I have been working from home for about a year and half now. For some it can be a challenge, but here are some tips I have come up with to maintain focus and balance home and work life.
- Get Ready for the Day: It seems obvious, but when you don’t have to leave the house you might be tempted to just roll out of bed and hop online. It helps set the right tone if you get ready as if you were going into the office. (Although I do keep an extra button up shirt hanging by my desk in case I decide to wear a t-shirt for the day but have a video call. Don’t tell my coworkers 🤐)
- Set Hours: Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you are always at work. Set reasonable work hours and stick to them.
- Set Boundaries with Spouse/Partner: This is especially important if your partner is a stay at home parent. Once you are in the work day, work should be your focus. Communication is key. Let them know when your work day is over.
- Exercise instead of Commute: You now have freed up part of your day since you don’t have a commute. You can use it to exercise!
- Take Breaks: Be sure to schedule and take breaks during the day. Even a short 10 minute walk can clear your head.
- Leave the House for Lunch: Not only should you schedule a lunch break into your day, but leave the house. Even if you make lunch at home, pack it up and walk to a park. You need a change in scenery.
- Socialize with Co-workers Virtually: I like to take the first 5 minutes of my 1:1’s with my co-workers to talk about life outside of work. You can talk about the weekend or items in the news or their interests. Don’t do it in every meeting, but it’s important to have the “water cooler” type connections. You can even setup specific virtual meetings just to catch up.
- Setup a Home Office Space: Whether you have a spare room or a just a desk in the corner of a bedroom, setup a dedicated home office space. It’s ok to undock your laptop and take it to the coffee shop, but when at home it’s better to have a location that you know is your work space.
- Get Good Equipment: Get a good headset for your phone/computer. Make sure you have a comfortable and ergonomic chair. If possible, I recommend sit/stand adjustable desk. I got a great chair and adjustable desk from Autonomous.
- Great Internet: Make sure you have a great internet connection and a backup plan if it goes out.
- Be Available: Make sure your coworkers know how to get connect with you at anytime during work hours. Keep your calendar up-to-date and always be logged into your company’s messaging app. Reply right away to acknowledge them reaching out even if it’s to tell them you’ll have to get back to them later.
- Turn Your Video on: If your company has video conferencing software, turn your video on! It’s much easier to communicate when you can see body language and facial expressions. If your company doesn’t video software, I recommend Webex. (Disclosure: the company I work for owns Webex. But I really like it too 😃)
- Don’t Sit on the Couch/Bed with your Laptop: I know it sounds amazing, but in reality it’s hard to focus on work if you are in your comfortable spot.
And finally, enjoy it! Working from home has some great benefits. Personally I enjoy looking out the window and seeing my kids build a snowman and greeting them when they come home for school. That 2 minutes makes my entire day.
View from my home office:
You can find me on Twitter @rhettweller