Back in March, thank you COVID19, many of us quickly transitioned into working remotely. Those of us who are fortunate to have a job that we can do from home should be happy for the opportunity to keep working. I thought about writing this months ago but kept hope that any week now we would all go back to the office. Now I’m 8 months into telecommuting and honestly, I don’t ever want to go back to that long commute and forced socializing in the office hallway.
Working from home offers a lot of advantages, and the biggest one for me is I got two hours a day back. As a southern California commuter, it took me one hour each way, even when I was in the Vanpool it still took as long.
But, working from home also comes with a few challenges. So, if you’re finding things a bit difficult and are one of those uber social people that live for the office culture or a loner like me think you will find these tips helpful.
Accept the New Working from Home Normal
Working from home because of a pandemic isn’t the same as doing so under normal circumstances. You can’t just jaunt over to the office for a quick meeting or to pick up supplies.
Don’t expect to be as productive all the time, but that’s okay because your coworkers are in the same boat.
We might need to let up a little on the formalities, I mean I’m in my sweats and most everyone else is also. But on the other hand, you may be one of those people who just has to go through the morning ritual l before setting down to work. No me. I roll out of bed at 7:45, brush my teeth, wash my face, and throw on my new work uniform of sweats and comfy zoom ready button-down blouse or striped boatneck t-shirt.
Expect others are doing the same and have the same or more difficulty adjusting, be kind.
Create a Schedule
What was your in-office schedule like? Stay consistent, if you always check email first thing in the morning, then continue to do so. If you never took work home with you, then shut down at the end of the day. In the beginning, I was constantly working until my boss asked me why I was sending emails at 2AM. Pt everything on your calendar, including scheduling time for lunch and breaks.
Without the 5PM time to go home signal of leaving a workplace, it’s easy to keep working.
This my friend will burn you out quickly! Maybe since we don’t have someone actually seeing us work we overcompensate, don’t do it.
One of the advantages of working from home is that I don’t have people popping into my office to ask a “quick questions”. Those types of distractions are gone, which honestly makes me more productive in less time.
I block out times on my calendar for just about every task so I feel in control of my time.
Where will you work in your home? If you have a home office already you are way ahead of the game. If not, you need a few things to make sure you can work productively.
- Quiet, but you also don’t want to be tucked away in a closet. Sometimes I grab my laptop and go out to the balcony to check afternoon emails. It’s a nice change of scenery and the fresh air is nice.
- You’ll need some kind of desk or work surface with room for your computers, papers, etc.
- You need a good chair, your work may allow you to bring yours home from the office, ask.
- Look for an area with good lighting.
- Last but not least you do need a good internet connection. If yours is bad you will be plagued with buffering and screen freezes. If you are having problems, talk to your IT people.
You might enjoy this post on setting up a home office.
Dealing with Distractions
You might have thought that working from home would be quiet and free of unnecessary interruptions. Don’t hate my day is mostly like that with the exception of cat butts running across my desk during a Zoom meeting.
If you do get distracted from work remember you need to make that time up, so every hour you spend looking at a funny video or checking Pinterest you need to add that time to the end of the day, it’s only fair.
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
I have always HATED meetings and working from home I now have meetings almost daily for one thing or another. The good thing is Is I hate Zoom less than in-person meetings!
For the informal meeting, I let everyone see my office wall full of tacked up notes and other stuff. For formal meetings. I have several Zoom backdrops I use for a more professional appearance. I also use the pretty filter to somewhat hide the fact that I don’t have on any makeup.
A couple things to ask your boss
- What can you take home with you? Maybe your keyboard or office chair?
- How you will be reimbursed for out of pocket office expenses, like toner, copy paper, etc.
Enjoy the Opportunity & Benefits
Working from home can be productive, and enjoyable. I’m a night owl so it’s wonderful to be able to go to bed at 1 AM and get up 15 minutes before I have to be at my desk. Let’s be honest here, I have checked email from the comfort of my cozy bed at 8:00 AM and you know you have too!
If you had been a commuter now you have extra time to exercise, read, pamper yourself, cook, catch up with old friends, or just get extra time to sleep.