With the coronavirus pandemic pushing everyone to work remotely, I’m sharing my 12 best tips for working from home. I’ve been working remotely for years. And I do like it for the most part. However, I’ve had to develop good habits to ensure I am happy, healthy and productive.
There is tons of information on this topic right now but you might just find some ideas that others haven’t shared. Be sure to check the BONUS TIPs too.
12 Best Tips for Working from Home
So here you go. 12 best tips for working from home to ensure you are productive and healthy in every way.
CREATE AND MAINTAIN A WORK SCHEDULE AND REGULAR ROUTINE.
The days blur into the evenings when working from home. Therefore, set a schedule of when you will work and stick to it. If you have co-workers, set boundaries and let them know when you are (and aren’t) available. If you live with others, let them know when you will be working and ask for privacy. Of course, that’s challenging with children but boundaries will help you keep your sanity.
Bonus Tip: It’s important during a time of upheaval to blend in transitions. Start your day with gentle self-care then transition into your day with a low effort task. From there, you can tackle a high intensity project.
DRESS FOR WORK.
I’ve noticed some people are enjoying the concept of working in their ‘day pajamas’. But, getting dressed in proper work attire will trigger your brain into work mode. Likewise, slipping into comfy clothes at the end of the work day will move you into relaxation time so you have boundaries to your work day.
Bonus Tip: That means considering the work image you want to reflect on camera since so many of us are meeting on video. Read the next point for more on that.
DESIGN YOUR ONLINE IMAGE AND PRACTICE ONLINE ETIQUETTE.
During this time of social distancing, we are meeting online. Take time before meetings to eliminate visual and auditory distractions. Consider what is in your background. Have you noticed how people have set up backgrounds in their home offices and living rooms around the world? Although I must admit that I’ve heard of people being dressed professionally from the waist up and wearing leisure wear (or pajamas) from the waist down!
Bonus Tip: Practice online etiquette. Log on early to test audio and camera and to troubleshoot technology glitches.
REPURPOSE YOUR COMMUTE.
Ditching the commute is a major perk of working from home. But don’t use it to start working earlier. Instead, use your commute time in the morning for a healthy routine or family time.
Bonus Tip: Phenomenal ways to start your day include meditating, doing a stretching routine, reading something enjoyable or drinking warm water with lemon.
CREATE A PROPER WORKSPACE.
This can be challenging if you are tight on space or if you share your home with others but your brain and body will thank you for it. Consider ergonomics. Lying on the couch with your laptop won’t work over the long run. If possible, use a proper desk and chair. It’s worth the extra effort to consider all your options for a productive workspace that will serve you well for the next few weeks or perhaps longer as we navigate through this self-isolation mandate.
Bonus Tip: If you can create a space that you don’t have to dismantle every day (such as clearing your work supplies off of the dining room table), that will definitely help. Or at least, set up a way to make the dismantling easy.
TURN OFF TELEVISION AND SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS.
It’s important to protect your mind and emotions from the drama of television. Of course, we all need to keep updated on the everchanging landscape of this global pandemic but mainstream news focuses almost exclusively on drama and suffering. Choose what you listen to and turn it off when you are working.
Bonus Tip: Listen to classical music. The benefits are immense – everything from decreasing blood pressure to supercharging your brain power.
TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS.
In an office, you have social contact and even interruptions that break the ‘head down at your desk’ time. But, working at home alone can result in marathon work spurts without stopping.
Apparently, taking one break every hour helps you perform better and gives your brain the space it needs to renew energy and focus. It’s been proven that taking short breaks increases work engagement and productivity.
In short, infuse your day with frequent breaks. Make movement part of your day. Stretch often. Go outside – while adhering to social distancing of course.
Bonus Tip: Most importantly, focus in on your lunch breaks. Avoid eating at your desk. Instead, take a lunchtime walk which has been proven to result in better concentration and less fatigue in the afternoon.
MIX UP YOUR WORK TASKS TO AVOID BURNOUT.
The way we work has changed. And even if you have worked from home for a while, things have shifted with more online meetings. I have definitely felt the impact of having to be online and on video more since having to social distance during this pandemic. That means I’ve had to put in some boundaries for my screen time and carve out time to simply work, without being online with others.
So, when planning what you will tackle in a day mix it up with tasks that involve screen time and then shift to tasks that give you a break from screens, devices and online meetings.
Bonus Tip: If you aren’t used to working from home, it is easy to miss the signs of burnout and lack of structure.
BUILD HEALTHY HABITS.
Remember I mentioned not eating at your desk? Research has shown that people tend to consume more when they’re distracted (such as if you’re eating while working at your desk).
Set yourself up for success by planning your meals and snacks. If you prep your food intake beforehand, you’ll be less tempted to grab unhealthy options. Have healthy snacks on hand. Keep a water bottle with a slice of lemon at your desk. Refill it frequently.
Bonus Tip: Make movement part of your day – several times a day. That means getting up and stretching every 30 minutes. Also, get outside for fresh air.
Normally, my recommendation would be to mix up your work environment by splitting your time between home office and public spaces, such as co-working offices, the library or coffee shops. Of course, during this pandemic staying home is the ONLY option.
So, that means connection is essential. Join or start an online co-working group like I did. And leverage video teleconferencing to connect with colleagues or friends.
Bonus Tip: Don’t ignore the impact of loneliness. A significant 20% of remote workers struggle with loneliness, making it one of the top struggles of working alone (tied with collaborating and communicating).
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP.
These are challenging times. If you are struggling with the stress of working from home and managing fear and emotions during this coronavirus pandemic, consider getting support. There is absolutely no shame in getting help. Check with your insurance provider to see what services and providers they cover. And, if you don’t have coverage research low-cost online resources that offer emotional support.
Bonus Tip: If you feel that professional help isn’t the answer for you, infuse positive self-care tactics into your day on a regular basis. Listening to inspirational podcasts, reading upbeat stories and listening to happy music are ways to bust out of a mood. Please note that these suggestions may help to lift your moods and sadness but are not a substitute if you are struggling with mental health or depression.
END YOUR WORK DAY WITH THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Create your task list for the next day and time block your calendar to work on them.
Download This Checklist
Working from home during this challenging time can be a transition, regardless of whether you are used to it or not. Download this checklist to keep you on track for the 12 Best Tips for Working from Home.
As we all learn to navigate this changing work environment together, TELL ME: What are your best tips and your biggest challenges for working from home?