals, and recreational activities will help everyone maximize their time.
Start planning your meals and snacks in advance. Being home, your kitchen will start calling your name. To avoid snacking all day giving yourself a menu for the week to help cut out unwanted breaks in working (and unwanted unhealthy habits, especially since you may not have as much opportunity to move around during the day.)
Don’t ghost your coworkers! Whatever form of communication you are using, keep on top of your messages and respond to them as quickly as possible. Take the initiative and reach out to your managers proactively throughout the day. You should also notify managers or teammates if you are stepping away for a break or lunch period.
Call your colleagues. Don’t just depend on instant messaging or email to communicate. With digital communication, context can be lost and a traditional phone call or video chat will help you communicate effectively. Working from home can also feel isolating, so make sure you’re really staying connected and engaged with one another – it’ll benefit everyone!
If you still REALLY can’t stay focused, try these quick tips:
- Wake up each morning and get fully dressed, just as you would if you were coming to the office (including shoes.)
- Reset your mind! Take a quick walk or find a 15-minute workout video online.
- Have a set routine when you log on and log off, to signal to yourself the timeframe of the work day. It can be as simple as making your morning coffee or turning on your favorite show at a hard stop time.
- Make a schedule for each day. Break down as much time as you can so you can stay organized and focused on each of your tasks!