I’ll admit I wasn’t a huge fan of working from home at first. I thought working in an office was more productive, and working from home meant watching tv all day, doing laundry, browsing the web, and checking emails every once in awhile. Basically an adult free for all, and the old school stima around “working from home”. Then the opportunity came my way, and I decided to give it a go. Yes, at first you can feel like a unsupervised 10-year old in a candy store, but I quickly realized it was up to me to choose how to utilize the day and I started to develop a routine. I’ve learned how to plan my time and ensure I don’t go too crazy without being surrounded by coworkers all day. Now, thinking back at my previous thoughts, I realize I couldn’t be further from the truth! Working from home provides flexibility to focus on the projects you want to, manage your time, be productive, and still be very successful at your day job. Here are a few tips to make the most of working from home:
1. Get dressed and ready for the day
It is important to still have a morning routine. Wake up anywhere from 1-3 hours before your work day starts to ensure you have some time to yourself to plan out your day, and accomplish what you want to. Don’t just roll out of bed and jump into work emails. I enjoy reading TheSkimm, sipping hot water with lemon, and taking my dog for a walk before settling into work. And, get out of your pajamas! I never thought I’d say this, but as fun as it sounds to be in pajamas all day, there is something about changing your clothes and getting “ready” for the day to kick-start your motivation. Even if that motivation comes from leggings and a t-shirt (just not the ones you sleep in). Have some self respect- brush your hair, wash your face, pull it together and own your day boss lady!
2. Ensure you have all of the supplies you need readily available
Make a work space for yourself, and set up it with everything you regularly use so you don’t waste looking for items during the day or taking a less efficient route. If you use two screens in your normal work set up, buy that extra monitor so you can be just as efficient. Other items I would suggest are pens, notebooks (there is still something about crossing an item off a handwritten to-do list that makes me feel productive!), post-its, file folders, a headset, or printer. Keep in mind that most of these items can be tax deductible or maybe even expense to your work depending on the company policy.
3. Create a separate space for work
Don’t work where you spend your personal time at home. That makes it too easy to get distracted and focus on other things. When the work day is done, you should be able to leave your space and come back again feeling refreshed and like you “left” work. If you need to get out of your space altogether to break up the day find a cafe, library, or WeWork space (these are popping up everywhere!) Changing up the scenery might also bring you some fresh inspiration or that kick of motivation you’ve been looking for. I am very pro-separate work space, but every now and then if you need a day to work from bed go for it, balance is key ladies!
4. Take breaks
Your eyes and mind need a break, and it can be easy to just sit at your desk all day. Take time to pull yourself away; walk down your street, make a cup of tea and sit on your porch for a few minutes, play with your pet, or chat with a neighbor that works from home too. One of the biggest benefits to working in an office in my opinion is socializing with others. Whether it is chatting about your weekend, upcoming plans, funny jokes, or your latest tv show obsession, that mental break can help to reduce stress, or give you a few minutes to check out and come back to work with a fresh perspective. While it may not be the same as in the office, create some type of break for yourself throughout the day. Even better if you can squeeze in a quick workout over lunch.
5. Make sure you have a system to connect with your team
There are so many options for quick chats, video calls, screen shares, etc and it really is quite simple to stay connected to your team members throughout the day. Sometimes a video chat is helpful to talk “face-to-face” for in-depth conversations, or chat box for quick questions. It depends on your and your teams’ working style, but there is a tool out there that will work! Online tools are also a good reminder that you have a network at your fingertips to bounce ideas off-of and additional resources. That you aren’t working alone.
6. When you are done working, BE DONE WORKING
Everyone needs a mental break and time to reset before you tackle the next challenge. Give yourself that break into your personal life to work on those goals, meet up with friends/ family/ peers or simply relax if that’s what you need. No one can be on 24/7, so use the time to reset, refresh and wake up with ready to slay